We all experience judgmental people in our lives whether it be a boss, co-worker, family member, friend, partner or perhaps, a passing stranger.
But whether we choose to dwell on their negativity and critical outlook is completely up to us. But more on that point later.
There are a few things that are important to realize when you are faced with a highly judgmental person, and a few ways that you can deal with their critical points of view.
Case in point is my experience with one particularly judgmental person from my past.
My highly judgmental friend experience
I had known Emmy since we were in elementary school, and she had always been very direct, and very honest. She was quick to share her opinions, and wasn’t bothered if someone was hurt in the process.
In grade school, it was fairly normal to comment on a classmate’s lack of fashion sense, or relationship blunder.
But Emmy’s remarks weren’t just observations, they were overcritical, and cutting.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I countered her hypercritical judgments with inspiring and intelligent rebuttals. Most of the time I went along with her opinions, nodding in acceptance.
As we got older, her critical remarks and judgment of other people did not cool down, if anything they got worse. Still, we stayed close until the beginning of middle school.
Not long into sixth grade when Emmy was discussing the absolute disgusting possibility of Becca and Adam dating *who I actually thought seemed quite cute together* I finally decided I couldn’t put up with her obsession of faultfinding any longer.
I took a large step back from our friendship, and Emmy went on to run with the older kids clique, and I hung out with old friends from elementary school. [Read: 4 questions to recognize toxic friends 3 steps to release them from your life]
We didn’t see much of each other until our first year of university. I figured that after almost seven years, I would meet a more mature and less discriminative Emmy. But, that was far from the truth. Emmy was a grown up version of her elementary school self, yet she was just as judgmental.
One of our first conversations after seeing each other was about her negative opinion of the school’s facilities, crappy professors, and lack of campus culture, which I thought were all fairly awesome so far.
Thus started my dilemma over judgmental Emmy. Since we were studying in the same university miles away from our small hometown, we were expected to be friends, our past supposedly bringing us together.
Yet, I wasn’t my accepting grade school self any longer. I didn’t want to deal closely with a highly judgmental person like Emmy for the four years of my university career. [Read: How the power of your words can make or break your relationships with others]
While thinking about how to approach my situation with Emmy I had some interesting realizations about why exactly judgmental people are the way they are.
My 3 realizations about Emmy, and other judgmental people
#1 They are the ones with the problem. As much as judgmental people would like you to believe that everyone else is the problem, and they are near perfect, we can see the flaw in that argument.
Judgmental people are critical of everything. Whether people or things, their opinions are focused on purely negative aspects, and fail to see much that is amazing.
This judgmental and hypercritical point of view comes from deeply rooted personal insecurities and unhappiness. Judgmental people feel extremely vulnerable about their own lives, and thus, prey on the people around them in order to feel better about their own situation, or self. [Read: 10 signs to recognize a selfish loved one and 5 steps to stop them from hurting you]
#2 They lack empathy. Judgmental people are not only insecure, but often lack large amounts of empathy. Highly judgmental people don’t have the ability to understand, and share another person’s feelings.
They are not able or willing to see the world through another’s eyes and therefore discredit anyone else’s beliefs, choices, fears, and opinions that differ greatly from their own.
They don’t realize the pain or offence they may cause someone by one of their judgmental comments, or perhaps they just really don’t care.
#3 They fail to see there are multiple perspectives of the world. Highly judgmental people often fail to see that there are many ways of looking at the world, and everything in it. This inability to see diversity causes much of their judgment.
Judgmental people don’t recognize that there are many right ways to perceive parts of our world. Instead, they believe there is only one true answer to any question. This allows them to believe they are right in judging other people who don’t share their same beliefs, or opinions.
5 lessons to deal with judgmental people
So, if these are some of the truths about highly judgmental people, how are we supposed to deal with them?
#1 Know yourself, and be confident. Judgmental people can quickly make you doubt yourself and your beliefs with their constant critical remarks.
But in order to deal with a judgmental person you need to know, and be sure of yourself. They will try to have you believe that your opinion or viewpoint is incorrect, or put you down, and you will have to know that indeed, you are entitled to your own way of looking at the world, and yourself. [Read: How your self respect affects you and the relationships you have]
As well, highly judgmental people often go for the low blow, or hitting people where they are sure it will hurt. This is especially true when judgmental people comment on someone else’s known insecurity, such as a particular part of their body, or perhaps a mistake they’ve made in the past.
You need to embrace what you have, and what you believe, and be sure not to let any judgmental person leave you guessing about yourself.
If you know yourself, and you stay true to yourself, you can avoid any complexities that come with regarding judgmental people’s comments as credible observation or advice. [Read: 11 steps to fall in love with yourself and be a much better you!]
#2 Don’t take their negativity to heart. Another helpful piece of advice, don’t take a judgmental person’s negativity seriously. You must remember that they are a person with true insecurities, and their negativity comes from within.
Their negativity is not a reflection of you, but of their own reaction to a situation or a person. If you know yourself, what you believe to be true, and frankly feel good in your own skin, then you cannot let their negativity and critical view of the world bring you down. [Read: 13 happy things you need for a perfectly happy life!]
#3 Try to ignore them, or avoid them when possible. If you cannot avoid a judgmental person altogether, perhaps they are a co-worker or family member that you are stuck with, at least try to ignore them.
You will be hard pressed to change their ways, so why waste your precious time and energy on a person that doesn’t deserve to be surrounded with your goodness. It’s better to let those harsh remarks fly right past you and instead, focus on all the amazing things you have going for you, like for instance, your ability to be compassionate, positive and understanding.
#4 Chose your battles carefully with judgmental people. This is an excellent tip for those of us who sometimes like a good argument. The problem with arguing with highly judgmental people is their inability to see multiple points of view. You will undoubtedly gain nothing from arguing with a judgmental person because they will refuse to see your side of the story.
Of course, a judgmental person would also enjoy an argument, as it would allow them space to say many more critical things about a situation or person, and to have their point of view heard *again*.
While you cannot control a judgmental person’s actions, you can control your own response. So it’s better to be the bigger person and steer clear of any arguments, as you will most likely never “win”. No matter what you say, or how strong of a point you make, they will walk away believing they are right, and you are wrong. [Read: 12 steps to change your life and be happy instantly]
#5 It is possible to gain some insight from judgmental people. Be sure to note that I am not talking about insight learned from their direct critiques of your outfit, or dating choices.
What I am talking about is the insight you can gain about yourself as an individual, and your own personal growth. I’ve discovered over the years that judgmental people have affected me less and less because I choose to distance myself from them, which was something that I was not comfortable doing in elementary school.
Now I can see how far I have come as a person in that I listen less to what judgmental people say, and think more about what it reflects of them. You can learn about yourself and another person based off how you react to their judgmental and negative commentary or view of life. [Read: 21 signs of emotional abuse you may bearing silently]
What happened with Emmy & I?
The expectation to be friends in university because of our past friendship was difficult to maneuver. Yet, being true to myself, I knew that I did not want to be surrounded with negativity and judgment during my university years, which are supposed to be liberating and full of discovery.
My decision was thus to leave our friendship back where it started, in grade school. I never fully explained to Emmy why I didn’t make any effort to see her during those four years.
But I knew that even if I had tried to explain myself, she would have been unable to see any truth in the situation, and instead would have likely criticized me.
Although at first, I felt crummy for leaving Emmy behind, I knew it was the right decision for myself, and my own happiness. I would have found it difficult to deflect her negativity if I had constantly been surrounded by her judgment during those years.
While we haven’t spoken for many years now, we do still share annual Facebook happy birthdays, and the occasional Instagram like. But, based off my random wander through her social media outlets I have noticed her cynical, critical and judgmental self is very much the same as it has always been.