We all judge people. As George commented yesterday, if you say you don’t judge, you’re lying to yourself and others.

So: We all judge.

Were we born to judge, or did we pick it up along the way?

I mean, little kids can be harsh- they have no tact and little kids just tell it like it is. They might cry when they see a guy with a beard. They might tell you that you smell. They might ask why you’re wearing something that they’ve never seen before. Now you can argue that it’s often a sense of being curious, but are we just born to see which one of these things is not like the other? Are we born with certain preferences?

Right now I know some of you are rolling your eyes and judging me.  Another nature/nurture post from LA? Tsk tsk tsk… Here we go again…

In a comment a few weeks ago I asked sociologist Deb if judging wasn’t hardwired into us…She responded there is no way judging is hardwired. She stated that judging is learned behavior.

But then we go back to my nature/nurture thing… How do we really know what is caused by environment?

If we all judge, can’t you think that maybe we are born with a need for self preservation, and our of this need to survive, maybe we judge things that are unfamiliar or different?

KE said yesterday that maybe we judge our of fear….Can’t that be considered a survival mechanism?

So, maybe we are born with a need to make ourselves feel better about ourselves….

I say maybe- because I really have no idea…I’m just thinking out loud…

Maybe the need to judge is nature.


The things we judge on are nurture.

A blogger commented yesterday that she sometimes opened up food bags at the grocery store while shopping because she had a blood sugar issue, or simply wanted to keep her kids quiet. She always paid for the items, putting the empty packaging on the conveyor belt. I stated that I judged pre eaters. Why did I judge them? Well, my Dad had a store when I was growing up. He had to be careful with the candy section because it’s real easy to take candy, and quickly destroy the evidence… I can’t help but think of shopkeepers who lose money because of this.

I judge people who do this. Am I justified in judging them?




Who cares?

So working under the assumption that we judge out of survival…that we as humans can’t help but judge…

What do we do with that information?

We judge, then ________________

We figure out why we judge certain people, actions etc… When we know the why, we work on figuring out just how bad a thing is that we are judging…

I mentioned that I judge people who walk around in heels all day, out in the streets (or the boardwalk for that matter). Why should I care what others wear on their feet?

  1. Heels are really bad for your feet. Ask any podiatrist. Eventually you will end up with some sort of foot issue
  2. Heels are uncomfortable when worn for a prolonged period of time. Have you ever gone sightseeing with a friend who wore impractical shoes for walking around?
  3. I admit high heels make someone’s legs look longer and more attractive. Calves become more defined, ankles look slimmer, you look taller. People will stop to look at you. While I think everyone should have the ability to look their best, I don’t like the thought that physical appearance trumps safety, comfort and practicality.
  4. Shoe designers are masochists.

Again, am I wrong to judge these street stilt wearers?

I mean, it probably doesn’t make me a nice person…

Yet, I do have friends that wear heels when out and about. I may judge their choice of footwear, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like and respect them in other ways…

I judge people who don’t read, yet only half of my closest friends are readers. My college has started an online book club. (you know I joined) Out of my three college besties, only one other has joined with me. I still adore the other two even though I did tell them that they were philistines….

I judge men who wear jewelry other tan wedding rings and watches because of the stereotype of Italians being in the mob, and all mob guys wear flashy gold linked things and pinky rings…I don’t like the Sopranos effect…


762 words later and I still don’t know anything…

Is it bad to judge in general? (several people mentioned admonishing themselves when they found they were being judgmental)

Or should we just evaluate WHAT we judge and WHY?




65 thoughts on “Born To Judge?

    1. Sorry—finger hit send to soon!
      I always felt Social Psych ventured into that gray area because we need a realm that can combine both nature and nurture. Maybe this is one of those times!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You got me thinking about this a few weeks ago? Where does one start and the other end so to speak? I’ve been thinking about this for awhile (you know I love a question a computer can’t solve) and it’s an interesting dynamic

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s true. Not everything (at least in my opinion) can fall into just one category, although many will argue that the origins have to be one or the other. I liked the comment about fear as a catalyst for judgment. I thought about fear in terms of trust. If humans trust that they are the same as others, with the same ideals and goals they are less fearful of difference. Fear, and thus trust, is a survival instinct. Fear evokes the need to fight or run from that difference. I suppose you could say judgment is a form of “fight” in this analogy.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s what I was thinking about….is judgement a form of fight? Do we judge to protect ourselves or give us the necessary courage to fight if something? I really started to think of the things I judge people on, and why those things stand out to me. As always, self analysis is difficult, but if I understand why I react a certain way, maybe I can change why I think a certain way. Sometimes. I think sometimes judgement is masked as intuition. But they all mix together in some weird chopped salad

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Whether it’s a learned response or not, if something makes you ‘flinch’ when you see it, no amount of understanding why you do it is going to keep you from ‘flinching’ every time you see it. You may berate yourself afterward, or even apologize (if that action is required), but you can’t unlearn automatic responses, even if you understand why they’re there. But of course, there are degrees of of self-control.

    The fact that you’re thinking about judging means that you are aware of it possibly being an issue – but you are bringing it out into the open to help us analyze ourselves. Great. One more ‘self improvement’ goal for me! (That was pretty ‘judgy’ wasn’t it?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😉I’m always on the lookout for questions computers can’t answer (yet) and maybe understanding ourselves better will help us peacefully coexist? I don’t know. But I’m going to keep trying.


  2. Humans have been judgmental creatures since the beginning of time. I judged people who came to my dad’s funeral inappropriately dressed. The eating thing–I was raised so that one never ate in the store. I took my elderly mom to the store once in the beginning of her dementia diagnosis, and she proceeded to eat a couple of donuts while we shopped. It was very unsettling for me to see her do something that was once absolutely against the rules.
    We make up our own rules about how people should behave or society makes these rules–when they aren’t followed we get judgy.
    Here is one of my judgy rules—if you are going to wear open toe shoes your feet should be clean and your toenails clipped.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Being adopted as a baby I am always pondering nature vs nurture. I think there is a bit of both when being judgemental. I think it is human nature to judge but I think
    most things we judge on are nurture or personal experiences. I don’t think we are bad to judge people. I think it is wrong to let those judgements spill out on to others. Meaning, keep it to oneself and don’t tarnish others opinions/experiences with your judgements, let them decide or even judge for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel myself being judged when I play scratch off lottery tickets as if I am a)addict b) not too smart c) is it all in mind they are thinking this….but it is my one weakness and I only do it when I feel lucky which is not too often.

    I think some might call me naive but there are many other forms of addiction more severe and if spending a small pittance monthly, I am ahead of the game but still some seem to judge.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sometimes in my mind I have even find a few men very friendly to me when they notice as if I am desperate for money but maybe it is all in my mind and they just like the way I look that morning or are friendly. LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh. my. goodness. You have such an uncanny ability to make my brain hurt. But I’m totally not judging……..😄 Seriously, I don’t think it’s possible to be completely non-judgmental. It’s inherent in everyone and sometimes it reveals itself in very ugly ways. But we all make judgement calls. We judge situations to assess danger and determine whether we should or should not do something risky. We judge the actions of others, which results in our society’s laws of acceptable/unacceptable behavior. isn’t saying, “you shouldn’t judge others” a judgement in and of itself? The issue is not being non-judgmental, it’s differentiating between good and bad judgement. And here’s where discrimination and prejudice comes into play, which are learned attitudes. Then, judgement becomes a motivation and heart issue. With conscious effort, we can learn to accept differences and extend grace to others. Now, I’m going to go take some Tylenol for my headache. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You really walked us through this issue. I think it is somewhat instinctive to judge because we are all thinking creatures, but to think critically is different from being judgmental. The Bible says “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Really good advice. I think some of our judging comes from the model provided by our parents. We watch them and then either do the same or decide that is not the path for us. I think your shoe story is a good example of the important truth about this. It is OK to judge a person’s actions, but don’t judge the person. “I don’t like the way they ________.” is not the same as “I don’t like that person because they _______.” Don’t worry about bringing up the nature/nurture again. That is an issue that will always be with us and be debated!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re spot on. You can say I don’t like when someone does X, but to not like the person because of it is wrong…though you have to wonder about the whole first impression thing

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LA,
    I love that you’re delving into cognitive psychology and fashion sense all in one fell post. Might I suggest a good textbook on the first and something comfortable to wear as you settle in for a very long, thought-provoking read. 😎

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have a title for you, but go into Amazon or B&N and look for texts on neuropsychology or cognition psychology. You want a text that links the different parts of the brain with their functions. I think what you are looking for in particular is how the primitive brain perceives stimuli and how your prefrontal cortex then takes that information and processes it so you understand how you derive at preferences, biases and judgments.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. You wrote:
    If we all judge, can’t you think that maybe we are born with a need for self preservation, and our of this need to survive, maybe we judge things that are unfamiliar or different?
    KE said yesterday that maybe we judge our of fear….Can’t that be considered a survival mechanism?

    This triggered a thought in me, it’s not fully formed so bear with me for a moment…
    Humans need to to fit in to survive.
    Even children instinctively know that they must become part of the group for survival. However much we’re hardwired to be a part of the group, we’re also unique. I equate this to ‘letting your freak flag fly’. You can’t let your freak flag fly too much and still be a member of the group.
    It’s a fine line between autonomy and being firmly ensconced in the group.

    Conformity means safety. Parents want their kids to be like everyone else so they’ll fit in and have friends.
    Outliers are not safe in the group.
    Kids see what their parents say and do. They begin to understand judgement exists, but not really what it means. And the pattern is born and continues generation after generation. The subjects of judgement may change, but the instinct remains the same.

    Life is a constant pull between belonging and being an individual.
    I believe all judgement stems from this struggle.
    It isn’t always ‘nice’ but neither is in ‘mean’. It simply is.
    I think what we do with our judgement speaks more to our character than what triggers the judgement.
    Does that make any kind of sense?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Totally makes sense. There is a huge chasm in trying to be an individual yet wanting to fit in with the group. As humans we have a need to belong, yet we realize that some of the things we do/say will not align with some group dynamics. We tell kids not to adhere to peer pressure…yet…how many parents buy their kid a phone simply because “everyone else has one”? You might judge a 10 year old with a phone, yet you buy your own ten year old a phone. Tricky

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let your freak flag fly.
        And judge away, but don’t be hurtful or disrespectful. And prepare to be judged without getting butthurt.
        We judge. But we also need to mind our own damn business. Maybe, like most everything in life, it’s about balance…?

        Liked by 1 person

  10. If Deb is right that judging ia a learned behavior, and I have no doubt it is, then this might be like the chicken or the egg question. Do we learn this behavior because we ourselves were judged by others, or because it’s something we’ve observed someone do to another? The truth is we’ll probably never know, because those observations or behaviors probably happened so early in life we couldn’t possibly trace the source. But it is interesting. Reminds me of the song from South Pacific as it relates to discrimination…You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught…..

    Liked by 1 person

  11. If literally every human does a certain thing (blink), then it must be innate. How can it be otherwise? Judging is a form of critical thinking and contributes to our survival. Does this look or smell suitable for eating? Does this person have traits that will help or hurt me. Sure, we start taking it to extremes, and that part is possibly learned behavior. Other kids decide if we’re worthy to play with or not. The first time they decide you’re a “not” you’ve learned to judge others harshly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s what I’ve come to realize. Judging let’s you ascertain what potential hazards could be. We just have to be careful that we’re judging things the right way

      Liked by 1 person

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