Three Traits of Judgmental People

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A judgmental person is like a porcupine. If you get too close, you could get hurt. Judgmental people have three common traits: They are overly critical, they show no respect for the person they are critical of, and they justify what they say because they believe it is true. People can become judgmental due to their pride, their hurt and anger at being wronged, and a lack of love for others. Three ways to overcome being judgmental include self-reflection, forgiveness, and seeing the whole person.

Some people will accuse you of being judgmental if you criticize them. However, the word judgmental is defined as “having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.”1 The first trait of a judgmental person is they criticize too much.

No one can handle being criticized all the time. It puts a strain on a relationship because the person being criticized feels unloved. Further, when someone is too critical, it is human nature not to like them. A judgmental person repels others, and will have a hard time forming long-term relationships.

Judgmental people are offensive not only because of their words, but also their tone. They will speak to (or about) a person with hatred, contempt, or disrespect. Instead of speaking calmly and rationally, they can be highly emotional—hurling insults, or using profanity.

A judgmental person will often justify the harsh things they say because they believe it is the truth. However, the truth should not be used as a weapon to hurt someone, or destroy their self-worth.

Every human being has value and worth simply because they are human, not because they are good or bad, a success or a failure. A judgmental person often bases an individual’s worth as a human being on their character traits, or some other criteria. They are unable to separate a person from their actions, to recognize that everyone has equal worth as a human being.

Judgmental people will act like they are superior to you. People who believe they are superior have illusions about themselves. They see themselves as more than they are. In looking down on others, they have an ego problem: a heart filled with pride.

In addition to pride, a person can become judgmental when they are angry at being wronged by someone. Hurt and wounded inside, their heart can grow cold, and they harshly judge the person who mistreated them.

Whatever the root cause, a judgmental person has a heart that lacks love and respect for other people. The danger in being judgmental, is that once you feel hatred, contempt, or disrespect for one human being, it becomes easier to transfer these feelings to another.

One way to stop being judgmental is through self-reflection, by recognizing that we have faults of our own. The more we self-reflect, and realize our own shortcomings, the easier it is to love and accept people as they are.

Another way to stop being judgmental is to forgive the person who wronged us. Forgiveness doesn’t change what the person has done, but it will set us free inside, so we can let go of being hurt, angry, or offended.

A third way to stop being judgmental is to open our eyes and see the whole person. A judgmental person will often hyper-focus on someone’s negative traits, making them blind to their positive qualities. If we can see the whole person, it is much easier to love them.

Instead of being judgmental, we need to be selective in our criticism. When a person does something we believe is wrong, we have two alternatives: say nothing at all, or speak the truth in love. Sometimes it is better to say nothing, to overlook people’s minor flaws and shortcomings. The more you criticize others, the more you will be criticized, and the less likely people will listen to you.

Nonetheless, there are times when we have a duty to speak. For instance, if a person is hurting someone else, it is right and just to speak the truth to make them stop. We may even have to be bold and direct. However, before we correct someone, we should show them love and respect. When a person feels loved and respected, they are more likely to listen to us when we tell them the truth.

Notes

  1. Oxford Dictionaries, s.v. “Judgmental,” accessed October 27, 2016, https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/us/judgmental
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7 thoughts on “Three Traits of Judgmental People

  1. I enjoyed the article! I like how you point out the distinction between being “judgmental” vs. simply making judgments or criticisms. The latter does not necessarily make one judgmental. I read a book recently by William Gentry called “Be the Boss Everyone Wants to Work for: A guide for new leaders” and he makes the simple but profoundly true observation: “…strive to give five positive pieces of feedback over a period of time before you must deliver a negative one.” he bases this suggestion on research done by relationship experts John and Julie Gotterman in their work investigating successful marriages vs. those ending in divorce. according to the research- the ratio of positive to negative interactions for successful/married couples is typically around 5:1, whereas, unstable marriages show a ratio of 0.8:1.

    In his book he also points to research showing how non-verbal communication (facial expression, tone, body gesture and proximity, eye contact, etc..) makes up anywhere between 65%-93% “..of the total emotional interaction between two people.”

    I know I needed this reminder!

    Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice article. I agree with the “feeling of superiority” that characterizes people when they judge. And they need recognition and attention.
    However, I would be extremely cautious about labeling anyone as judgemental. I like to believe that almost everyone judges. But the intensity, frequency, situations, and expression may vary.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Chris, this is an outstanding essay. I often recognize someone who is judgemental bad on their level of empathy of others. The “my way is the right way” attitude is overwhelming and is irrelevant because no two people are exactly the same, therefore their choices and opinions will differ. If the society as a whole would just open their minds and understand we are all different, there would be a lot less resistance to new ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Marie, Thank you for reading my post. I wrote a short essay called “What it Means to Be Judgmental” on the film Separate Tables. This essay grew out of that analysis, and was also inspired by a former friend who is extremely judgmental.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great article. It’s important that we examine the causes and symptoms of being judgmental. I’d dare say most people don’t even realize they have this problem. It’s detrimental to others and even to themselves. As you said forgiveness sets us free.

    Liked by 1 person

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