The phenomena of judging people is fascinating.

In face-to-face conversation, for example, I find it common to say things like, “this is a judgement-free zone.”

And I think that’s important.

After all, I’m in no position to judge anybody for anything. I have my own faults, my own quirks, my own self; any of which could easily be put under scrutiny and fall short of someone else’s perfection.

So I don’t judge.

Except when I do.

Let’s be honest: if I’m out on the street, surrounded by strangers, I judge the hell out of everybody. That girl who pushed the “walk light” button and crossed the street without waiting –  I judged her. That guy wearing – what is he wearing? – I judged the hell out of him. The person who wrote an article about her gentrifying love for my home town – you better believe I judged her.

I judge people all the time. Faceless, nameless people. Anybody I actually know – real people – get a pass. After all, we’ve all been there, right? Who am I to judge?

I imagine there must be something healthy about judging. Something satisfying to the soul.

A friend told me today that she “hates everyone.”

I say the same sometimes.

Except, of course, I don’t really hate everyone. It’s just a general sense of antagonism towards the world.

It’s the kind of thing you say when the world is just too much.

And we all know the world can be too much some times.

And I suppose that’s how it is with judging. You can be open minded. You can be accepting of all types of people doing all sorts of things. You can refuse to sit in judgement of the real people you meet.

But you still need that outlet. That general feeling of superiority over something. Even if it comes from silently judging a stranger for something you know you’ve done before. There’s something cathartic about it, I suppose.

The real task, then, is to find the appropriate time to judge, the appropriate way to judge. When it’s solely an internal experience completely divorced from the reality of another person.

Is that possible, I wonder? Is it then okay to judge?

Either way, it’s all good, I suppose. After all – I don’t judge.


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