Why (We Think) We JUDGE OTHERS
Recently, while developing the video ad for Ms. Millennial (seen on desktop or laptop but unfortunately not mobile devices), my boyfriend and I went down to the strip for our last shot. I was wearing the well-known red-bottoms (Louboutins) that I own, because we wanted the bottom of the shoe to match my hair, and the rest of the video to be in black and white. We were shooting the video for 45 seconds- I was standing still in the middle of a sidewalk frozen, while the city moved around me.
Do you know how many people (ehem women around my age) walked passed us making the most judgmental and snarky comments? I distinctly remember:
“Oh, look how impressive you are!”
"Look at the rich bitch"
“What the f*$% is she doing? Who does she think she is?”
“Taking a picture with your Louis Vuittons? So cool.” (Nice brand recognition, human!)
“She’s not even that pretty to be a model.” (Nice grammar...)
All I was doing was minding my own business, in cutoff shorts and a black t-shirt, hair and makeup undone, shooting a 45 second clip for my personal website I had been working months on. And I got verbally harassed because of the expensive shoes I was wearing. Of course, they don’t know that I bought them 2 years ago from a runway sale at ½ off as a gift to myself for finishing a 4 year run as the singer of a show, or that I was currently on Worker’s Comp barely able to pay my bills, or that the video billboard they were walking in front of had me on it, or that I was shooting a clip for a blog that would talk about people like them and why they AREN’T the people who make up the majority of our generation. They just make the rest of us look bad.
It got me thinking about this sort of action on a grander scale… and it should get you thinking, too.
It’s fascinating how much people assume they know about others. Where does assumption come from? Is it arrogance? Ignorance? Jealousy? Curiosity? Naivety?
Someone hears of sees something, and fabricates an entire story or idea about what THEY THINK is the truth. It happens all around me all the time. To my friends, my family, me, people I’ve never met, strangers walking down the street, celebrities and politicians. It can be the most simple of assumptions, all the way up to the most complicated.
I was coming up with a bunch of thoughts and reasons on my own, but then I went to my private Facebook page and posed this question to my peers (without the back-story). 39 comments, 2 texts and 6 private messages later, I got some really good answers I wasn't planning on receiving, but I’d like to share.
REASONS WHY PEOPLE ASSUME, JUDGE, AND MAKE UP “FALSE FACTS” ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE:
1. “It makes people feel comfortable and powerful. It’s also a great distraction from dealing with our own stuff. Judging others is usually projection based on what we subconsciously hate about ourselves.”
2. “ People think they know everything”
3. “It’s easier to make assumptions based on very few (if any) facts, rather than talking to someone directly to get first hand information.”
4. “Most people prefer things to be oversimplified than get into complex and layered concepts.”
6. “People can be very lazy and easily get bored with the investment required to understand something at depth.”
7. “A form of guarding oneself”
8. “People tend to disregard things they haven’t experienced for themselves.”
9. “When in groups, people may adopt the majority view instead of thinking for themselves, maybe to ingratiate themselves with others in a hierarchy:
10. “When you don’t have much of yourself to offer, you spend time wrapped up in someone else’s life.”
11. “The best way to combat this- DO NOTHING. Don’t confront them. Don’t make a post defending yourself. Don’t give them relevance.”
12. “We live in a world where people value perception over reality, and entertainment over substance. People who start/spread rumors have a basic understanding of what they’re doing, so they know no one will believe or be entertained by something boring. In turn, they ad and make up things to get a bigger response. The last thing a rumor-spreader wants to hear is ‘so what?’ Most people who do this understand that their audience won’t seek out or research the truth.”
13. “This is a concept I teach my students on a regular basis: Okay/Not Okay. The vast majority of us feel not-okay. We wake up and feel even just a little less than what we’d like to feel every morning. Throughout the day, we seek ways to make ourselves feel more okay. One way to do so is by helping others. One way might be to watch others make bad decisions and know you would do better. And another way might be to tear someone down who is more okay than you are.”
I thought these individuals had some insightful opinions, experiences, and advice on this topic. The most interesting part of this question was the fact that no one denied their involvement in this activity in their lifetime. WE HAVE ALL DONE IT- even by accident. (Reality TV, anyone?)
So when does it go from being “harmless” to “harmful?” Is there such a time? When does judgment of someone become a valid argument? Do you think women are more prone than men to use this behavior? Why or why not? Would love to read your comments below.
I challenge everyone this week to take an extra second before forming an opinion about a person you come into contact with. They may be fighting a battle you know nothing about; everyone’s journey is different, and the majority of people I know come from “good” places. Don’t let the bad seeds ruin your sense of compassion for our society-we should always celebrate such uniqueness.