“If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I was a fresh graduate when I came to work for one of the pioneer BPO companies here in Manila back in 1999. It was the start of the influx of several BPO companies who chose to bring their business here in the Philippines and at that time, we were hiring non-stop. There’ll be a new batch that would come in each and every week until there were too many of us already that they had to get us an additional floor.
I’ve made a lot of friends during that year, both from my batch and other batches too. Naturally, not every one that came in was a gem. There were some who were reclusive, although most of the people I worked with that time were outgoing and friendly.
There was this one guy however who really rubber me the wrong way. Well, looking back, he actually did rub a lot of people the wrong way because he was loud, obnoxious, and had an arrogance in him that you surely won’t miss. He acted as if he was popular and he had this really annoying habit of making sticking his nose in everybody’s business.
He was also friends with some of the team leaders (one of them was his former college buddy who was also the one who referred him) and he would laugh so loud every time he’s in their company.
My friends and I would always look at one another and make faces when he’s around. “Here comes the typhoon!” one of my friends would whisper.
I didn’t really want to have anything to do with the guy until I got to know him personally when he became teammates in one of our company-sponsored basketball games. It was during this time that I got to see another side of him. Suddenly, he wasn’t that bad after all. I misjudged him. I passed judgment prematurely because I didn’t even know the guy.
I’m sure you’ve had the same experience too when you prematurely judged someone without getting to know them enough to understand why they behave the way they do. It Sucks to realize later on that you were wrong and that you’ve been unfair to that person right? I know, because I’ve been there before and for a number of times already so here are some helpful tips you can follow to avoid misjudging people.
1. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt
We are all unique individuals. We have different personalities and different behaviors brought about by our upbringing and beliefs. What may be ridiculous to you may not be that of a big deal for others. What you consider normal may be unusual for others. What may seem wrong for you may not be as bad for others.
There really is no common standard when it comes to human behavior that’s why it’s a bit unfair to judge people at face value. It’s not fair to write people out just because they don’t fit your standards.
I wouldn’t have become friends with the guy I mentioned above if I didn’t get to play ball with him and looking back, my biggest mistake was to judge a person against my standards without knowing him on a deeper level.
Every one deserves the benefit of the doubt and a chance to show who they really are without being labeled negatively.
2. Keep your observations to yourself
One of the most common mistakes we make in misjudging people is that we can’t keep our mouths shut. The moment we hear someone who share our opinion about another person, we can’t resist the temptation of making it known.
Yes, this is how gossip starts and it eventually spreads when you find more people who share that same opinion.
If your boss is ruthless and you’re a victim of his or her cruelty, you will most probably not hold back on letting your opinion be known once you chance upon other employees who share a similar experience talking about your boss.
“Oh yes, he is absolutely unfair.”
“He is not a good leader.”
“He’s a bad person.”
Every one will have their own adjectives to describe your boss but do you even know why he treats people that way? Do you understand the pressure he goes through every day to keep your team standing and help you keep your job?
It’s embarrassing when a person you gossip about learns that you’re saying things behind his back so whatever you see and feel, it’s best to keep it to yourself and get to know the person instead and understand where he is coming from.
3. Look at yourself first before you pass judgment
Oftentimes, we are so quick to judge that we don’t realize that just like them, we too are not perfect. Everyone has flaws and weaknesses so who are we to judge if we are technically equals?
Are you sure that you’ve passed the standard by which you judge others with?
It’s easy to say that he or she is unpleasant or boring but have you ever stopped to consider that you might be too? Because if you are, that makes you a hypocrite.
4. Look for the good in people. Not the other way around.
Everyone is capable of being good and kind and I honestly believe that. Even the worst criminals do have a good side before they screwed up. Instead of being a fault-finder, why not be a good-seeker?
Our normal tendency is to find fault in people and that includes me but I’ve learned that if you want to be happy and fulfilled, you have to get rid of all the negatives in your life and that includes the way you look at people.
She may seem arrogant and snobbish, he may seem unfriendly but if you give them a chance, he or she may turn out to be something else. Something better and positive.
5. Don’t be quick to judge if you don’t want to be judged yourself
One of the basic rules in life is to not do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you and it perfectly applies to passing judgment. If you don’t want to be judged with the wrong standards, try to not to do it to others too. It’s that simple.
Isn’t it funny that people who love to criticize others can’t stand the slightest criticism? Just saying.
One of the keys to happiness is having friends who will be there for you no matter what and you won’t be able to win friends if you’re too judgmental. Though there are bad people, I believe there are way more good people around that we can build relationships with but you will be robbing them of that opportunity if you quickly write them off because they don’t fit your standards. Don’t make a habit of misjudging people.
Over to You
Have you misjudged someone who eventually became a friend? Tell us about it. Leave a comment and share your story. I would love to hear them!
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