Judgmental at the start
There are three things we can apply to stop being judgmental in friendship.
If we had a bad experience in our past friendship, naturally we could become judgmental. It made things easy to dislike certain types of people. Especially, the type of people who have hurt us or who have hurt someone we love.
Because these people might leave us negative sentiment towards others. As a result, we become bias and judgmental towards others.
We can also become bias and judgmental out of our ignorance. For example, when some individuals from a certain group of people did some terrible thing or committed a crime, we generalize that everybody from that group is bad and not worth approaching.
But this generalization may not valid. Because other people from that group are innocent and they may condemn the bad thing the individuals from their group did.
It’s a normal part of the human experience to dislike some people and like some others. If we’ve lived long or if we’ve experienced a lot of difficulty in relationships, we may have a whole list of different types of people we don’t like. This can make it easy to judge people based on how we think they’ll act or what we suspect they’ll say.
1. Embrace Differences
The problem is that these biases can prevent potential friendships before they even have a chance to start. We might look at someone and say, “She reminds me of So-and-so. There’s no way I could be friends with her.”
Sometimes our dislikes exist because we fear someone different from us. Maybe we’ve decided we don’t like certain political parties, so this makes us bias towards people who follow those parties. Or we decided we don’t like people of certain faith just because they practice a different way of life from ours.
We should see differences among people around us as a way for us to learn more. It’s the quality of their characters that should be our reason to be friends with them. It’s how we feel whenever we’re around them that should be more important. Or it’s how they help us grow and become better persons that should be a priority to relate and build a relationship with them.
In other words, we should embrace differences among people who can be our potential friends and set aside our judgmental views.
2. Open Ourselves
In some cases, we may have formed judgments to protect ourselves. For example, maybe we shared a deeply personal story with someone who gossiped about us later. It would be understandable if we said, “I can’t be vulnerable like that again.”
So we decided not to open ourselves to any possibility of having any relationship with people whom we think are a similar type with those who hurt us.
But closing ourselves off from support makes it hard to heal. If we’re rejecting people based on what someone else did, we have no room to grow. We’re denying ourselves the comfort that comes from a community that longs to wrap their arms around us. It’s not about hurting the people around us. It’s more about we’re only hurting ourselves.
If we want to change our lives and invite kind, supportive people into it, we have to be willing to do something different. That means suspending judgment and giving people a chance to show them who we are. Don’t be afraid to open our hearts to someone new.
3. Drawbridge Approach
This doesn’t mean we have to let everyone into our inner circle within five minutes of meeting them. Think of our hearts like a castle. Some people open the drawbridge and let anyone come walking into their lives straight away. Some people close their drawbridge and never invite another soul in.
We don’t have to choose either these two extremes. There’s a third option – the middle one – which is to lower our drawbridge bit by bit.
We just need to open ourselves little by little as time goes by. The people who care about us and genuinely want to be our friends will wait patiently for us to lower our drawbridge and let them in. These are the types of good people we should try to surround ourselves with.
Besides, they probably want to judge us too. Because they probably have their own judgments about us as well. So, by taking the time to get to know them, we’re also giving them chances to understand us. If a friendship built between them and us, it will be a good one at the end.
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