I noticed that while conversing, I and others will interject a, "That's good," or a, "That's terrible!" or a, "How nice!" At first, I thought it was a way to be involved and to tell your conversation partner that you are listening and care about what they are saying.

However, I have noticed that sometimes some people will say, "That's nice," when I think it's bad. Or there are times you know you don't know what to say. Like when someone tells you they are pregnant. To some people that is good, yet to others it is unwelcome. Like a teenager saying they are pregnant would get the response, "I am so sorry, what are you going to do?" This is judging. But what else do we say? If we say, "Congratulations!" and they are not happy, that doesn't help. This is an obvious example, but some are less obvious.

Sometimes, its judging every little thing someone says. Like this:

Fred: I went for a walk today.

Barney: That's good, Fred

Fred: I got hit by a car!

Barney: That's terrible, Fred!

Fred: Well, I didn't get hurt

Barney: That's good, Fred.

Fred: The driver gave me $1,000 for the trouble

Barney: That's great, Fred!

Fred: But some hoodlums saw him give me the money and they mugged me.

Barney: That's terrible, Fred!

Fred: But I opened a can of whoopass on them! Haya!

Barney: That's great, Fred!

Fred: Well, I put a guy in the hospital.


So why do we judge everything in conversation? And more importantly, how do we stop doing that? What do we say that doesn't include judging?

asked 30 Jun '12, 10:41

Fairy%20Princess's gravatar image

Fairy Princess

edited 30 Jun '12, 12:40

I'm kinda glad to see I'm in my own world and I mostly judge myself. Throughout the conversation I couldn't relate, because in real world I don't give a damn about what's happening to someone else. Even though I often reply to whatever they are saying with "oh that's great"... as a matter of fact the reply is "whatever". But I guess people like to hear their own affirmation from someone's else mouth. And for me it's the least I could do.

(30 Jun '12, 12:50) CalonLan

Our @CalonLan? Well you sure do fake giving a damn about what's happening to people here. Had me fooled... ;)

(30 Jun '12, 13:56) Grace

the truth not to the left or to the right.it becomes a judgement when you pick a side.that is why people opinion are judgement they will tell you i hate them for this reason or that reason.and the people that pick the other side are doing the same from the other side. both side do not want to see some truth to the other side and they made a judgement. if they would stay in truth they would be able to see the truth from both side and they would not need to make the choice from judgement.

(30 Jun '12, 14:25) white tiger

@Grace, I merely offer my point of view. And as everyone, also I, search for answers I have in me - sometimes by asking, sometimes by answering. It's because I'm looking for that which I haven't found yet, that I'm still here. It was not my intention to fool anyone really :). But honestly, I don't care for anyone but myself. I think deep inside, we all do care just for ourselves. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to offer my point of view in the most sincere way I know of. ;)

(30 Jun '12, 16:30) CalonLan

@white tiger yes, I have often found myself being able to argue either side of many issues.

(30 Jun '12, 16:45) Fairy Princess

fairy princess why argue? it is not because someone is lost that you need to get lost also.people that get lost to the left and the right do the same and cast stones.there is no rigthfullness in doing that.

(30 Jun '12, 19:18) white tiger

Well said, @CalonLan.

(30 Jun '12, 19:28) Grace

@Grace, just out of curiosity, even though I can assume as I have a little knowledge of how ego works. Did reading what I wrote here change your way of looking at what I write on IQ. Now that you know I don't really care, do you think that it perhaps subconsciously alters your point of view on my posts? ;>

(02 Jul '12, 03:36) CalonLan

Not really, @CalonLan. Mmm just looked and thought back through you questions and answers... You seem the same to me. Maybe you and I have different definitions of "giving a damn". I think you are thoughtful and fully engaged in the condition of mind of others. You also seem open to "spread your love around". :) That, to me, is giving a damn. To put yourself first and above all, as I personally think probably you do, is just plain wise and healthy.

(02 Jul '12, 08:32) Grace

Also, I only meant to tease you. :) Looking at that again, I think that was unwise and intrusive, and a bad habit of mine that I have recognized before. I apologize, CalonLan.

(02 Jul '12, 08:56) Grace

@Grace, there's no need to apologize, because I don't give a damn. j/k ;). But really, you wrote nothing that would upset me, I can't even identify what you have in mind specifically. So whatever it was it perhaps seems unwise and intrusive only in your reality :).

Anyway, you have expressed what I was feeling quite well. It's not that I won't share love or happiness with others. It's just that when it comes to choosing between myself and others, I'll always choose myself first.

(02 Jul '12, 09:43) CalonLan

And contrary to what my parents taught me, it's actually when I put myself first, I'm in "love" and most happy. ;)

(02 Jul '12, 09:53) CalonLan

Yes, me too. Tough lesson to unlearn for me. Well, I knew it for others, but it took a long time, actually still learning, to apply it to myself.

(02 Jul '12, 09:57) Grace
showing 0 of 13 show 13 more comments

Fairy Princess I loved this conversation yes I can understand it very well! LOL

It reminds me of the farmer that was not moved by anything he heard. He kept saying when someone said "That's great" or "That's terrible" "Maybe it is maybe it isn't" It was some story about his son getting a broken leg that kept him from being drafted and getting killed in the military.



answered 30 Jun '12, 19:14

Wade%20Casaldi's gravatar image

Wade Casaldi

edited 01 Jul '12, 08:21


@Wade Casaldi, thanks for the link. I have always loved this story, and I think its such an important principle to keep in mind.

(30 Jun '12, 19:36) Grace

I think the answer to your question is in the word Conversation and if we expand it to 'conversation in context' and further to 'conversation in context to relationship' you'll notice that whether judging or not depends on your relationship with the other person and the context of the conversation.

Certain relationships, you will be judging as your role in that relationship demands it...others not.

Let's take the scenario of a teenager girl- BETTY who is not married and a guy - FRED...and she has just announced..'I am pregnant'. let's see how different relationship between them will illicit a different response (and I am totally making this up as I go along, lets see...sounds fun)

Fred as 'culprit' teenage boyfriend: 'Oh @#@$@$@$&&&' or more likely 'Do I know you?' or 'get away from me'

Fred as normal father: After possibly beating himself up, grounding her, cutting off her pocket money and oxygen supply 'What were you thinking? Did I not teach you anything? Is this how you pay me back? Don't look at me for help!' (massively judging and means it, it's all her fault. Won't even inquire who the guy is)

Fred as a single father: ' Oh great! You are now just behaving like your mother! She got pregnant with you when she was your age and look how our life turned out! Knowing you, the guy must be a loser.If that's what you want go ahead but find your own damn place!' (Humongous Judging again, in one swoop judged everyone else BUT HIMSELF and means it as well)

Fred as cool guy friend: 'I told you, that guy was a jerk. Don't tell me I didn't warn you' (Judging her indirectly)

Fred as a possible stoner friend: 'Awesome. That's a gift girl! Where's the party?' (No judging)

Fred as a bratty younger brother: ' Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I am going to move into your room as soon as you're thrown out of the house' (No judging, he is in his own World)

Fred as a counselor: ' Okay, the first thing to do is not to panic. We are here for you. We believe in maintaining confidentiality, avoiding judgmental stances, and gearing communication to cognitive maturity. (??? ...Fred here would say the same thing if it was a Gorilla sitting in front of him. Professional and hence no judging)

So you see, this can go further with different responses if Fred's belief's were pro/against teenage pregnancy, religious views, personal morals, views on pre-marital sex etc. etc. Also, if Fred as a father's political views depending on the guy responsible's ethnicity, race etc. etc...it can get pretty complex.

But, in a general conversation, around a dinner table, when someone has just met Betty, when they don't have any long term emotional or any other relationship to her, then I think the social etiquette would demand that a basic, neutral...as neutral as it can be, a balanced (supportive yet not encouraging) response is unavoidable.

Something like 'Wow' followed by pretend coughing thereby forcing the next person's turn on the table. If probed further, that 'Wow' can be swung either way....'wow, that's unfortunate timing'...or 'wow, you are such a confident young lady' (I am not joking I would actually do this option:)

So, in real life, judging cannot be avoided but it can be held back while expressing it. It cannot be avoided because we all have our own moral codes, our beliefs, our viewpoints. It's not a question of right or wrong, it is like that in real life, knowingly or unknowingly we are walking a certain yellow line and everyone not on it, is/can/will/should be judged. They SHOULD NOT BE, but they will be. Whether we admit it or not. Whether we verbalize it or not. Human nature of conformity I guess.

So, I may not express it over the dinner table, but you know, as soon as I am out the door, depending on my views and my relationship to Betty ..its either going to be like 'You know what, if she wants to have the baby, I am going to extend all my resources to her. I will stand by her'....or...'Tch, her life's going all downhill from here on'

Okay, obviously the names and scenarios are made up for the example only -- disclaimer:)


answered 30 Jun '12, 12:33

Xoomaville's gravatar image


edited 30 Jun '12, 12:38

Thanks for your fun run through different scenarios.

(30 Jun '12, 12:41) Fairy Princess

@Xoomaville, you just crack me up. Can't wait to see what's next from you. And, I agree with your point, its the context of the relationship. Still, we can all pretend to social norms, but I think it basically negates our existance. We are here to be ourselves. Any time we aren't, we just defeat the purpose and rob society of one colorful component, among other things. At least, that's what I tell myself when I open my mouth and a bunch of stupid $%*# accidentally falls out. :/

(30 Jun '12, 13:52) Grace

@Fairy Princess, great responses so far:) @Grace, usually I won't hold myself back expressing my beliefs or speaking my mind, but I pick my battles very carefully. There was a time when I would make everything a debate, not anymore. I am consciously trying to simplify my life but yes sometimes bunch of stupid S%*# does accidentally fall out from my mouth...I just move on:)

(01 Jul '12, 00:13) Xoomaville

xoomavile, as a fred you left out a few scenarios; you tell her she was a product of 21st century thought, of gender stereotypes. ask, is could had made other decisions earlier on that would have staved off further advances or was she a victim. that she would need to answer to herself to move on. yet i be so glad to see her again. yes, why do we judge, from where our elitism comes, not enough awareness that all, though individual, of the same spirit

(02 Jul '12, 15:57) fred

@fred 1, very true what you say. Also, its the limitation of language, any language. Plus, I think, if your reaction is not what the other person (Betty)is looking for, they may feel you are judging them even if you are not. I like the concept of 'Individuals of the same spirit'...its worth reading couple of times to really grasp it. Powerful, thank you

(02 Jul '12, 23:57) Xoomaville

Love the Stoner friend , my momentary thought , should I cultivate them , lol

(03 Jul '12, 00:17) Starlight

@Starlight...lol...let it be a momentary thought and let it pass:))

(03 Jul '12, 00:52) Xoomaville

@Xoomaville, diplomacy is an art. Fitting, what?

(03 Jul '12, 01:26) Grace
showing 2 of 8 show 6 more comments

When I am having a good conversation, I do not notice my responses, but the other person seems as engaged as I am, so I hope that we are doing okay.

It is only when I am bored with the conversation that I notice my responses...and I tend to notice when others are bored with me! So I guess that is a form of judgment, but I never really thought of it that way. Rather, I am more of a one-on-one person, and I seek out those I enjoy conversing with...So I guess I need to examine that part of me...

Perhaps you are lacking some people with which to have good conversations! Do you have a hard time following the conversation? I know that with my ADD, if the talk isn't really engaging, I tend to let my mind wander...not nice of me! :)

But I cannot say that I judge people through conversation. Rather, I just let life flow, I guess. I really never gave it a thought until you asked. It don't think that I judge either the person or the conversation.




answered 30 Jun '12, 20:06

Jaianniah's gravatar image


edited 30 Jun '12, 20:11

Yes, sometimes I have a hard time following because my mind wanders or I can't hear.

(01 Jul '12, 09:10) Fairy Princess
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