Judgement: The Antithesis to Curiosity. (2/2)

We judge people for all sorts of things: their appearances, where they grew up, their educational and professional background, how much money they have or we think they have, if they are single, if they aren’t single, etc. etc. We’re particularly judgemental when we first meet someone. And despite it being a fairly unattractive behavior, it’s seemingly human nature. We all do it.

One of the worst things about initially judging someone is it leads us to make a number of assumptions about them, often which may be entirely untrue. And once we’ve made up a story or a set of assumptions about someone, it can create an invisible barrier to being genuinely curious and interested in them. Why bother getting to know someone new? We already know their ‘type’ in the first 30 seconds!

Why bother getting to know Daniel? I can tell from how he talks he’s a real snob. Karen? No interest in hearing her story. She’s probably a call-the-manager type. Camelia? Yikes – anyone who’s wearing white after labour day needs a basic fashion lesson. Of course, I’m exaggerating a bit. But certainly, some milder version of these train of thoughts can come up and do influence how we interact with new people. The phrase “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is clearly based on a regularly occurring real life circumstance.

As I wrote about last week, curiosity is an exceptional way to re-frame socializing with new people into an opportunity to learn. Judgement leads us to make stories and assumptions about others, which inhibits our ability to be curious. Thus, judgement is the antithesis to curiosity. If we recognize and ignore initial judgement-based assumptions, we can preserve an open and curious mind when meeting someone new. Don’t let the stories our minds create ruin the opportunity to learn about someone new.