Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Stop Appearing to Be So Judgmental (How To Stop Coming Off Judgmental)

I lost a few friends recently. I feel sad about it. I basically told some people things about themselves that they didn't ask to hear but that I, as a true friend, felt it wrong to hold in.

I really can't describe the incidences due to privacy of the other parties, but let's just say that in one case I am right and told a coworker something that all our other coworkers wanted to but were too chicken too. I've done this in the past (such as with a particularly odoriferous coworker) and it's usually worked out for the best. This time, however, things did not work out. This is actually the first time I've had something of this nature (where I address something the whole office complains about) actually go wrong. Every other time there was some short-term discomfort, but long term peace and acceptance.

The other one, I think my intentions were pure... but my delivery was waaaay too judgmental.

The funny thing is, I don't really judge others. Not in *THAT* sense. I love everyone. I may not trust just everyone. And I may not date just anyone. But I'll hang out with just about anyone who isn't trying to involve me in anything illegal and who will accommodate my desire to stay away from things/behaviors in which I don't want to engage. For example: I don't care if you drink around me, but don't pressure *me* to drink.

As long as you let me be me, I'll let you be you.

So, I feel like I have to improve my delivery. And I went online today in search of ways to deliver my messages without coming across so judgmental.

At first, I couldn't find anything. I searched on how to stop appearing judgmental, how to stop coming off judgmental, how to prevent others from thinking you are judgmental... Nothing. So I searched, "How to stop BEING judgmental," and BINGO! A ton of websites I now need to go through.

Why is this a problem, you ask? Because most of us Aspies who care about appearing to be judgmental and want to fix it are not of the opinion that we ARE judgmental. I don't think I am. I think I just come across that way. So I'm not naturally inclined to read these because I don't want to learn how to not BE judgmental. And I certainly don't wan to listen to some better-than-me NT dripping with condescension try to teach me how I can stop being so "bad."

I'm going to go through those sites, see what I can learn, and then write some posts on it. And I'll give you examples of where people pointed out that I was judgmental (surprising me!) so you can learn from my mistakes.

In the meantime, if you have any useful advice on how someone can learn to stop appearing to be judgmental when all they are doing is expressing an alternate viewpoint, do let me know!


pregnancy week by week said...

I wish that I could help you with this but I have the same issue. Great post:)

V Lee said...

I just discovered your blog recently, I can relate and enjoy the depth of your observations.

I also struggle with how to communicate important observations without triggering defenses or coming across judgmental.

Some ideas that might help:

Wrap it in a positive sandwich, start with a compliment, insert criticism, end with compliment.

Drop hints to try to guide the other person to recognizing the judgment on their own.

Be cautious of timing and location when criticizing. One on one is better than in front of a group and putting the person in an embarrassing position.

Timing, learn to recognize how willing and ready a person is to hear criticism. Some people don't want to know or aren't ready to acknowledge yet. Sharing at that time is pointless.

Or just trust being yourself. Be short, sweet, honest and direct. If you lose friends, make new ones that appreciate your unique thinking.