Let’s Not Misuse the Word “Judge”



There is a difference between judging someone’s character and being critical of someone’s action.


There. I said it. I really think it’s that simple.


There is a difference between saying, “I don’t think feeding a child pixie sticks for breakfast every day is a wise idea” and saying “you’re a flippin’ idiot who doesn’t care about your kid.”


There is a difference between saying, “I don’t agree with smacking your kid in the face” and saying “you’re a cruel, unloving person.”


There is a difference between saying, “I don’t think that micro-mini is the most flattering choice” and “she looks like a whore.”




There is a DIFFERENCE.


Having an opinion? Is not judging. Heck, even VOICING said opinion doesn’t mean you’re out passing judgment on the world.


I’ve written a ton about judgment here. I absolutely do believe that most of us judge too much.


But not agreeing with another’s action? Is not what I consider judging. I consider that using one’s brain to come to a conclusion.


We’re not going to agree on everything. And that’s totally okay. I don’t have to like everything someone does. I don’t like all the things some of my very best friends do! I still think they’re great people– I just don’t agree with certain actions.


I am totally willing to get called out when I put on my judge-y pants. It happens. I do not deny this.


But, man, I’m tired of the accusations of “judging” that fly any time someone dares to disagree with something that was said or done. To me? That’s just misusing the word “judge” and creating an endless cycle. “That’s judging to assume that I was judging!” It spins out of control.


Anytime we try to evaluate someone’s character based on specific actions or behaviors, we absolutely risk being judgmental. 


But overusing the word “judgment” does nothing to help it go away. Let’s call out unfair judgment when it truly exists and stop trying to misapply it to situations where someone merely stated their view or perception.


Because… frankly? If you’re trying to tell me that you never see someone do something and think to yourself, “What the… ?”  Well, I call BS. ;)

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18 comments to Let’s Not Misuse the Word “Judge”

  • Jennie


    I really need to meet you IRL. You absolutely read my mind. I was beating myself up yesterday for this exact thing. You are absolutely right. It’s okay that I don’t agree with someone’s actions but I don’t have to be insulting about it nor belittle them for it.

    My biggest issue is driving. I want to watch my language and use the terms ” I don’t agree with” “I wish they wouldn’t….” “I don’t think that was smart…” instead of my usual ” You Idiot….”. (YIKES)


  • Absolutely, I think the thing that bothers me most is when people still take personal affront to disagreeing with them, even when you are trying to do it respectfully.

  • Susan

    I think it’s ok to be judge-y-pants. It depends who you are telling (about the judgement.) I play fashion-police all of the time. I don’t comment to the obese woman exploding our of her miniskirt but my friends and I certainly talk about her. If I think a child is in danger or a parent is out of control, I would intervene. If no-one is in danger, I keep my opinions to my myself and my friends (for entertainment value.)

    • Well, I mean, I’m no saint! I’ve definitely made remarks here and there– goodness, I just pointed out the woman at the ballpark yesterday with her tank top untied and dipping perilously low. I thought it was a really poor choice. But I do think there’s a huge difference between thinking that was a bad (and tacky) move and assuming that that choice means she has poor moral character. Does that make sense at all?

  • And you spelled judgment correctly every single time. (I’m sorry. I couldn’t help myself and I knew you’d laugh with me. Hahahaha!)

    http://www.dailywritingtips.com/judgement-or-judgment/ (for anyone who’s gonna yell at me) ;)

    And thank you for drawing the line on this “it’s getting seriously old!” topic.

  • [...] concur! ~ Let’s Not Misuse the Word “Judge” [...]

  • My SIL and I were *just* talking about this tonight. I think when you understand that there are things you do that people so don’t agree with, then you can be more relaxed on other people. Sure, do I think that was a super poor choice? Yeah, probably so. But unless it’s totally effecting people who could be harmed by it (or you’re asking my opinion) there’s really no need for me to be all “whoa, dude, you should so not do that” or “man, they must totally be (insert wide sweeping statement about character)”. And while I might judge your decision, it doesn’t need to effect the way I judge you. We’ve all made poor decision (says the mom who so feed her kids brownies… for dinner).

  • Cristina

    Still. Writing a “Dear mom” post is not nice. Just look at your own life and kids and do not judge other moms.

    • We’re going to have to agree to disagree about whether or not I was “judging”, Cristina. I do appreciate what you’re saying about focusing on ourselves and not critiquing others’ behavior. Still, I’m willing to be called “not nice” or “judgmental” if that’s what it means to speak out and say “No, it’s NOT okay to elbow your toddler in the head.”

      • Cristina

        Okay, I see we are not getting anywhere here. lol. Of course nobody thinks it is right to elbow a kid in the head. I am against all types of violence. I am just not writing a post wondering about other person’s life based on a bad thing I saw one day. It is not my place to do that. And these “dear mom” series people love writing do not make things better. That is all I am saying.
        Still, you have a great blog, although I disagree with you on that matter.

    • I really, truly can’t help but wonder how the concern here is being placed on “judging” and not on a mom who ELBOWED HER KID IN THE HEAD. What in the world?!

      Heaven forbid anyone hurt mommy’s feelings by noticing she ELBOWED HER KID IN THE HEAD.

      And JL ~ THANK YOU for the reminder, that yes, what we do on our phones is sometimes important. It’s even sometimes fun, and THAT’S OKAY. Elbowing a toddler in the head for whatever is on the phone? Not okay.

  • Cristina

    I think the line between having an opinion and judging is so tender that sometimes we think we are not judging, when we are…maybe if we saw Meagan on that moment we would judge her hard! This is why I keep saying that of course I am against elbowing a kid on the head, but I try not to judge that mom!
    It is hard, because I have strong opinions…but I try.

  • Mari

    I couldn’t agree more. “Judging” seems to be commonly misused by insecure people who can’t accept constuctive criticism. My sister is a prime example. Everything is a judgement call, whether it’s just an opinion or a disagreement about something that makes her uncomfortable.
    What’s funny is that these “don’t judge me” types are often quite judgemental themselves. They typically just don’t like hearing anything that’s close to the mark. For example, suggesting to a mom that giving her child everything she wants is probably a bad idea would result in a reply like: “Stop judging my parenting style! You obviously don’t have a clue how to raise kids”.

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