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How You Can Deal With Highly Judgmental People

How You Can Deal With Highly Judgmental People

Judgmental people are everywhere. You might even be one yourself and not know it! But regardless of whether you judge or not, we all certainly recognize when others judge us. They are negative, draining, and they don’t make you feel good. So what can you do to cope?

Here are 10 tips that will help you keep your sanity:

1. Don’t take anything personally.

This is a difficult one for most people. We usually assume that someone is doing something because of us. But the truth is that highly judgmental people criticize everyone and everything – especially themselves. Sure, they might think they know everything or act like they are God’s gift to the world, but trust me – they don’t really feel that way. They act this way all the time, under all circumstances, with all people. So remember this: It’s not YOU … it’s THEM.

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”  -Don Miguel Ruiz

2. Be compassionate.

Nasty, judgmental people are made, not born. Think about what could have possibly happened to this person in their life to make them this way. A child doesn’t become judgmental unless that behavior is modeled for them. So maybe their parents judged everything too – including them. You never know what kind of negative message they received about themselves growing up. So while it doesn’t make their behavior any more tolerable, remembering this will at least help you have a little bit of empathy for them.

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“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” – Dalai Lama

3. Look at it as a life lesson.

I think life is all about learning. If we don’t keep learning how to be a better person, then what’s the point of it all? So if you view judgmental people as just another life lesson, it will help. View every interaction with them as a “test” that you need to pass. Are you going to respond with negativity? Or are you going to rise above your instinct to attack them back and decide to be the better person? You always have a choice. So work on choosing positive responses.

“I am not someone who is ashamed of my past. I’m actually really proud. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but they, in turn, were my life lessons.”  -Drew Barrymore

4. Don’t sink to their level.

Like I just said, when someone criticizes us, our first instinct is to become defensive and protect ourselves. Or maybe you just attack back. But doing this makes you no better than them. If you don’t like their behavior, then don’t give them the power to change who you are. Don’t let their negativity turn you into a cranky, crabby person who plays the judgmental game right along with them. Choose to be the classy person and walk away with your head held high.

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” -Coco Chanel

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5. Look beyond the obvious.

Most judgmental people are also critical of themselves. That might be hard to believe, but we have no way of knowing all the negative thoughts that go through their heads about themselves. For example, I knew a guy once who was criticizing all the overweight people a beach. He said they had no right to “flaunt” their flabby bodies so everyone had to see them. But guess what? He had severe body image issues himself. So his words were just a reflection of how he really felt about himself.

“The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.”   -Oprah Winfrey

6. See them as if they were a child.

We don’t expect children to know everything. That’s why we tolerate and accept bad behavior from them more often than we do from adults. We think that once a person grows up, they should know better. They should have figured it all out. But that’s not how it works. Many adults don’t quite “get it” yet. So if you view them as a child – someone who is still learning and growing and doesn’t know any better – then it will be easier to be more compassionate.

“It is easier to build strong children then to repair broken men.” -Frederick Douglass

7. Reframe it.
Maybe the judgmental person is your boss. It’s obviously difficult to have to work with someone like that eight hours a day five days a week. But maybe you should focus on the fact that you even have a job. Or that other people you work with are really awesome. The judgmental person does not have to be the focus of your life unless you allow it. Put their behavior into context and try to look for the positives in the situation – or even in them.

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” -Winston Churchill

8. Have an attitude of gratitude.

Be thankful that YOU are not a bitter, judgmental person like they are. Be grateful that perhaps your parents didn’t criticize and tear you down like their parents did to them. Be happy that other people like you more than they like them. You can always find something to be grateful for in every situation – even if it is a difficult one. Anything can be seen as a life lesson if you choose to see it that way.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
-Melody Beattie

9. Focus your attention on other people who love and support you.

If you can avoid or remove the judgmental person from your life, then do it! Even if the judgmental person is your own mother, that doesn’t mean you have to talk to her every day. You can put distance between yourself and them. If the person is your boss, try to fly under the radar as much as possible. Maybe the person will forget about criticizing you and then go pick on someone else.

“You have to surround yourself with people who love you and want the best for you.”  -Mena Suvari

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10. Don’t believe them.

Just because a person judges you don’t mean that what they are saying is right! Just because someone calls you stupid, doesn’t mean that it’s true! Just because someone calls you fat, it doesn’t mean other people think the same thing! One thing I know for sure in life is this: there are very few facts. Most of it is just someone’s opinion. So don’t confuse facts with opinion.

Here is the takeaway: don’t play into their negativity. Don’t take that on. Most judgmental people take pride in tearing other people down in attempt to feel better about themselves. But don’t let them drag you down with them.

“If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.” – Michael Jordan

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a relationship and dating website that gives advice from both a male and female perspective. She's also a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Deal with Insecurity and Jealousy in Relationships What Is a Relationship Timeline and Should You Follow It? Dealing With Anxious Attachment: Advice from a Relationship Therapist Practical Advice for Overcoming Problems in INFP Relationships Learn the Different Types of Love (and Better Understand Your Partner)

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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