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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

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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