How to Deal With Judgmental People

I hate it when people judge me. It’s demeaning and I feel threatened. I am often left with a lot of questions. “Am I that bad? And am I the only one because if I am, that’s terrible.” There’s that back and forth conversation in my head and I must confess it spurs anxiety and leaves me feeling awry.

To deal with judgmental people, take their judgments personally, grab the lesson, drop the negativity, and move on. Judgmental people hardly maintain friendships as no one enjoys their company. You need to understand the person’s motive so that you can know what action to take. There could be a conflict of interest, a sense of competition, or a genuine point of correction.

When I started to research this topic I realized one thing, every advisor tells me not to take it personally. “What do you mean don’t take it personally?” I did it already, that’s why I am here looking for a solution.

So, here’s my non-professional advice, take it personally!

Meaning of Judgmental People

Being judgmental means you often form opinions about others or situations. It doesn’t necessarily have to be negative judgment.

Signs of Judgmental People

Judgment triggers a sense of guilt and you wish judgmental people did not know you that much.

Judgmental people’s traits tend to be similar. For instance:

1.    They are perfectionists

2.    They thrive on evaluating others

3.    They think they know best

4.    They are also self-critics

5.    They have trust issues

6.    They see the negative side of things

How to Deal With Judgmental Family

Everyone has a family member who is always the first to know the details of your life. They thrive on assumptions and they are mostly wrong. You know they will drive a conclusion from every conversation you have – a wrong conclusion.

Judgmental parents have your life already figured out so, no need to defend what they think. They judge you for their own weaknesses, don’t blame them.

Here’s how to deal with Judgmental family.

1.    Don’t pay attention

You already know they have nothing good to say and most of it is not true anyway. Why pay attention?

2.    Keep off

For your own sanity, stay away from them and do not feel guilty for it. I know they will try to criticize you for that too.

3.    Tell them off

Don’t do it in an argumentative way, if you do, you will start an endless fight. Simply say something to negate their words and walk away. You can say “That’s not true” “We both know you are wrong” or “I don’t believe you.”

What to Say to Judgmental People

When talking with judgmental people, listen to them with an open mind, and ask positive (helpful) questions. Always respond to their judgmental words with an eager mind. Ask, “Why do you say that?” “What do you mean by that?” “Do you have a suggestion on how I can make things better?

Here’s what to say to Judgmental family.

1.    Probe further to gain understanding

It is okay to doubt a judgment but the only way to prove it; it’s by ‘sitting in the fire’ and asking the hard questions. Ask, “You really think that is a problem? “what do you think I can do to make” this better?” “I don’t understand, please explain further.”

You can’t ask these questions if you are not eager to learn. You can only do this if you have a positive mind and you genuinely desire to be better. Realize some responses may hurt as you engage and take charge of your emotions.

2.    Listen attentively and evaluate every judgment

Sometimes all we need to do is pay attention. Hearing everything the person has to say may give you a new perspective of things. You get the information you need to make the decision. If the judgment is constructive, creating room for the person’s feedback paves the way for improvement.

3.    Acknowledge the judgment

As much as it may not feel that way, judgmental people can be helpful. They can trigger guilt that thrusts you into action.

You don’t have to say it out loud but accepting there is a need to change is a step in the right direction. No one is right all the time and it’s good to just soak in that for a moment so that you find the strength to overcome that weakness and rise again.

4.    Forge forward

The default reaction to a right judgment is to wallow in the shame and nurture self-hate. Don’t heap condemnation on yourself; it will add no value to the situation. Instead, summon your guts and find focus. It’s time to make the right choices and grow from that situation.

Final Note

Whether judgmental people are right about you or not, or somewhere in the middle, don’t concentrate too much on their approach. Avoid thriving on negative energy. Take the criticism positively and go your way before you go nuts.

How to Deal With a Selfish Friend

How To Deal With Ungrateful People


Am a graduate sociologist and a regular contributor to national publications such as the American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Journal of Applied Social Science and the Annual Review of Sociology.

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