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  • Writer's picturejonathan bagnato

The difference between judging and assessing.

What is the difference between judging and assessing?

We first have to understand that judging to some degree or another is inevitable. It's like saying, "I'm not racist." Everyone has a preset bias to people, cultures, or races. Understanding to the core of ourselves, we live in a vast world with so many different ideas, feelings, and experiences, and we are just a small part of the whole. Just because we don't understand something doesn't mean it's wrong.

The word, judge as a verb is explained as "to form an opinion or conclusion."

There is an excellent article on seven ways we are judging people. It's a religious article, but none the less its points aren't missed. I'll link the article here and if you want to explore, but here are the cliff notes.

The top points the article makes on identifying if you are judging someone are

  1. You judge someone not when you assess their position but when you dismiss them as a person

  2. You become more enraged at some else's wrongdoing than you are embarrassed by your own.

  3. You refuse to forgive, and you refuse to forget.

  4. You "cut off" those who disagree with you. (there's a lot of this happening in the world right now).

  5. You're a gossiper.

  6. You refuse to receive feedback.

  7. You write people off as hopeless or a lost cause.

If those seem pretty harsh- it's because they are. Those topics exclude the broader "judgment" like racism, stereotyping, and according to Psychology online, we judge by these critical things: Morality, sociability, and competence.

So why is it we judge? It's probably ego or self-centeredness. And if it's not either one of those, it's often fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being wrong, fear of being different, fear in any way, shape, or form. We often judge cause we feel judged- cause we are doing it.

I always say,

If I meet someone and they say, "they don't trust anyone," I can assume a few things from that statement- they are probably not trustworthy, and often they have received such massive trauma in their life that caused that distrust. Here's why people who don't lie have no reason to assume others are lying. Why would you go into any relationship, business, friendship, or romantic and assume from the start- you can't trust this person. It says an awful lot more about you than it does them. Trust people until they show you otherwise. Not trusting people just cause you don't know them is, in fact, a judgment. You're essentially deeming them without any knowledge that they cannot be trusted based on your own experiences in life. Do you see how messed up that is?

With all this being said, all we are trying to do is determine if someone is a positive person to have in our life. We don't want to get hurt, and unfortunately, there are many questions people out there. There is a better way to examine if someone is a decent person and assess their actions.

This is where Character Assessments come in.


What is a Character Assessment? Well, to my knowledge, it's something that I made up, but it is based on simple principles of taking things for face value. We call a spade a spade.

The definition of Assess is. "Evaluate or estimate the nature, ability or quality of."

And the difference between the two (Assess v. Judge) is massive. Once you're forming your idea about someone based on your biases, your beliefs, your education, and your preconceived notion- in other words- it's full of shit. You don't know anyone's life. Where anyone comes from. You don't know what they have been through. You're just making a judgment based on basically nothing- your thoughts. Your "opinions" and the famous quote,

Opinions are like assholes; we all got them.

Now to assess is something quantifiable. Something tangible. We are calculating something. So what may I ask is the measurements of someone's "assessment?" well, I'm glad you asked cause I'm here to tell you- it's their actions. You are looking at their efforts. So what would some good efforts be?

Psychology Today suggests 5 qualities in a good partner are;

  1. Kindness, loyalty and understanding

  2. Similarity

  3. conscientiousness is about being reliable, practical, rule following, and organized

  4. Emotional stability

  5. the belief that relationships take work.

Let's dive deeper.

A straightforward set of things to look at when assessing people would be:

  1. Do they have a job.

  2. Are they a supportive member of the community they live in

  3. Do they pay their bills and take care of their responsibilities?

  4. Do they take care of their health?

  5. If they have children, are they apart of their lives?

  6. Are they working on self-improvement?

  7. Do they volunteer or help others.

  8. Do they have healthy and long-term relationships with people.

  9. Are they apart of their chosen family. Biological or otherwise.

Ideally, we are looking at any action a person does that goes against our personal beliefs or causes direct harm to someone else or some other undesirable quality. I emphasize Direct and action. Because lately, in our political climate, a lot of people are quick to pass judgment. We forget that we are all entitled to our own beliefs. That's the cost of freedom. When we pick and choose what is right or wrong, then we become dictators. Just because we disagree with someone doesn't mean we now need to hate them, but we don't have to be friends with them or keep them in our lives.

But the best thing is if you don't like what someone says, stop listening and move on. There is an unfollow button. If you follow someone online that annoys you- no one is forcing you to follow them. No one is forcing you to go to a business you don't like, and no one is forcing you to support a politician you don't like. That's the whole point.

Maybe I'm off base with all of this, or perhaps I'm not; it's for you to decide for yourself. I'm always open to discussion and feedback; it's what drives growth, change, and healing. This article is in no such way to be comprehensive in anything, but it's meant to make you and myself think about how we feel about people. Are we judging them? Are we dismissing them? Instead of judging people, get to know them. If their actions aren't becoming, then move on. It's that simple. You don't have to hate them or be angry you simply have to move on. Look at actions, don't make hasty judgments. It's really easy to think we know better. Getting to know someone is hard, it takes time, and it forces us to open up, and sometimes to open up means the possibility to get hurt. That's why it's easier to judge than to try. It's easier to have opinions and gossip than it is to learn and to try to understand.

If we lived in a world with a little more effort than always taking the quick and easy way out, we would all be better for it. So try to get to know someone before you write them off. Give trust, give people a chance- you may be surprised what you find.

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Dec 11, 2023

I see what you're saying and it's odd because I judge people's capacity based on an assessment of their actions and behaviors, capacity can change, as it can not change. I won't stand around to wait and find out if it does. I'm very forward and a highly moral person, I require the same from others who wish to maintain relations with me, and the inability to do so causes a casting of judgement, due to the information gleemed from the assesment process, which is open to discussion and interpretation or confusion and uncertainty. At which point I can feel anger because they led me to believe they could be trusted om said matters and were in fact not. Did…

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