Being judgemental is something we are all encouraged to avoid. Unfortunately, it’s something we (especially the gossip girls of the world) still fall into the trap of doing. It might be in the context of gossiping with friends and mentioning someone else’s beautiful/strange hair. Or it could be while you are shopping and see a kid running around wild – apparently without parental observation. It could be any number of things.
But the truth is, we’re all guilty gossip girls sometimes.
GOSSIP GIRLS | How not to let judgmental b*tches bring you down
If you’re judging people, you can be sure that people are judging you. We don’t like to think of ourselves as being like that, and most of us take efforts to limit it. Now, think about what it’s like inside the minds of those people who don’t make those efforts. They will refer to themselves as people who “speak their mind,” as though they deserve a medal for that – and when it comes to judging people, they have a PhD.
It’s a scary thought, isn’t it? To step inside the minds of gossip girls for a moment and see the world through their eyes. Let’s take it a step further and see yourself through their eyes. When they’re dishing about someone else to you, imagine what they might say about you to the others? (Scary, I know.)
I don’t intend to frighten you with this thought exercise, but it does deserve some thinking about.
There are always going to be those people out there. As much as they say they’re just speaking their minds, do you honestly think that if they don’t see real flaws in people, they’re above just coming up with something? These are individuals who are antagonistic for effect. And when you’re dealing with that kind of person, I suggest you do one thing:
Don’t let them win.
Seriously, no one on this planet is going to go through life without being judged. When you accept that, then there really is only one way to deal with it – by not letting it affect you.
Remember back to your days in the school yard. These were the kind of kids who would bully one girl about her hair, the next one about her home life. If they came to someone else without a clear target on her back, they would just come up with something. That’s how that mentality works.
So, you know those things that you think about doing and then you stop yourself? The things that make you think “Oh, but what will people say about me?”. Don’t worry about what they’ll say. They’re saying things just to be saying things. What matters is what makes you happy.
Clothes: What Will Gossip Girls Say About This Garment?
So you’re walking through a store, and you see an item of clothing. For argument’s sake, we’ll say it’s a hat. You love it with every fiber of your being and more. It’s a little bit flamboyant, but that adds to the charm. You know, right now, half a dozen items in your wardrobe that it would go with. You’re mentally reaching for your credit card, and then:
“I don’t know though, can I pull this off? What would [Gossip Girls Name Here] make of it?”
You cut a sharp U-Turn and leave without buying anything, your confidence shaken with regard to anything in that store. You don’t need those wagging tongues. Especially not that one!
Except, no. The fact that the judgemental crowd might not like it is the very reason you should buy it and wear it tomorrow. They may not say anything to your face about it, but they’ll probably say it the moment you’re out of earshot. Let them. Who cares?
And here’s the important part. If someone comes up to you at lunch break and says “Did you hear what [Gossip Girls Name Again] said about your hat?” – have your response ready.
“No, and I don’t care either. She can say it to my face if she wants, and I won’t care then.”
For good measure, leave it a day and then wear the hat again. Let her think she’s won, and then throw it back at her.
Personal Appearance: A Change For The Better
Speaking “plainly” about other people’s appearances has become pretty much an industry. The office plain speaker has in many ways been emboldened by newspaper columnists who dish about celebrities. And they’re never more savage than when they’re talking about appearance.
One week it will be “Wow, Celebrity X is looking old, isn’t she? All those late nights catching up with her at last?”. A week later, when the celebrity shows up looking fresher, the article will be: “Well, looks like Celebrity X has had Botox! Looks like I got to her last week. Sad!”
This underlines the fact that there is no “winning” with these people if you play their game. If you do what you normally do, they’ll say what they usually say. But if you change, then they will take it as a sign of their power. Your response can only be to do what you see fit.
So, if you’re not so happy with your facial skin, it’s well worth checking out what you can do about it. The list of options is long, and you can view it at Mi-Skin Dermatology among others. If you decide you want to have fillers, or a skin peel, then do it. And you know that the gossip girls will inevitably have something to say about it.
So smile all the broader next time they speak to you. Let them know you’re not bothered.
Personal Interests: Be Yourself, Regardless
One thing that the Internet has taught us all is that there are more of “us” in the world than we thought. What do I mean by “us”? Simply, any personal taste that you can name, look online, and you’ll see dozens of people who share it with you.
Offices and workplaces are not quite like the Internet yet. You know you’re not the only person who reads a certain author, likes a certain sport or has a certain crush. You’ve spent hours online talking to fellow travellers. In the office? You may still be the pioneer of that particular trend.
“God, look at her, reading that book in the canteen. She’s so pretentious, ideas above her station, that one.”
Of course, that will be what they say to other people, out of your hearing range. To your face, they’ll say: “What’s the book? Is it good?”. They’re scouting you for information that they can use when gossiping later. So respond with the absolute truth. Yes, it is great. You have all the author’s other novels and this one is even better than those. You can lend it to them when you finish it.
The great thing about this approach is it works both ways. If they’re being underhand, you’ve just completely refused to rise to it. If they’re showing cracks through to the nice person who surely is inside all of us, then you’ve encouraged it. It’s definitely in there, it just needs to be coaxed out like a nervous woodland animal.
React like this every time they speak to you and who knows, you could be the one to tame the office loudmouth.
Identity: Who You Are Is None Of Anyone Else’s Concern
One last thing that people love to judge about others is their personal identity. We all have one, even if it is Jo Normal. In truth, there are probably more people around who differ, in some way, from type.
Whether it’s religion, gender identity, politics, sexuality or anything else. It’s probably harder to find someone who ticks every “typical” box along the demographic spectrum than to find an outlier.
And, just like with fashion, appearance, and interests, it is a point of “weakness” that the judgemental will look to attack.
You have two options here. Either your difference just isn’t a factor at all, or it’s a factor you’re unashamedly open about. Although it is much more integral to what you are, it’s got to be like that hat. There’s no point wearing it but trying to distract from it. Either have it or don’t.
It may be some people’s belief that by being open about who you are, you just fuel the bullies and the judgemental ones. We are conditioned not to like confrontation. But you’re not the one seeking it out, so don’t be ashamed to be who you are. There will always be people ready to judge you. If they ever step down off their plinth and speak directly to you about it, be ready.
Gossip Girls: “So, people are saying that you’re [fill in your own blank].”
You: “Well, you’re saying that.”
Gossip Girls: “So is it true?”
You: “Yes. And?”
Gossip Girls: “Well, if it were me, I’d be ashamed.”
At this point, choose your words carefully. There are two possible responses, depending on how confident you feel. Neither of them will get you fired, as would happen if you slapped them.
#1. “Well, I’m not you.” *winning smile, dignified exit*
#2. “Yeah, if I were you, I’d be ashamed too.” *high-five everyone who hears it, power-walk out of room*
A person who judges other people as a lifestyle choice is very much like a dog with a fire hose. You can go to them and try to disarm them, or you can stay out of their way. Just standing there and getting soaked isn’t an option. Don’t give a second thought to what they might think, because they’ll think it anyway. Just be you and rock it.
This post was contributed to The Lady-like Leopard. All photos from Tumblr.