Friday, January 14, 2011

I'm Not Judging

Deb: I’m not judging. Or am I?

Yes, as it turns out, I am! And so are scores of others it would seem. There will always be catch phrases to jump on. “Happy Campers” comes to mind.  And TV gives us some great ones. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”

Lately I have noticed one phrase that has gone viral. “I’m not judging.” I have been using it with self-righteousness for about a year. And proud??? You betcha. Cause you see ... I’m not judging!!! And by saying I am not judging before I say anything proves that in fact ... I am NOT judging. Didn’t you hear me? Not judging.

What a lovely helpful phrase. It is like a get out of jail free card that allows the user to well ... judge.

I REALLY thought it was good. This lovely little phrase set me up as a fair and unbiased person. You are gossiping? Not me. I am NOT JUDGING. Except as it turns out, I was judging. I was using the catchphrase as an excuse to judge. As a prelude to a judge. As judgie foreplay. Judgie mcjudges alot! And no one was more shocked than I to discover the truth behind this false proclamation.

So I have come to a conclusion about this overused phrase that has been my stalwart go-to. There are only two times you can use the phrase “I am not judging” and really get away with it. One is when you say “I am not judging” and then you let lose with a litany of over-the-top judgments! This is good. This is irony and we love irony. Irony is ironic and it makes us laugh. The second time is when you say “I’m not judging” and then say nothing else. People will wait for your judgment with baited breath as they have come to expect it following this judgie disclaimer, but you will not follow through. Because you are REALLY not judging. Said it. Not judging. Nuff said. Not doing it.

I guess I fell into the trap of thinking if I said “I’m not judging” that people would take note of this and think I was a really really nice person. Look at her. Wow. She is not judging. I was wrong. If you are really not going to judge, just don’t. I am trying very hard not to. But sometimes I do. If you are, that’s fine too. Judge away. Judge yourself into a stupor. But don’t use the poor “I’m not judging” as your henchman.

From now on if I judge, I judge, although I will do my damnedest not to. And if I am not judging, I will just not.  But if you want to continue saying “I am not judging” even though you are judging, please don’t worry. I am not judging. 

Barbara: It’s true, Deb!! We use this phrase ALL THE TIME without even thinking, don’t we? How about “no offence”? Have you ever used that one? Not necessarily directly to someone, of course, like: “No offence, but your outfit sucks” (although I have been privy to that degree of “no offence”), but more in the vein of: “No offence to people who like liver, but it’s seriously disgusting.” Aren’t I still being offensive? And do I really need to give offence of any kind, even to weird liver-lovers? No, Deb, I’m with you––I’m going to try not to "judge" or give "offence" anymore. 

Unless of course I’m being ironic.


  1. I try to judge,I really do but sometimes it just happens. I can't help it. Usually I am the one who starts off a sentence by saying " No offence,but". I try to watch what I say to people because I don't want to hurt anyone,so if I do have to tell someone something that might offend them then I always make sure that I say " No offence" that way I have let them know that I am about to say something that they might not like and too be ready for it. That way they can't say I didn't give them a heads up.

  2. Yeah no offense is a tough one. Because of course you are offending. But no offense can work in a lighter way. For example, I can say "oh I love Shirley Temple" and the person can say "no offense but I don't". Well to me, that's fair enough. You have the right to not like her and you were polite enough to say No offense. Sooo, "none taken!" And I"m not judging but YOU DON'T LIKE SHIRLEY TEMPLE ARE YOU CRAZY? :-)

  3. So funny. I never hear these two statements at all in LA. We judge and are judged, we take offense and are offensive.

  4. I rarely use the "no offense" and actually can't remember the last time I did.. The judging on the other hand, I am guilty of. Actually, I say, "Don't judge" a lot, which I think I picked up from a friend, as every time he said it I would reply, "I don't judge." Though, of course, I do.

    So, having admitted to the hypocrisy.. NO OFFENSE BUT.. I think everyone judges others, and it's not something we can fully avoid because our brains do it so automatically. I think the difference is whether or not we choose to ACT ON/Speak on our judgments and whether or not we continue to hold onto the judgments we have made.

    Proof of automatic judgment: I have tattoos and I have several more planned. I am forever trying to explain to people that I don't care if people judge me because of them, because they really have no reason to, and it's their own problem if they do. But then, about a year ago, I was at a conference and a few guys walked by (and maybe it was that they were a few years older than most of us -maybe mid20s instead of early20s) but they all had a large amount of tattoos, full sleeves, you know.. and I immediately thought, 'Oh, they must be in the band that's up next...' Oops. I just judged people for having tattoos.

    We're all guilty, but you know what... it's okay. Like Deb said, I'm not judging.

  5. "Judgie mcjudges alot!" This is where I fell off my chair laughing. It's funny--I was a sensitive only child, so I think I've been onto both of these forever, but I use them ironically in my writing to show somebody is a jerk (with the exaggerated following but with the sayer really NOT getting it). I do enjoy that ironic use of I'm not judging, but I really do try to only use it when it's an extreme case, and funny.

  6. Madge the LA comments were funny, and trust me, I've been exactly where you are! So as someone who lived in LA for three years, don't judge yourselves too harshly!! Kassy I sooooooooo get the tattoo judgment thing. Are we not over this yet? Tattoo's are everywhere But still, I see tats from head to toe...and I judge! Hart you seem to have your judgerson ways under control! Thanks.

  7. I have a tattoo as well and I am always getting judged by people. I even get judged by my friends which is kind of messed up in a way.

    I learned also that you can't judge a book by it's cover as well. I had a personal experence with this today as I went to work. At my place of work we have a new person that just started a couple of days ago. When I first met her I really did not like her at all. I honstly thought she was just weird. Yes I was Judging and really not know that I was doing it at the same time. Then today I worked with her again,and found out after I got to know her a little better that she is a really great person.

    I didn't think that I was judging till I thought more about this post today. Then I started to relize that I was judging. I wasn't giving her a change. I didn't get a change to know this person and I am mad at myself beacause I did judge her. It's funny how we do judge sometimes and not even know that we are doing it at times. Just thought I would share this cause this post really help me think today.

  8. Lydnsie you can't judge a book by it's cover so true. I HAVE ALWAYS wanted a tattoo but have never had the balls. I am in awe of all you tats gals!!

  9. Hey guys--
    In a freaky sort of way, have you noticed that, when you try to stop your automatic judgments of others, you then unconsciously turn it around and stop judging yourself? I've been trying to stop judging others for the last year or so and have noticed that I am kinder towards myself now. :)

  10. Sara, I have never thought of that. And now I will. I will stop judging myself. What a lovely gift you have given.

  11. Sara, I wholeheartedly second Deb's emotion. Brilliant. xo

  12. Barbara: Apparently there is a facebook page called - '"No offense" is just a way to say "I'm about to insult you, but don't get mad"' which makes me laugh whenever I see a friend like it - especially when it's friends that I know say it a lot

    Kassy and Lyndsie: I know what you two mean about the tatts. I got one last year and when I told people about it, I found their reaction quite surprising - like "why would YOU get a tattoo?" or "oh that's a shame" or that sort of thing but then when they'd see it they'd seem surprised and be like "oh it's actually really nice!" as if they expected I'd got a full arm flaming skull or something! (let's just say that's not really my style)

    Deb: You should! (get a tatt) go for it! :-) it's really not even close to as painful as people think, and most tattoo artists are really good about doing a tiny little dot or line or something first to check whether you can cope with the pain (which I personally found minimal). I daresay none of us will judge ;-)


  13. I've figured out a convenient way of judging while claiming to not judge. "I'm not judging but merely making an observation." ahem

  14. which could lead to "I don't care enough to judge, I'm just stating a fact." :-)

  15. Down here in the Bible Belt, we wouldn't know how to function if we weren't judging. At least there's a sweetness to it. The Southerners say "I love you but..." before launching into the judgmental litany. This may or may not end with "Bless your heart."

    Since I'm a transplant for the Midwest United States, I take a more passive aggressive approach. I judge, I just do it silently and then whack you with it three years later and out of the blue.

  16. Yes! I love making fun of catchphrases! And even judging them because they're lame. I'm totally ok with that judgment.

    Least favorite STILL: I just threw up in my mouth.
    And maybe: I would rather kill myself.

    Both not true. Yeah, I think you hit on something here. Catchphrases are all lies. Bla.


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