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.