#224: Judging Others

Monday, February 08, 2010

"Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are - or, as we are conditioned to see it." Stephen Covey

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While I waited in a lab today to have a blood sample drawn, I watched the other people in the room and thought of how easy it would be to draw inferences about them from the way they were dressed, the way they talked and the way they treated others also waiting.

It would have been easy to presume that the guy dressed in a tattered t-shirt and jeans and wearing tennis shoes with holes in the sides was a poor drug addict and the man in a nice Polo shirt, slacks and dress shoes was an upper income executive.

But, as I learned a long time ago, first impressions are often incorrect and misleading.

As I talked with the possible druggie in for his drug screen test, I discovered that he ran a successful lawn service, a company whose name I was familiar with. He explained that he was overhauling some of the firm's equipment and forgot his quarterly blood test, to check cholesterol and other levels, the same as mine. He had rushed to the lab before he ate a late breakfast because he had to fast for the tests. Thus the way he was dressed. He was polite and enthusiastic when he talked about his company.

I didn't speak with the man in the nice clothes but from his rudeness in making cell phone calls in the small waiting room and his tone on the phone, I did not want to speak with him. His attitude was one of arrogance and elitism and he seemed to want everyone waiting to know that he was so busy his calls couldn't wait. Nor did he deem it polite to step outside to use the phone.

Two other men could easily have been pictured simply as retirees but one elderly man was a WWII vet while another volunteered several days a week at his church's food pantry, registering those in need and helping distribute supplies.

Then there was the daughter with her elderly mother who seemed not to understand where she was or why she was there. I could only imagine the stories this lady could tell of growing up if she had been able.

As in any collection of people, there will be those who are courteous and polite, those who are not what they seem, those who seek to show off their self-imposed importance and those who are genuine, down to earth friendly people.

Yes, it would have been easy to draw inferences, but I've discovered that it is much more pleasant to actually try to get to know a bit about the person and not to make rash judgments.

Isn't this a lesson for us all?

What's the old saying, "Never judge a book by its cover?"
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I couldn't agree with you more.... you can't judge a book by its cover. I think about how I am judged when people first meet me because I am overweight.

    It is sad that we are in a society that a lot of people do judge by appearances.

    Thanks for sharing about your experience. You always share something that always makes me stop and think for a minute about your message and how I can relate it to my own life.
    4083 days ago
    VERY true. People assume quiet people like me are stuck up or rude, but there are always nice people who give us a chance. They are the ones worth our time.
    4083 days ago
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    Thanks for the reminder. You would think I wouldn't need a reminder because, many times people have thought me a snob because I am quiet and observant... before you get to know me !
    It's so true about the "beautiful" people. My best friend is the most beautiful person in the world to me because of his wonderful, golden heart.
    4083 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/9/2010 5:40:03 PM
    Good word bro.
    4083 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3872418
    That is so true, and definitely something to keep in mind! Thanks for the reminder!

    4083 days ago
    Your blog made me think of a Jazz song I heard once that went something like this; You can't judge a book by looking at the cover, you can't judge a Son by looking at his Father , you can't judge a Father by looking at his Son and you can't judge a Daughter by looking at her Mother or you can't judge a Mother by looking at her Daughter etc. So true!
    4084 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/8/2010 9:51:27 PM
    Very good lessons indeed. Ever insightful. Thank you for sharing these thoughts that challenge me to be ever prayerful, seeking to view others as God views them.
    4084 days ago
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    I have a 19 year old son who, for many years has worn his curly hair long and he is not great with keeping it brushed... there have been times where I don't think he would have been able to get a brush through it. He was in highs school and he didn't have a job where his appearance was an issue. Many times I would have people tell me that I should make him cut his hair. My son doesn't drink, doesn't do drugs, never skipped school, does what I tell him and is respectful when speaking to adults. As I would drop him off at school and drive off and see the "clean cut" kids passing the cigarette and/or joints back and forth I was very grateful for my son whose biggest issue was that he had long hair... I'll take the long hair over the drugs, alcohol, drinking etc every time!
    4084 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4114015
    I agree. I have been fooled many times. Another thing that always amazed me was how you can meet a "beautiful" (on the outside) person and a "not so beautiful" person but after knowing them for long enough to really know them...suddenly the "beautiful" person is not so beautiful and the "not so beautiful" one actually has morphed into a beautiful butterfly...and it was all because of their personalities! You certainly CAN'T judge a book by its cover!
    4084 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2833646
    This is true. Thank you for reminding me.
    4084 days ago
    Well said, Lou! We've learned that in the library with student workers, too. The ones we were "leery" about when hired have turned out to be our very best student workers. Some of them "looked the part", but didn't pan out! Sometimes, you just don't know what's inside that cover until you open the book! Great blog!

    Your friend, Lori
    4084 days ago
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