Combatting judgment with relationship building

Kelly Smith

Sometimes when I find myself meeting people, I am quick to make snap judgments about them. Then, I question why I’ve made those judgments. However, out of these moments come what I believe to be the best solution: getting to know the person.

I strongly believe that building a relationship with someone is the best way of eliminating judgmental thoughts and other misconceptions about a person. It’s also the best way of connecting with someone and seeing them as another person going through life in this crazy world.

I remember the different relationships I had with teachers back in high school. Some teachers and I bonded pretty well. Then there were teachers with whom I never had any real connection with. I was simply a face in their class and after the term ended, we would part ways and they wouldn’t remember me if I ever visited their classroom again. While there’s nothing really wrong with this, it probably won’t be a very enjoyable experience in the long run.

As a campus dining employee, I serve a lot of people every week. Although there are a large number of students on campus, the variety of different people that come to eat still amazes me sometimes. There are the people who know the menu like the back of their hand and the people who’ve never visited that particular restaurant before.

There are the people who greet you in a very enthusiastic matter and then there are the people who prefer to just order their food and move on. As the campus dining policy regulates, being welcoming and engaging to the customers is the best form of customer service that there is. But this policy doesn’t just give the customers a reason to come back, it also gives the employee the chance to keep their mind engaged in providing the best service they can.

How does any of this relate to avoiding judgment? Judgment can arise in very subtle ways. For instance, if you’re in a form of customer service, like campus dining, and someone you’re serving looks disinterested, it’s easy to assume that serving them will be a very dull experience. I’ve made that assumption several times only to discover that the customer is, in fact, quite open and chatty. What about someone who makes several mistakes in one day? Are they clumsy or just having a bad day?

If you find yourself judging people a lot, try getting to know them. It really is a great way to get rid of those judgmental urges that keep popping up. Plus, it helps to build strong connections between people who aren’t as different as they may seem.