I’m as guilty as anyone of making ill considered judgements about people. I tell myself its a human weakness, but that’s a cop out. The truth is I’m guilty of allowing fleeting impressions, assumptions and imagination to make up for the lack of evidence. Someone will say something, or do something, or even just appear to be a certain way that sits uncomfortably with my expectations, and without a thought to where they are coming from, or what pressure they may be under at that moment, I paint them into a corner. “That’s what you’re like, and that’s that.” And there goes any chance of getting to know that person.
There is a distinction between judging actions, and judging the person who performed them based on those actions. Therein lies the hypocrisy. From time to time we all behave in ways we subsequently regret. We have little trouble making light of our own shortcomings, so why is it that much more difficult to cut others the same slack?
We are most inclined to judge those about whom we know the least. When we truly love someone, not only do we admire and revere them, and delight in their company, but we also forgive them for their weaknesses, which we recognise as being not unlike our own.
As we get to know people better, we are less and less inclined to pass judgement, and eventually we are obliged to suspend judgement indefinitely.