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I Won’t Judge You For That

Have you ever noticed that people like to feel all noble and awesome by telling the people whose choices or lifestyles they fundamentally disagree with, “I won’t judge you for that.”

Other similar statements also include, “I would never judge anybody who did that,” “it’s not my place to judge you for that,” or “I don’t judge anyone for that.”

I think I hear it most from Mormons, probably just because I live in Utah and am constantly surrounded by them. Oh, and because I do a lot of things that they fundamentally disagree with.

I drink sometimes. I don’t believe in the concept of “waiting till I’m married.” I swear for fun sometimes. And I have no trouble telling anyone any of this because I just don’t think it’s wrong.

And because of that, I hear that phrase more often than you’d imagine. “I’m not going to judge you for it!”

Ummm… thank you?

Let’s be real. That statement is just passive-aggressive judgment. It’s a statement that says, “dude, I think that’s wrong, and I am going to let you know without being the modern-day prude who can’t tolerate worldly shenanigans.”

I hear it about gays all the time. People say, “I don’t agree with it, but I’m not going to judge anyone for it.”

Don’t you really mean… “I don’t agree with it, I think it is wrong, I don’t want you to judge me for judging, so I’m going to tell you I don’t judge anyone for it.”

Errr, something like that anyway.

I mean, think about it. If you walked into the room and I told you, “I won’t judge you for wearing those pants,” am I really saying I won’t judge you? Or am I saying that I already judged you and your awesome pants?

There’s no way that I wouldn’t feel like a schmuck if I thought I looked super sexy and you told me out of the blue, “I won’t judge you for that haircut.”

If you’re going to judge, judge and take the heat for it. If you’re not going to judge, don’t judge and be okay with nobody ever noticing.

Just don’t judge me, then lie to me about it. Please.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

PS. Do you agree? Is saying you don’t judge what I say it really is? Passive aggressive judging?

131 comments
Ashley
Ashley

On behalf of all the ignorant sorts you've come across, (as I was once that sort) I apologize. The Mormon bubble is tough on everyone not pretending to be perfect.

SomebodyBond
SomebodyBond

For what it's worth, I've said that about drinking often - but that's because I choose not to drink for personal reasons, and often that gets mistaken as doing so for moral reasons and being judge-y to everyone else about it, and that's not what I'm doing. So I'll say that and legitimately mean it, but there's more context there.

AprylK
AprylK

While I agree with this wholeheartedly, I will admit that when I have used the phrase "I'm not judging you..." or "It is not my place to judge you for that" it has worked out a whole lot better than, "I disagree with what you just did. I think you made the wrong choice. Here's why...1,2,3... Can we still be friends?" (Yeah, that was a definite "Yes" to my face, but a "Hell No!" in reality)

Sometimes people just aren't ready for the truth, so prefacing a comment with "I'm not going to judge you," often softens the blow of an already uncomfortable conversation.

Hope that made sense, haha!

modernmom23
modernmom23

Tactful honesty.  It's something southern women are still taught and all people should practice.  If I want a lie about something, I will tell you before hand what precisely that lie is so no one has feel bad.

westybsa
westybsa

"I'm  not judging you............" Seems to me that is already a judgement b/c you are assuming the person is going to react negatively to what your going to say. How do you know if what you are going to say is going to be considered judging if you haven't even asked the question? How can you know what Im feeling?

Fairladi66
Fairladi66

This made me smile in a rather painful way.   This exact thing just happened to me a couple of weeks ago.  Someone, while standing self righteously in my face and telling me all the things that I had done wrong said "But I don't judge... you know I don't".   Really?  WOW!  That felt awfully judgy from where I am standing.   If you feel the  mneed to say you aren't judging the other person, I hate to tell you sweetheart but methinks you doth protest too much......    But who am I to judge.....  lol

laughingmom
laughingmom

This is one of those phrases that there's really no need to ever say.  Your body language will give you away one way or the other.  If you are openly loving and respectful, people will not wonder if you are judging them, and to volunteer this information points out that you think there is something in their behavior to be judged (perhaps by other less kind people than yourself).  Certainly you will hold yourself to certain standards that you may not expect others to follow, but what really is the purpose of pointing out your difference?  Unless you are asked, there is no reason to say "I would do that differently."  I might say jokingly "Ha!  I'm no one to judge, look at xyz in my life!"  Or if someone is expressing concern that I or others might pass judgement on their life choices, THEN I would say "Of course I don't judge you for that!" because they have effectively asked for that reassurance.  If I find myself in a conversation with someone whose level of judgement makes me uncomfortable, I might say something along the lines of "I can't judge someone for that because xyz" or "I can't judge other people's decisions based on beliefs that they don't share."  In that case I am probably judging their judgement, which is probably still rude, but we're none of us immune. The point is, people share their secrets with me because they know from my actions that I am not judging them, not because I tell them as much.

Stacy thats not my name
Stacy thats not my name

Love it. LOVE it. And this blog makes me misty. Only a bit. Because I'm manly...for a mother of three kids who's separated and feeling all torn and sad and guilty and free and scared and sad and lonely and sad. 

niteshaed
niteshaed

I agree that alot of people use those very words in that very way.I say instead that I will not condemn you for something.For instance a very special person in my life is gay and I tell her that I won't condemn her for it.I don't just mean now or this moment but ever.I truly won't condemn her.I love her to the point that we are engaged and I can't imagine anyoneI would rather be married to.I won't judge her, and I do love her.  But I am also outspoken about my beliefs and leave no room for debate in my beliefs.Its not passive aggressive in my case I simply won't condemn.

Kirriam
Kirriam

If anyone told me that, I think my first response would be to ask them not to use that word <judge>. I wonder how they'd explain their feelings if they were unable to use that word.

jmahon
jmahon

So if you think that is funny, just wait. I was born in very rural Eastern Oregon, the son of a logger. I was pouring beers for my dad's log truck drivers at a very early age. I wathched my mother share her perscriptions with the whole family, and I watched older syblings share everything else. It was the 70s, it felt like everyone was growing up like this. Any way after years of not finding love in the bar I began to date a mormon girl. I feel hook line and sinker for that whole not judge you line. I spent 11 years trying my bet to cope without my learned coping skills (self medicate) and feeling more and more guilty for all of the stuff i was not being judged for. I have now been divorced for 6 months and am just begining to be able to breath again. It is amazing what your mind will do and what you will put up with just to stay with your kids. Or at least I sure put myself thru the ringer.

SistahSarah
SistahSarah

Isn't it possible for someone to really NOT judge? I am a practicing member of the LDS church, and proudly so. However, one of my very best friends lives a very different lifestyle than I do. We get along fantastically, and I truly don't judge him based on our different lifestyle coices. He even introduces me to his friends and when they (often) pick up on my "mormon-ness," he says "don't worry guys, she's cool. No judging." There's a little primary song that I try to live by: "Jesus said love everyone, treat them kindly too. When your heart is filled with love, others will love you!" I believe that is true. I believe that it is truly not my place to judge. Live and let live. My friends and family are as diverse as they come. I love them all. I don't care what other people are getting up to. If you're happy, I'm happy. But I do think that it is just as bad for someone elseto make a snap judgement about  me because I say something like "It's not my place to judge".

CarolBall
CarolBall

So true!!!! I live in Utah county, where it is the worst! 

EmmaMyhrumMorgan
EmmaMyhrumMorgan

as a single mom laughing, i get it all the time.  seriously...the snarky statement then the followup "oh, but not you, of course. I don't judge."  I sigh inwardly, because truly, I don't think it's malicious...it's just the unconscious shooting off of the mouth.  yep, you judge. but then you remember you love me, and perhaps, I fall into that catagory you're spouting off about.  i think, truthfully, people just don't think.....

Sparrowchild
Sparrowchild

Depending on the person, it could be. When I say I don't agree with something but I'm not going to judge them for it, I'm saying I'm not going to hold it against them. That I'm fine with agreeing to disagree. So in my case, that is not what I'm implying at all. I'm honestly not judging them for whatever the issue might be. 

Photogeek
Photogeek

I agree with your statements to a point.  I am a vegan and because of that going out to eat with friends can sometimes cause this awkward moment when they order the "Surf and Turf" and suddenly look over at me like "Oh CRAP! "  but I really don't judge.  I made my choices for my own personal reasons and they make theirs.  Assuming that I am secretly judging would be wrong and yet... they can't help but feel judged as I innocently scarf down my veggie burger.  So, I will often say... I am not judging you.  I think the passive aggressiveness(es, es, es) comes into play more when they say "I am not judging you, I mean if you really knew what that was doing to your body you would be judging yourself... NOT that I think that way :)

CLJ
CLJ

It's the same with the phrase "no offense, but..." If you have to preface with that, then what follows probably is offensive and shouldn't be said anyway. I read somewhere that with an apology you should never say "but" because the "but" negates whatever came before it.

nicoleellens
nicoleellens

I think people say that they don't judge someone for something because they haven't the vocabulary to know how to deal with the situation. Mormons (in particular) have socially proclaimed moral standings, so in situations when someone is doing something that they know a Mormon deems immoral and knows that the Mormons sees it as such it creates an awkward situation. 

I think Mormons/people say that they don't judge to avoid more awkwardness.  It is meant to relieve potential tension. I also think that to say it is the same as randomly telling someone you don't judge them for their haircut or jeans not only make no sense, but isn't a relevant at all because it's RANDOM. I don't know of anyone who just randomly walks up to someone, completely out of context, and tells them that he or she wouldn't judge them for their behavior or lifestyle. 

I think to take anything offensively is a choice. But especially something meant to make peace. 

YouKnowMeAsTigerJenn
YouKnowMeAsTigerJenn

I disagree with this.  Don't judge me for it, though. :)  I can disagree with something, but have respect for someone who believes different, right?  So in me saying something along the lines of, "I won't judge you for that..." is simply my way of saying, "I don't agree, but love and respect you no matter what decision you make and vice-versa."  Is there a better way of saying it?  Maybe... but I don't feel I'm being passive-aggressive with such a comment.  :) Xoxo

AudreyPluasRich
AudreyPluasRich

PS Dont you love the SNOW!! It is so beautiful. I love looking out my window and seeing a blanket of fresh white snow on my house and in my world.  Driving down the street is like driving in a dream.  I Love It. =)  I had already met my bro in a parking lot of our kids preschool and had a snowball fight right there. Using cars for shields! Ya got to enjoy what you can. People looked at us as to say"grow up!" =)  oh well. Life can be fun if you let it right?? Hope you are enjoying it too. If not enjoy some hot chocolate. mmm! 

AudreyPluasRich
AudreyPluasRich

Your right, When that statement is said it is so completely obvious the judgement is already there. And they are just hiding it or trying to be nice about it. I live in Utah too and hear it all the time. I think in general mormons are just trying to be nice about it. but some times you can totally see the lack of acceptance in there eyes. Great people, bad habits i guess.

Sasch
Sasch

DAN!!!!!!!!!!!  Once again - SPOT ON!!  You are on fire, young man... on fire.  Pure unadulterated awesomesauce.

HannahJane
HannahJane

Haha, YES! I have to share this on Facebook.

crosini1
crosini1

Dan,

I won't judge you for this post... JK...  You are right on that, although I personally haven't heard someone tell me that in a long time it is true how we often throw stones and live in a glass house... But i think that phrase is bull, you're right, and that person is pretty much saying well what ever you're doing is wrong but i wont be the one to say that...  But i just did...   Ohh well... Know what i say...   " Good, don't judge me, and while your at it, you may wanna turn away b/c what im about to do next is worse..." haha i often find when i come across someone like that i just have to cross the line further...  Stir the pot..  

Well i agree but let them be those kinds of people never will change....  And if you don't like my comment, well tell me, but don't judge me for it! 

Keep blogging my single dad brother...

Chris R.

Lynngarf
Lynngarf

So what would be the least offensive/neutral thing to say when some one you truly care about has different values/lifestyle choices than you? I really am sincerely interested to know, as I have a few people in my life that I know and love, but who also make choices that I wouldn't make or that I don't understand. I want these friends and family members to know I love them and value them, if the topics were to come into conversation, no matter what our differences may be, even if I personally am uncomfortable or disagree with some of the choices they make.

Joanne Holloran Bamgbose
Joanne Holloran Bamgbose

PS...I don't like the new format of your blog I find it hard to read..not sure if anyone else does...but hey I won't judge you for it ;-)

Joanne Holloran Bamgbose
Joanne Holloran Bamgbose

I think it can at times be used in the wrong context. For example I may say I don't agree with XYZ and I won't judge you for it, what I am saying is that choice, decision, whatever is not what I would have done, did, or do and you are still my friend. I may disagree but love and support you anyway.

westybsa
westybsa

the "i won't judge you for that........" in reality seem to be the most judgmental people I know but...........mayb thats b/c ur heightened sense of awareness about judgements is active!!!!!!!

lovindmutts
lovindmutts

I just don't bother saying, "I won't judge".. more like I simply keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself... although when pressed/asked...

"I disagree, but it's your choice...""It's not my place to tell you're wrong/right/good/bad/smart/stupid (whatever word they used)- that's between you and whomever.""I would have done it differently."

sandeeNC
sandeeNC

Maybe in this day of "political correctness", we have become afraid of voicing our opinions anymore. Don't judge me....

sweetmeow
sweetmeow

Comments like this happen to me - and often by people quite close to me.  It's difficult to counter this with them because it appears that you are not believing the words that they say, and that really upsets people -- angers them -- because it says to them that you're questioning their honesty. I believe that on one level they feel they are not judging you, and that they "feel" honest.  But - IMO - judging a person is very insidious.  It's often done deep inside below the surface of consciousness.  It's often done when you least realize you're doing it.

brendagreen
brendagreen

Wait, are you judging me? Now I'm going to be all insecure all the time. Damn. Wait... am I going to be judged for that too? I need a drink.

als0106
als0106

I think you're kind of right.  There are some people who do that, but I don't think it's everyone.   I am a Christian and according to my beliefs, homosexual behavior is wrong. I do feel that is wrong, but I don't feel that I judge people badly for it.  I had an uncle that was gay.  He was my favorite person on the planet, and I was his.  I didn't "judge" him because he was gay.  I loved him.  I hate that his lifestyle made his life more difficult, but I fiercely, unconditionally loved him and he felt that from me.  He passed away from AIDS a few years ago.  I miss him and think about him every day.  I am so grateful for the years I had with him.  Maybe b/c of my experience I can disagree with someone and love them?  I don't know, but I am confident that I didn't sit back and act passive aggressively superior to him.  

thatprecariousgait
thatprecariousgait

I absolutely agree.  This falls squarely in the same category as people who used to try to conceal their latent homophobia by saying, "Some of my best friends are gay."  Really?  And do they know that you go around saying things like that?

Children are the best (only?) example of people who are absent judgment.  I remember my daughter describing a girl in her class one night at dinner.  Her father and I didn't know this girl and were trying to figure out which one she was in the class.  My daughter described every single characteristic of this girl, from her height to her clothes to her eye color to her shoes to her backpack... still, we had no idea.  Finally, she said that her friend had black skin.  Bingo!  She was the only black child in the class.....  How many adults would do that?  :-)

Stacy thats not my name
Stacy thats not my name

@niteshaed "For instance a very special person in my life is gay.....I love her to the point that we are engaged.....I won't judge her..."

Am I getting this right - You're a man, engaged to a woman, who's gay? I feel that many, many important details are missing in this post. But, peace to you.

Kirriam
Kirriam

Edi: The way I understand it, this post is aimed at the people who really are judging and still say they don't judge. 

I personally don't like smoking AT ALL. I have several friends who smoke and who have no intention of ever trying to quit. I've never said that I don't judge them. I think they're acting reckless and stupid. Still, I believe we all have the right to make our own mistakes. I don't have a problem with keeping them company when they smoke. Besides, they know how I feel and stand so I don't get the smoke in my face ;) 

Does this mean I'm judging or not? I'd say yes.

EP
EP

@SistahSarah  sounds like you're not coming out of the blue, as the article is depicting,  with "It's not my place to judge" but only when you feel YOU may be judged for your religion.  So all is cool.

laughingmom
laughingmom

@Lynngarf I find it best to listen with an open heart even when I don't agree, give genuine feedback if it is asked for, but always demonstrate my love through words and action.  Judgement can be seen in your body language and how you treat someone--you don't have to come out and say it.  Similarly, acceptance and unconditional love will also shine through.  It's one of those areas in which actions speak louder than words--you should never have to actually come out and say it.  People will know when you don't try to argue with them or convert them.  People will know when you validate their feelings and point of view, and when you show genuine interest.

MissMitchell
MissMitchell

@Lynngarf I tend to agree with meganjansen. My response is often, "Ok, that's your point of view. I disagree. Let's move on." I do try to have discussions with people, open, honest discussions where I present my side of the argument and try to see where they're coming from without trying to change their mind. 

meganjansen
meganjansen

@Lynngarf I think the best way to handle the situation would be to not bring the subjects up. However, if they do get brought up in conversation while you are around, I usually just stay a little quieter instead of having so much to say. Although, if someone asks your specific opinion, then you just say it. If they are important people in your life, they won't mind that you have a different opinion.You just say your opinion, explain it, and listen to what they have to say. No one in the conversation will even remember that you guys disagree because you're just discussing all the different views. Hope I was able to help at least a little.

westybsa
westybsa

@sandeeNC ur telling me............pc aka political correctness is soooo bad sometimes that u dont get anything DONE!!!!!!!!

sandeeNC
sandeeNC

Oh and in the south we just say "Bless your heart"....lol, which usually implies you don't know any better, but we love you anyway!

dolfineer11
dolfineer11

@als0106 kudos to you for your open-mindedness.  In reference to your belief that being Christian means you have to believe homosexual behavior is wrong, I would ask you to watch the following video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8JsRx2lois.  Phil Snyder is a Christian Preacher.  I hope that you will listen to the video, and read the following treatise about what the bible really says about homosexuality.  If you are as open-minded as you appear, this will really, really help you.https://www.facebook.com/notes/phil-snider/what-does-the-bible-really-say-about-homosexuality-part-i/10150967789578074

AbigailPockneyGorton
AbigailPockneyGorton

@als0106 Not to him. I assume you loved him before you knew what he was so your love trumped your prejudice. Pre jud ice. Pre judge ing. When one factor causes us to form an opinion before we know the full details about a person or a situation.

Woobie21
Woobie21

@thatprecariousgait I'd rather hear someone say, "Some of my best friends are gay" if it is, in fact, a true statement, than hear someone say, "Oh that?? That's so gay!"  The intent in that latter has no positive meaning.  Not sure how someone saying "Some of my best friends are gay" is necessarily concealing latent homophobia, but *shrug*.  I have friends of differing sexual preferences, cultures, and a ton of different walks of life.  But I don't sort them into neat little categories.  They're my friends.  Period.I do tend to agree with you on (young, at any rate) children being the best example of people who are without judgment.  Young kids don't generally differentiate themselves from other children (or even adults) based on color of skin, or care where someone was born/grew up, etc., unless they are taught that sort of behavior by their parents (either verbally taught or by how their parents act around others who are "different" from themselves).

dolfineer11
dolfineer11

@als0106 oh and BTW....please watch the WHOLE video.  Watch to the end...there's a twist, it really IS worth it!

westybsa
westybsa

@sandeeNC @MarkWest It can sometimes be slightly depressing especially when it prevents opportunities available for our young people!!!!!!!!!!!!