What is something for which you feel unfairly judged?
We've all felt it: the idea that something about us or something we're into is subject to unnecessary, invasive, or hurtful scrutiny or skepticism from others. Sometimes it's something small ("You like licorice? Really?!"), and sometimes it's something big ("You don't want to have kids? Really?!"), and each of us likely has faced both within our lives. I'm interested to know what other people's experiences are with this.
- What do you feel unfairly judged for?
- What, in particular, makes it so unfair?
- How do you handle it when you encounter it?
- Do you find yourself changing your behavior or pressured into dishonesty in order to avoid encountering the judgment in the first place?
- Why do you feel this sentiment exists in others and is widespread/shared?
Also, it probably goes without saying, but on a post centered primarily on people's feelings and experiences, potentially very difficult ones, it's probably best to do more listening, empathizing, and asking than explaining or rationalizing.
This ought to be trivial, but it's actually been a serious source of personal and professional alienation.
I don't care for, or about, the vast majority of competitive sports. Leaving aside any judgments about whether sports are ethical, socially sound, or otherwise good/bad, I'm just not interested. [I could get dangerously fascinated, e.g. OCD-levels, with sports statistics, but that's a different thing altogether.]
Nobody judges a general disinterest in, say, macrame' or industrial design, but sports are sacred tribal bonding, and open for public discussion in ways that politics and religion are not.
You'd think I'd announced I eat babies if I say this out loud. I'm not launching into a "sports are bad" diatribe, usually I'll say something like, "I don't follow sport x, but please go on...", and I still receive the stink-eye. So much of daily safe conversation, particularly among males, consists of "Did you see the game?", "What do you think of athlete X?", etc. It's expected, when asked where I went to college, that I'll also immediately pronounce my fetishistic loyalty for that school's football team.
How do you handle it when you encounter it? Not well, apparently? I can play dumb female and nod and smile a lot while sports are discussed, but it's hard to avoid showing signs of impatience or boredom eventually. I've begged off plenty of business lunches and dinners at sports bars.
Do you find yourself changing your behavior or pressured into dishonesty in order to avoid encountering the judgment in the first place? I feel pressured, but I'll often stubbornly refuse to do anything about it. If there's some unavoidable sports news about a major competition - the Superbowl in football, World Series of baseball, etc., I may read just enough to manage a minute of gab because the guys (and most of the women) won't be talking about anything else all day.
Why do you feel this sentiment exists in others and is widespread/shared? In the U.S., at least, most people have been dragged through public school sports and at least have shared familiarity with the games. We're implicitly told, "This is important enough to use the same amount of time as English or Physics." There's an enormous amount of media devoted to these modern Roman Circus games. The state of being a sports fan conveys vicarious satisfaction and excitement for people whose lives just aren't that interesting or fulfilling, I guess? That's pretty judgmental, but I've been acquainted with a few people who actually played in competitive sports. Their reasons for the interest are so vastly different than for sports spectators - I completely understand their joy and freedom of physical engagement.
There's a great quote here that encapsulates much of what really turns me off about sports:
Why do sports have to be the go-to topic for office small talk? In my last two job interviews they tried to talk to me about sport and I just had no idea what they were talking about.
It's not politics or religion, so it's safe? I worked most closely with a team that was spread across the Continental U.S. and Puerto Rico, so there was a certain amount of joking around about people's home team loyalties, commiseration when one person's favorite team lost, and occasional tribal splits between the largest regional offices in Texas and Florida. It was just an artificial bonding exercise in the same vein that Kurt Vonnegut discussed in Wampeters, Foma, and Granfalloons.
I can see sports disinterest being a huge cause of denials in job interviews as you're not a good "team fit".
***My go-to "safe" office conversation topic is food. You'd think that would assure social acceptability and conversation material for aeons, but it's just not compelling enough in comparison to the weekend gladiator events, or kids (which, TBH, I'm not very interested in either).
I can second this. I'm uncomfortable in mostly/all male spaces for a number of reasons--one of which is the expectation that I'll talk sports with the group and another of which is the subsequent judgment I'll receive when I can't/won't.
It's especially frustrating because I'm gay, so being "one of the guys" is already a rarity, and my lack of interest in sports always gets explained away as a product of my orientation. In reality, I knew I hated sports way before I knew I was gay. The two are completely unrelated.
This is a really tough judgement for myself to get over and can say I'm terribly guitly of it. I think the way present ourselves, especially in our mannerisms and speech, provide short cuts for inferring background and tastes. And with how people like to associate or at least build rapport for like-minded people, it's absolutely way too easy to just cast someone aside.
The mere presence or lack of presence of certain words and phrasing immediately signal the investment that say someone put into their lives up to a certain point. Of course, having systemic disadvantages that prevented this type of intellectual investment is what people don't necessarily empathize with and is what needs work.
All I can say is that it's an uphill battle, and good luck on developing on the journey of life.
Your comment immediately reminded me of John Oliver's segment on bias in medicine. I was ignorant that this was even going on.
My job could be classified under "mysticism". I hate when it comes up in conversation, "What do you do?" I cringe. Sometimes I go straight in for it. And I'd say a good 50% straight away react poorly. Confused, quiet, shifting awkwardly. It's basically a conversation-ender. About 25% react severely, leaping instantly into name-calling, assumptions, and insinuations, even if they just met me. The other 25% react with surprise and interest and the topic monopolizes the remainder of the conversation. I'm not a big fan of any one of those reactions and so to this day, after 20 years, I still sometimes lie when asked about what I do. "Grahic designer" is a nice way to defuse the topic and move along. I'm actually a psychic medium. My story is long and my experiences are many. Just wanted to write to let you know that there's other people living in this world who have had mystical experiences. Alas, it cannot be told or explained properly to anyone. The only people who could even begin to understand are those who have also had their own first-hand experiences. Minus that, and the reactions to your story will likely always be less than satisfying.
I'm tall and a fairly big build (not ripped or anything).
People judge that I'm a physical threat to them.
People eye me warily as we pass on the street.
I just internalise the disappointment and move on.
I naturally tend to try to make myself 'small' by my posture and general way I move.
My answer to this question is being short, so I feel ya. I'd rather be tall than short though based on how society treats shorter people
Reminds me of the Roger Miller song Where Have All The Average People Gone
Any time I tell someone I don't want kids, the conversation always lead to them saying I'll change my mind.
It makes me feel like I'm being treated like an idiot, like I haven't put thought into it. They always seem to act like they did their research and put hours into deciding that they want kids, but almost everyone I've talked have never considered not having kids. Why do they assume I haven't considered the decision, when they are who are just inheriting conventional wisdom.
I explain my decision to them. That I don't think the world right now is a good place to raise kids, that I won't be prepared, and the plain old fact that I just don't want children. I don't want a legacy. Nor do I particularly like children. After a few rounds of this, I just change the subject if we haven't moved on already.
I usually have to hold my tongue about calling them out on the fact that they haven't put much thought into the decision. I want to also call them out on how they are treating my decision as something stupid but I don't want to escalate the situation. I usually also put more focus on the more "accepted" reasons for not having a kid (the future might be bad, I don't think I would be ready) even though those reasons aren't as important to me as much as the fact that I don't really like children.
Having/not having kids is obviously a big decision, and there's a lot of reasons to have them. I understand most people feel some sort of primal desire to do so. But I don't. I can also see why people might think of my decision as naive, since I am in my early 20s. The problem is that they only seem to focus on my age rather than my arguments. I know a lot of people misunderstand what desires they will have in the future, but I really don't like being around children, and really dislike the idea of raising one of my own.
I’m frequently misjudged because somehow speaking logically and candidly, in a polite and respectful fashion, is equivalent to being disrespectful to people’s feelings 100% of the time.
I’m also misjudged because apparently I’m not emotional enough. I don’t judge emotional people. I’m just not like that.
Also: “you’re always right”. I’m sorry if reading about logic on Wikipedia made my reasoning a bit stronger. If that bother you so much, just do the same. You don’t get mad at runners for being faster than you, right? You just start running
I know this is not quite the right thread for it but I can't help but reply: I think it's a mistake to equate "polite" speaking with being respectful towards people's feelings. One can say incredibly hurtful things and make it sound very polite.
You're entirely right, of course. In response, I'd like to add that, in addition to being polite and respectful, I also try to be considerate of other people's feelings in a more subjective fashion. I'm not perfect, though, and it is entirely possible that I get it wrong in many occasions. But I'm very confident that this is not the majority of the cases.
Being quiet/untalkative. So many people just assume I'm boring/lazy/dumb just because I dont't feel compelled to be the center of attention 24/7.
Well, if you don't talk you are boring to people (being boring isn't something you can do alone), I know because I'm also like that. But yeah it doesn't mean you can't be not boring in some other situations.