Social Anxiety and Judging Others

Last appointment with Dr T, as well as all that went on with my mother attending the appointment with me, we also talked about my social anxiety. One of the questions she asked me was regarding as to whether or not I find myself judging people. She explained that the reason she was asking is because sometimes people who have social anxiety are constantly judging who they meet. Therefore the conclusion is reached that people must be judging them as they do others and anxiety arises as a result. I told her I wasn’t sure. Since then, I’ve been mindful of whether I do this or not. The outcome is this- I’m ashamed to admit I’ve realized just what a judgmental person I am. It’s terrible. I will judge people on what they wear, how they behave, what they look like, their perceived level of intelligence… In fact, when I walked into my appointment with Dr T on that day, upon glancing at her particular choice of clothing, one of the first thoughts entering my head was, ‘What is she wearing?!’

What’s worse is that I’m not perfect, far from it in fact. So I really have no right to judge her, or him, or you, or anyone else I meet.

Of course, I’d never outwardly show or put a voice to these judgments. I’m too polite for that, and care far too much for others’ opinions of me. So if I was judging someone, they’d never have a clue.

I’ll hazard a guess that I’m not the only one who judges people, but like me, they also keep their judgements to themselves. So how do I know what level of judgement is considered normal, and what is excessive? And is judging people really a characteristic of having social anxiety?

When I look at my father and aunt as an example, they are far more judgmental than me. My aunt especially. Some of the comments she makes are outrageous. I’d give you an example, but I’m afraid I may indirectly insult someone as a result. I mean, her comments aren’t directed at me, and even I feel offended by some of what she says.

I’m not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, someone qualified to make a diagnosis, but I’d say that both my father and aunt most likely do not struggle with social anxiety. Unlike me, they have no qualms about making phone calls, approaching people, asking others for assistance, just to name a few.

So is there really a correlation between judging others and being socially anxious? When I look at myself, I may think, ‘Yes’. When I look at the examples of my father and aunt however, I think, ‘No’. So maybe that proves that after all, everyone makes judgements on others, it’s human nature. And it isn’t necessarily solely a characteristic of social anxiety.

9 thoughts on “Social Anxiety and Judging Others

  1. Everyone judges people. It is human nature. We all look at people and make judgements based on our first impressions of what they look like, and what they say. It is built into the way we function as human to make judgements like that. I was reading an article last week about how people decide who to ask directions from, and it was talking about how we make first impressions on things like that based on who looks safe etc. I have never heard of a link between social anxiety and judging others – I can see the logic behind it I suppose, but judging people is such an integral part of human nature – everyone does it whether they admit it or not.

  2. Hey. Social anxiety is really just excessive fear from being criticized or judged negatively by others in social situations, in my experience at least. I actually just wrote a post on how I experience perfectionism and judging and how that’s tied into how I experience social anxiety on my blog. Anyway, like shyness and introversion and behavioral inhibitions etc., judging is definitely tied into social anxiety, but it’s not the only thing. In other words, just because you are judgmental doesn’t mean you also have social anxiety. It’s a correlation, not a causation.

  3. Wow. A lot of what you said could have been taken directly out of my mouth. All of my past and present therapists have asked if I judge others the way that I perceive others judge me and I have to say yes (although I think I am nicer to others than I believe others are to me). But I think humans are designed to make judgments. And the reason we make judgments is part cultural, part biological. So try not to beat yourself up. You are certainly not alone in your feelings.

    Wishing you well,

    • I agree with this: “I think humans are designed to make judgments.” They’re sort of like labels–they are just shortcuts. We can’t always go through our days seeing things the way they really are. It’s too hard and takes entirely too much time. So we use shortcuts like labels, names, and judgments to make sense of what we see.

  4. I have actually been thinking about this very same thing recently. And trying to convince myself that people aren’t necessarily judging me the way I judge everyone else. But my mind always runs back around to my family. My whole reason for my judgmental behavior, and believing everyone will be judging me. My family is extremely judgmental. Always have been. If you weren’t perfect in every way, they were sure to point it out. And of course, no one can be perfect. There will always be something wrong with you. So my life has been one of all my flaws, and none of my attributes.

    Sad, isn’t it?

  5. Yeah I totally agree with you. I figure I constantly judge others so I must be treating myself the same way. No wonder I’m so anxious.

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