Being Discerning versus Being Judgemental

Being Discerning

This is sort of a rambling post. I just read an excellent article on Psychology Today called “Don’t be Judgemental, Be Discerning“. I have always thought of myself as being a discerning person, not judgemental like some of you want to believe. Please read the article (if you dismiss Psychology Today as worthless because of the garbage posted by a former writer then you are actually being judgemental). The article describes being discerning,

To me, discernment is the ability to notice objective differences among stimuli (activities, people, objects, etc.) along relevant dimensions. So, for example, a discerning person will recognize differences in the musical ability of singers (e.g., William Hung Vs. Taylor Hicks), whereas a non-discerning person will not. Similarly, a discerning person will recognize objective differences in lengths of lines, ferociousness of animals, and quality of wines. …without the ability to discern, one wouldn’t be able to get through life. This is because the ability to discern is fundamental to making decisions, and decisions are what allow us to get through life…discerning differences among human beings is, if anything, even more important, since decisions involving humans-which person to assign to a project, or whom to invite to a party-arguably have the greatest impact on our well-being.

In contrast, being judgemental is described as,

A judgmental person is precisely the kind to go beyond discerning differences in people’s abilities to making inferences about their overall worthiness. To a judgmental person, a bad singer is inferior not just on the dimension of singing, but is inferior on the more fundamental dimension of being human as well.

Vetting Men

This brings me to the topic of vetting men before you become serious with them, from Google: Vet; (verb):

to make a careful and critical examination of (something). “proposals for vetting large takeover bids” synonyms: check, examine, scrutinize, investigate, inspect, look over, screen, assess, evaluate, appraise; informal check out


vet transitive verb : to investigate (someone) thoroughly to see if they should be approved or accepted for a job : to check (something) carefully to make sure it is acceptable

Vetting involves finding out information about a potential suitor and MAKING JUDGEMENTS. You make a judgement about whether he has the qualities you are looking for, whether he treats you well, whether you like him, whether he will make a good partner, whether there is a future for you, whether his flaws are so great that he would not be a good partner for you, etc. You may never know for sure if you are making the right choice but you make a decision anyway. An undiscerning woman would date any man who showed interest in her and she would not vet him. She would have no preferences and any man would be good enough. This woman may feel she is a good person for “not being judgemental” but all she did was not make any decisions or choices, sat back passively, and left everything to chance. In my opinion, that is not wise, I don’t want to do that, and I can’t believe that I’m writing this given how much Black women making bad choices in men has been discussed on BW blogs already!  While the likes of Steve Harvey and Tyler Perry are telling BW not to be discerning other men are ridiculing BW for dating thugs, criminals, players, and cheating men with multiple baby daddies! BW need to be more discerning, and if being judgemental helps, then I say be judgemental and get some sense!

I am more of a scientific person, and given all that I know about past behavior predicting future behaviour, traits and life experiences that tend to be correlated, people getting along better with similar people, etc. I can not and will not ignore all of that information so that every guy has a chance with me. I accept that I don’t have a chance with every guy because he may not like my age, weight, or that I believe in marriage or want kids. We just aren’t a good match. That’s life and no woman has to be open to dating all men, we can have preferences! If you have ever done online dating you may understand this example. On dating websites there are 1000’s of men to whom you can send messages. The choices seem endless. I like hair, so if a guy is bald I ask myself, “Do I want to deal with dating a guy who doesn’t have the hair I’m so attracted to?” I don’t label a man ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘worthy’ or ‘unworthy’ of me, I just think about whether the other things he has outweigh the fact that he doesn’t have hair. Sometimes the guy is ‘worth’ dealing with because he has everything else I’m looking for (by worth I mean worth sending a message, risking being rejected, and dating despite being less physically attracted not worth as a human being!!!). At this age I would take a bald guy, but I would not have at 22 because at 22 most men have hair. Other guys are bald, not physically attractive to me at all, and don’t have the things I’m looking for so I don’t message those ones.

You Can Only Have One. Would You Choose?


choice 1

Choice 1: Breathtakingly hot and sexy as hell, criminal record for theft and assault, can’t hold down a job, has 4 baby mamas, but really wants you (photo is of actor Jensen Ackles the most perfect looking man on earth and star of Supernatural. I hope you know the stuff I said above is all made up)


choice 3Choice 2: Cute but not for everyone, stable career, earns enough money but can’t have everything you want, sometimes boring, not the best kisser, really wants you (photo is of actor Wil Weaton who played Wesley Crusher on Start Trek The next Generation…I still think he’s adorable!)


Choice 3: Really unattractive, has enough money so you never have to work, will provide everything you could hope for your kids, can buy you anything you ever want, mean sometimes, really wants you (You know who this is)

These are judgements comparing the qualities of the men available on the site so I would prefer calling them “comparisons”. I compare the men, decide who I like more, and send messages to the ones I like the most. If the ones I like the most don’t reply, then I message guys who I like less but who are “good enough” for me.  For instance, Jensen Akles would be the guy of my dreams looks-wise, but Will Wheaton is good enough, I still think he’s darn cute and I would be happy with him. This is just about looks so far, but there are also careers, education levels, and other characteristics I prefer over others (e.g., non-smoking, single not separated or “it’s complicated”, lives in the same city, 30-45 etc.). This is making judgements but NOT being judgemental because I am not determining the men’s worth as individuals, just determining if I want to date them. I’m not the type of girl to waste the time of guys who I have no interest in just to see what happens. I suppose I could do more of that if I had the time, but I don’t like my time wasted and I don’t want to waste someone else’s time either. I just know myself and I know what I like. I’m not wishy-washy about what I want and what I like, so if I don’t like something I pass it by or say no. I don’t pretend to like it or put up with it just to be nice. Well actually, I do put up with it a lot of the time, but I KNOW I don’t like it.

You Think Those Who Have Overcome are Better Than Those Who Never Struggled

You’re not going to like this part but I want you to think about it. There is a phenomenon unique to this blog that I have also noticed on other Black blogs, in fact all over the place. For some reason people place those whoave struggled, had problems they overcame, or came from meager or troubled backgrounds above those who didn’t have the same experiences.  It’s as if people believe that a man who made many mistakes in the past but now realizes them has a better character than a man who never made those mistakes in the first place. Yes, the former man may have interesting and unique stories, but he is not better and does not necessarily have a “better character” when compared to the latter.  You may be endorsing that notion because you have struggled and want to believe that you are better than those who had it easy, I understand that. But why are you better and not just equal? Or maybe you greatly admire someone from meager beginnings and then developed a belief that meager beginnings create better people and those without power are better than those with power? It may even be a religious thing (i.e., the meek shall inherit the earth).

Having struggled doesn’t make you better than those who have things easy although it is a popular perhaps comforting notion that many people believe.  Some of you may be thinking ‘Of course, they have more character, they showed they are strong, they should be admired for surviving, it takes an above average person to survive what they have’. Sure, they can be admired, we can learn from them, but they are not BETTER than people who haven’t struggled. They may need extra care and help for sure, but they are not BETTER human beings. People who had it easy have their qualities and issues and people who struggled have their qualities and issues. I just never believed that suffering made you better, maybe it’s because I’m not religious, I don’t know.

P.S. I took a quiz on the “Are You Judgemental” quiz on the Psychologies site and apparently I have “an irrational fear of criticism” and “It seems that you aren’t comfortable at all with passing judgement on others. Quite the opposite: you avoid criticising at all costs because when you yourself are reprimanded over something, you feel it as deeply as if it were an assault on your psyche”. It also said I have a fear of getting in trouble. I believe it’s true, I’ve heard it before. My quiz results stated I tend to not criticize people in my daily life. Are you shocked? See you don’t know me and people react to me differently in real life compared to online and the conversations are much different and don’t always voice my opinions and ideas the way I do online.  The quiz probably isn’t scientific but either way, maybe you should take your own advice about not judging people. I DEFINITELY have preferences, likes and dislikes (including liking and disliking certain behaviors and attitudes). I DEFINITELY have ideas about what could improve the lives of BW. But having preferences, likes, dislikes, and ideas is NOT THE SAME as being judgemental!

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