I think the most important trait a person has to have in order to remain my friend is the ability to not be judgmental. I’ve had a lot of friends through the years who have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another, but I think it can all be summed up neatly as, “I can’t take your judgmental personality any longer, sweetheart!”
Most of my childhood friends I no longer associate with. Considering we grew up in an extreme Right Wing Fundamentalist cult, being judgmental was something that was a necessity in life. However, as an adult, I no longer tolerate that. I’ve had arguments and fights with them at various times because they fell back into that mindset of judging people without giving thought to their circumstances, and it irks the living hell out of me. The fastest way to get under my skin is to make a bigoted statement regarding a person or group of people who relies heavily on your religious teachings or upbringing.
I’ve calmed down a little and learned how to voice my displeasure and concerns privately, but I’m not scared to call people out on their shit publicly if they feel so inclined as to ignore me. I cannot stand seeing people openly voice hate for others when they should be showing them grace and compassion. Just because you were raised with a certain set of “values” and “standards” does not mean you aren’t capable of changing as an adult and learning from your mistakes. To treat people as lesser beings because of who they are or their set of unique circumstances is to show you have no independent thought and merely parrot what you are told to say.
I was friends with a girl who grew up well off, but through a set of circumstances of her own choosing, was having a difficult time with her life. I didn’t judge her. Who am I to do so? But, she would always talk shit about people like me in front of me and even tried using generalizations to lump me into a larger group of people she thought she was better than. I got tired of it. She really wasn’t in any better position than I was, but yet she had her rose-colored glasses on and thought she had it peachy and what she was judging others for doing didn’t apply to her because she was entitled to it. I eventually told her where to shove her opinions.
Another woman thought that she could tell me how to act at all times on my own social media profiles. She didn’t approve of me liking certain people or things that were said, and even went so far as to tell me, on one occasion, that I wasn’t allowed to hit the like button on comments on a particular thread because it creeped her out. I tried to be very mature about the whole situation, but after a while I got tired of her constant harassment and removed her from my friends lists. I don’t have time to wonder if people are going to approve of every single action I take online.
A childhood friend of mine and I had a falling out because she still seems to believe everything she was spoon fed as a child. She will parrot it back constantly, and when I debunk it with proof from such places as Snopes, she gets righteously indignant. One of my hugest pet peeves is the “Welfare Queen” mantra that gets thrown around constantly by the Right in this country, and every time I see a friend fall back on a “Welfare Queen” argument, I feel like screaming and throwing my electronics against the wall. I have no time for people who want to blame those who do not have it as good as they do for somehow causing their circumstances.
My mother and I have had several arguments because she is so quick to judge others, and when I try to point out the reasons why they may be that way or that may have led to their situation becoming the way it is, she falls back on her religion to spout how her god will rain holy terror down on their heads for it. This makes me want to pull my hair out!
So, for me, a good “friendship litmus test” question would be, “Can you avoid being judgmental and just accept people for who they are?”
I’ve also gained many new friends by applying this simple test to people, and these friends are ten times better than the ones I lost, because I know that no matter what I go through or what choices I make in life, they will be there to lend me an ear or shoulder to cry on and a hand to help me pick myself back up again. Judgmental friends don’t do that. They’ll look you in your face and say, “Tough shit! That was your own stupid choice and you have to deal with the consequences on your own!” Who wants friends like that?
This post is in response to the Daily Prompt.