Judgment – the Death Knell of Possibilities

Decisions, decisions. We make them every day. Sometimes though, we can be too quick to judge, and the results can be as surprising as they are unsatisfactory.

Judgment - the Death Knell of PossibilitiesKathy is a 52-year-old, divorced single mother of a 10-year-old daughter. She has two advanced degrees and a supervisory level position in a government agency. I introduced her to Adam, 48, who’d never been married. Adam was open to dating a woman a few years older, and to embracing a child in his life, if things were to work out between them.

Adam came to their first date with an open mind, but encountered significant skepticism from Kathy. She queried him relentlessly on why he’d never been married, implying a character defect on his part. She also made an issue of the fact that he lived in the distant suburbs, as if that represented a lack of sophistication on his part, and something that would be logistically challenging for her, if they were to date.

I had discussed all of these issues with her before I introduced them, and Kathy had agreed to meet Adam, despite her concerns. Yet, on their date, she couldn’t put those concerns aside. She repeatedly put him on the defensive about his life choices, to the degree that Adam decided not to go out with Kathy again.

Kathy found Adam attractive, and would have welcomed a chance to see him again. She was quite surprised when I explained Adam’s position to her. Kathy didn’t realize that by implicitly judging him for never having been married and for being less than ‘cosmopolitan’, she sabotaged any chance of success with him.

Adam was put off by what he perceived as Kathy’s air of superiority. Kathy received a sobering lesson in humility after this rejection. We took some time to discuss and process what happened, as I do with every date I facilitate. Kathy came to understand that curiosity and interest in the person you’re on a date with is a more attractive way to present yourself.

This happens to lots of people: their judgment overrides the curiosity and compassion that can enrich a conversation on a date. Attraction and romantic interest can only grow from acceptance and a feeling of safety that comes as we’re getting to know each other. Thinking that one is better than the other person has the opposite effect, and is counterproductive in dating.

Think of the many visceral judgments which we make every day. How many times have we unknowingly driven otherwise desirable people away? It may be too late for Kathy and Adam, but their example can inspire others to be more sensitive and respectful of the differences that always come up in dating. Properly reframed, these differences can be the ‘spice’ that invigorates a new relationship instead of a gap that may be too wide to bridge.

Think about your own experience. Has your judgment stood between you and your happiness?

If you’d like to learn more about how to cultivate curiosity and have better dates, contact me to set up a time to talk.

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