By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Is it fair to judge others by the way they look?
Repeatedly I hear and read that we shouldn’t judge people by the way they look. I know people say that because I have said that myself. But the truth is that most of the time, most of us do judge others by the way they look and there just might be evolutionary reasons why we should go on doing it.
Men and women with tattoos or piercings say it is not fair that they do not get jobs because of their body art. In the 1960’s we said that about beards and long hair. Still, people judged anyone who looked different then and now.
Women complain that we judge women by their bodies and not by what is in their heads. Still, we, men and women, spend a fortune on trying to look good to attract and impress the other sex.
When you wander through the jungle it is helpful to seek out other humans and avoid non-humans like bears or lions and tigers. It is not just humans that do this. Birds flock together by species, looking for a mate, looking for protection.
Consider these times when you might want to judge someone by their looks.
You go for a first appointment with your new doctor. The person at the front desk is sipping on their beer and looks like a homeless bag lady. What is happening here? You get into the exam room and the nurse who comes in to take your vitals is wearing some torn, bloodstained scrubs. When the doctor arrives he has on an old sleeveless tee-shirt and some cut-off shorts. He has grease all over his shirt and hands like maybe he was working on his car between patients.
So how comfortable are you feeling now? From the diplomas on the wall, this person went to a big name medical school. Still, his appearance is not too reassuring. Is it fair to judge him by his looks? Are you willing to risk your life and your medical care to someone who looks like a part-time doctor and a full-time auto mechanic?
Lots of clients tell me it is not fair that they get judged by the way you look. But if you want a job at that bank you might want to lose that “but-wiser” tee shirt and the sagging pants for the interview.
Psychological studies tell us that people tend to like others who are like themselves. This is not specifically related to race. It applies to a lot of other characteristics.
Say you walk into a bar and you are wearing your favorite team tee-shirt. Everyone else in the bar is wearing the shirts for the other team. How safe are you feeling now? Want to hang out and give them a chance? Maybe. But consider that humans, like most other animals, are constantly looking around to see how others look and how they behave. Then we either copy those others or we leave. Staying and not conforming risks being attacked, verbally, emotionally, or physically.
Consider another example.
You move into a new neighborhood. All the kids there seem to be wearing red shirts. You take your teen shopping and they insist on buying a blue shirt. They say they love Navy Blue. So you give in. Then the problems start.
Gangs use clothing styles and colors to identify who is “in” and who is “out.” I am not saying this is right, but do you want your child killed in a drive-by just because they insisted that they wanted to wear what they wanted to wear, and others should accept them.
I am not endorsing this judging behavior, just that there are a whole lot of situations where you can and should judge people by how they look and rest assured that others will judge you that way whether you like it or not.
So if you want to stay safe or get that job, consider that sometimes you need to conform if you want to get along. The older we get the less satisfying it is to say others should or should not do something. I can’t change other’s attitudes but I can put on a suit and tie before that job interview.
Sometimes how people look can tell you a lot about who they are on the inside and whether you want to be around them given the choice.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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