Ghassan Mustafa

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Is it okay to judge people according to their physical Appearance ?

Many people judge others without knowing anything about them. They only judge them according to their physical Appearance . It's really wrong deed to do so. Let's get to know them in order to know who they are. We can not know anybody till we get to know them. We should interact with them. It's really a huge mistake to juge and gossip about them.
Do we choose to deal with people according to their physical Appearance ?.

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    Jun 28 2012: There is probably a reason in our evolutionary history why we use our eyes as one sense to evaluate whether another animal is a potential threat. For example, if a large someone comes running toward you looking angry and as if about to threaten your person with a large stick, are you going to judge the situation by its appearance and step aside, or will you ignore the visual cues and stand your ground without raising an arm to protect your face?
    I ask this only because the obvious cases of not assuming character traits from things like beauty (can't tell a book by its cover and all that) are so well accepted that there remains little to discuss of them maybe?
    Visual biases in general are likely to have some evolutionary history that makes such assessments often below consciousness.
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    Jul 15 2012: Thre's an important difference between the physical appearance we are born with, and physical appearance as an intentional refinement.

    I think people can manipulate their own physical appearance in certain ways to attract others of similar appearance - and therefore an assumption of similar personality and lifestyle. Projecting a particular look can act as a kind of 'filter' to narrow down a desired social group.

    I think we all make assumptions about what people are like from their appearance alone, and often that assumption is correct because those people actually desire us to think exactly that. Conforming to fashions, covering the body in tattoos, pumping up a muscular body, dressing up to look like an academic, etc are all unspoken messages projected outwards for to others to see, or internalised to establish self identity - or possibly both.

    Having said that, I have often found in the work I do, that there is a kind of dissonance in the personality behind the intended appearance. For instance, an aggressive exterior sometimes belies a vulnerable interior - the exterior says "keep away", yet the personality behind it is only too glad to have someone to talk to.

    In every case - bar none - it has always been worth trying to find and communicate with the person behind the external appearance, no matter how hard it seems.
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    Jul 15 2012: There is a famous saying ...." One must not care about comments made by people who don't know you because even a dog barks at someone it doesn't know "....

    So its simple .... judging people on the basis physical appearance is one of the most foolish things to do...
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      Jul 22 2012: Maybe ultimtaely the better question is whether you get enough information that way and I think the answer is NO!
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    Jul 12 2012: we don't have any right to judge people without knowing about them...
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      Jul 15 2012: you are right. We have to get to know them first before making judgements.
  • MR T

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    Jul 7 2012: I think you can tell a fair bit from a persons physical appearance...

    Their weight tells you how much or little they exercise,
    Their skin can tell you whether they smoke, travel a lot, or use sun-beds, or use fake tan
    Their eyes can tell you whether they are high and from their expression you can tell if they use a lot of hard drugs.
    Their hands can tell you if they work outdoors or if they get into fights.
    Their clothes and hair can tell you about the people they most commonly identify with, or by boldness how confident a person they are.

    The list goes on and on...
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      Jul 8 2012: In that sense you are right.
      But what if you saw a person who looks sad or let's say ugly. You might not talk with him/her. But that person could look the opposite deep inside him/herself. That ugly person may have more beautiful soul and purity. I had a friend who went through tough experiences and he looked sad for a long period of time. They though he does not like to talk to people. Also, they though that he's not a good guy to make friends with. They keep away from him. Is that fair??
      Thank you a lot.
      • MR T

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        Jul 8 2012: If I was looking for a partner I would probably avoid them if they were ugly, if I was looking for a friend then I would not. I believe this may be the problem, as people spend a lot of time looking for relationships. It isn't fair, life isn't but equality is a nice thing to aim for.
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      Jul 12 2012: MR T and Ghassan,
      I agree MR T that we can gain a lot of information by simply looking at a person, and that process does not have to be is simply gathering information. If we are looking for something/someone special, with certain attributes, then we may narrow our search, as you insightfully say MR T.

      Re: Your friend who looked sad and people thought he didn't want to talk...
      We all send out certain messages, with our energy, demeanor, the way we dress, speak, act, and react. At any given time we may draw people to us, or not. When one appears to look sad for a long period of time, it is probably because he IS sad, and continual sadness may not draw people to us. That is often when established friendships can be helpful to us.

      Personally, I like connecting with ALL people, and would not deny myself the opportunity to connect, based on what a person looks like. In fact, I perceive it to be a GREAT opportunity to connect with people who are different, because it offers more of an opportunity to learn something I may not have known prior to the interaction.

      When/if I genuinely feel like connecting, which is most of the time, I make eye contact with people and carry a smile. It seems like an open invitation for people to connect, which has worked well for me throughout my life, in various parts of our world, with many people of very different backgrounds:>)

      I agree Ghassan, that it is not beneficial to judge, and to get to know someone takes the willingness and intent of BOTH people. We cannot get to know someone who honestly does not want to share that part of her/himself with us.
  • Jul 7 2012: The debate around people being judgmental according to appearance is endless. I personally hear it over and over again, and not for vein; it's so clear to everyone that judging others by their appearance is wrong, yet, we keep do that. I'm asking myself why. Physical appearance has a big role in our life, and as much as we should strive to be open to people (in contrast to judgmental towards them), I believe that we have an important role by representing ourselves with dignity. Don't wear rags, walk barefoot and bent and expect people to show respect towards you. Doing so would be ludicrous and even irresponsible. It does not mean that one should follow any temporary change in the general fashion, rather, to show a respectful appearance of him/herself.
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      Jul 8 2012: Thank you Lia.
      We do judge people unconsciously according to their appearance. But we should bare in mind that our judgment might be wrong. I used to judge people unconsciously, but later on I found out that my judgment were wrong. I learned a lot from my experiences at school. Sometimes, I really find it harsh to judge people according to their appearance. I could judge someone and then it turns out that the person whom I judge is really good. Then I might like that person and after that I would make friends with him/her. I agree with you that physical appearance has a big role in our life.
      Thank you Lia for your wonderful comment.
      • Jul 8 2012: You are very welcome, Ghassan.

        I have to share; this topic makes me wonder often too. Few years ago I wrote down "Values which I want to implement in my life" and one of them is not judging people. This is an endless work. The interesting thing is that the more I work on myself not to judge people, the more I realize how judgmental I am. I'm "catching" myself judging people, for good or for bad, even in the most marginal situations of every day life.
        As long as it means that I always have something meaningful to work on, I am welcoming it.

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          Jul 9 2012: we all try to create our own philosophy in life in order to improve ourselves. Let's say that humans are paradoxical and we do things unconsciously even though we try to avoid those things.
          My greetings Lia :)
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    Jul 6 2012: You can judge their appearance by their appearance.

    Probably anything else needs more information.

    Good to be aware of how our intuitive or instinctual assumptions, the blink assessments, can be misleading.
  • Jul 5 2012: I've always thought it was wrong to judge a person based on their physical appearance, but the fact is.. I still do it. I honestly think everybody does it and that it is a natural thing. Nobody likes stereotypes, but they still exist. I believe it's okay to be cautious of someone based on their appearance and still act civilized. Of course you must get to know someone in order to understand who they are, and if they can prove your judgement wrong (or right), that's great. People can be very surprising. Gossiping, on the other hand, is for people who can't find anything interesting to talk about.
  • Jun 30 2012: Your question is in the form that expects a yes or no answer, but judging by appearance is about a process that occurs through time. When you first see a person, that person's physical appearance is all you have. So do you make a judgement at that time? Of course you do; you cannot avoid it. When you first see a person in uniform, it is a very different experience from seeing someone in a clown costume.

    Now suppose that the clown is running after the person in uniform. Context is everything.

    Now take the opposite extreme. When you meet a close friend, do you judge your friend by his appearance? No, you judge the state of your friend by his appearance.

    "Do we choose to deal with people according to their physical Appearance ?" We certainly do, and sometimes this is good and sometimes it is bad and often it is neither good nor bad. A major factor is the extent that the person has choice over his appearance; and, of course, the context.
  • Jul 24 2012: When we make judgements, we limit ourselves and our own behaviors. Not the other person's.
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    Jul 6 2012: If I were casting for a movie .. yes. If I required height say for basketball ... yes. So my immediate answer is that it would depend on if the physical attribute is important. If you are saying don't judge a book by its cover then you would be correct to await judgement.

    To the "X" generation looks and material possessions are high on the desirable list. Belonging to a gym and being fit for women and a great set of abs for guys rate a X gen thumbs up. Yep appearance is important to them.

    Gossip on the other hand ... to me ... is like a politicians spin doctor. Redirect attention to avoid being the focal point. This usually come from feeling of inadequacy, lack of confidence, or jealousy with the possibility of wanting to belong thrown in. This usually backfires over time.

    Judge not lest you be judged ..... good advice.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Jul 3 2012: Its okay to judge people on their physical appearance if they have a choice on what they look like. Everyone has a different preference in what they like in physical appearance. Some people like someone you might thing physically looks ugly. Judge people on physical appearances they choose to have, such as the clothes on their body or how fat they are. Bad clothes means bad taste. Fat means lack of self control to me. If they have poor clothes, big deal, I won't judge them for that. I won't even judge them if they didn't have the money or resources to fix their hair. If they choose to be fat though I will judge them. If they are muscular, this is a plus to me as it signals to me that they want to be influential in some way. This might not be true for everyone, but, the number one thing I judge people by is how they judge me and how much information they get about me or anything before they make a judgement. If someone judges me off little information, then I can expect them to make bad judgement all together. If someone judges me and has a lot of information about me, that person has my respects and I treat them as a fellow intellectual, even if we don't have the same method of interpreting the same information.
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    Jul 1 2012: Howdy if you have all the facts about the person not just apperance then you can form an oppion but your never in a position to judge.
  • Jun 30 2012: Is it wrong to gossip or be mean? Yes.

    Wrong to judge? Not necessarily.

    All animals judge each other. We judge each other when we are looking for potential mates, or assessing threats. Thats just the way it works.

    I might have wished that that super-model would've spent the time to get to know me better but …

    I don't worry about it. Her private judgements of me are none of my business.
    And, I would be wrong to demand that she change them.
  • Jun 29 2012: Even though it is not, in the fast paced world that we live in, it is necessary to come to judgements in the nick of time, which thus obliges us to do so. We do unfortunately continue to judge a book by its cover. Is it possible to not do so. And about the personality, what guarantee do we have that the person is not attempting to manipulate us or provide a falsified personality. What guarantee do we hold that even if we 'attempt' to get to know some one, we know them any better than we did before ?
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    Jun 29 2012: No, yet unfortunately more convenient to many
  • Jun 29 2012: Yes it is.
    Particularly if they are wrapped up in an American flag.
    • Jul 5 2012: There do seem to be a lot of extra flags getting flown these days - especialy by things-official! In that case, I'd say that the believers" were very sensitive to the tried-and-true methods of propaganda.
  • Jun 29 2012: Like it or not, we have instincts to judge people based on appearance. It is our higher brain that sorts it out after initial first impressions. Many more people are meeting online and getting to know each other before seeing each other for the first time. I think a super race of smart, ugly people will take over the earth within the next 50 years :)
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    Jun 29 2012: It's fine to judge according to physical appearance as long as you're good at it.
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    Jun 28 2012: Great question :) In my opinion,definitely not.We seem to be sticking labels to everyone,mostly according to their physical appearance and unfortunately by doing so we are losing the ability to actually 'see' the 'person' underneath those...
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      Jul 8 2012: yep. you are right. people could look different than their physical appearance. For example, someone could look mean but in fact he could be the most generous person in the world.