General Question

deaddolly's avatar

Do you tend to judge ppl by appearances?

Asked by deaddolly (3406points) September 30th, 2008

I’m curious to see if ppl are changing the way they juge ppl. Please list your age range with your answer.
I try not to judge anyone because I get judged all the time by the way I look. I’ve had ppl tell me I looked mean, that I looked like a Nazi – you name it. I’m in the 45–55 range, have black hair (ala Betty Page but shorter), have a pierced eyebrow, tattoos and dress in jeans and t-shirts. How do you view the ppl you meet?

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63 Answers

JackAdams's avatar


DrasticDreamer's avatar

Usually never. Unless, however, they look like a crackhead who still obviously uses. Because let’s face it, they’re extremely obvious.

Other than that, absolutely not. I love the differences in people. Variety is what makes life interesting.

I’ve made it a point not to mention my age on this site, up until now. But I suppose because I chose to answer the question, I should answer it in full. I’m 23.

Randy's avatar

I judge people by the way they look, but I get mad when people do it to me. I know, it’s messed up. I’m 21.

shadling21's avatar

I try to throw away any assumptions that form based on appearances. The unfortunate thing is, sometimes you need to form those assumptions for your own safety.

The one thing I refuse to do is to assume things about a person’s morality or intelligence. I hate it when people assume that I’m dumb because I’m a girl and I’m young. (Twenty-year-old female here)

poofandmook's avatar

I’m 25, and whether you do it consciously or not, most people do judge on appearances at first.

Nimis's avatar

I do. But it’s a working theory, rather than anything set in stone.
And usually not based on anything so trivial as clothing.

deaddolly's avatar

Interesting. I do it sub-conciously as well, tho I try to stop myself.
I’m hoping the younger generation won’t. We’ll see a more ppl reply.

Nimis's avatar

Also, would you clump superficial mannerisms under appearances?

deaddolly's avatar

@nimis…I guess so. Like if a male was acting very female or vise versa?

Nimis's avatar

More like the little ways in which they carry themselves?

Judi's avatar

It depends on the circumstances. If I am hiring someone appearance means a lot. (I think I’m your age dolly.) Also, If I am spending a lot of money, I usually make a decision about the person I am buying from’s judgement by the way they choose to present themselves. I know I’ll probably get beat up here, but I am asuming you want an honest answer.
In resturaunts I usually don’t care as long as the server is clean. I used to care more, but I am loosening up and gettting over it.

deaddolly's avatar

@nimis…yes, exactly.

Judi's avatar

I lost a lot of weight. I know that people have a whole different impression of me thin than thick, and they have a whole diferent impression of MY HUSBAND when I’m thin.

Nimis's avatar

Actually, I take that back.
I do judge people based on trivial things like clothing.
Just probably not the way that you expect.

For instance, with a lot of goth kids
(and I differentiate between real goth kids and Hot Topic kids)
I don’t think they’re scary or mean.
Rather, I think they are emotionally fragile kids
that have grown accustomed to using their appearance
as a way of weeding out those that judge them and those that won’t.

I see those little Hot Topic kids and I see kids who feel the need to put up a front.
A kind of fuck you to the mainstream. But are too young and naive to see
they are buying an image created by a large company that makes money off
of their adolescent angst…and is really just the flip side of Abercrombie & Fitch.

marinelife's avatar

I do, partially. Actually, everyone does. It is also unlikely to go away (although what judgments are formed based on which appearance evolves all the time), because it is part of our biological programming.

The reason I say partially is that our minds constantly try to classify what we experience with our senses into patterns—that includes other people.

If you just see someone on the street, you don’t really have anything else. My “internal protrait”, if you will, of the person begins to be modified as soon as they speak.

There is not one of us a one of us who has not experienced the beautiful, upscale man or woman who was a total s**t or the sloppy, unprepossessing person who turned out to be a genius, a gem of an employee or the kindest person we ever met.

Then I have my own personal quirks and preferences. I find it hard to form a deep bond with anyone who has no sense of humor.

It took years for me to warm up to the wife of a good friend, because she absolutely has no sense of humor. Quips, witticisms, double entendres all have to be explained to her. Mind you, she is in no way dumb—she is very intelligent, an R.N., a community leader, very attractive. Since we interacted often—even vacationing together, because the friendship was so close, I came to appreciate her other qualities and like her very much now, but that has not changed my judgments about people with no sense of humor in general.

I find it almost impossible to respect someone that I know in a work setting, no matter how attractive or funny or charming, if they do not have a good work ethic.

Appearances mean nothing to me after any length of acquaintance

girlofscience's avatar

I think anyone who thinks they don’t judge people by appearances is kidding themselves.

Appearance says a lot, whatever way you want to look at it.

The “superficial” make judgments about the attractiveness of individuals.
The “professional” make judgments about the presentation of individuals.
The “anti-superficial” make judgments about the amount of time individuals put into their appearance (looking down upon those who “try too hard”).

A person’s appearance says at least something about his or her personality, and I don’t think there’s any reason to ignore this aspect when evaluating a person, however it is you’d like you evaluate him or her.

As for you, deaddolly, I certainly think that people make judgments about the originality of a person’s appearance (is this a person that prefers to follow the trends or go against the beaten path?).

As for my age, I am 22.

glitterrrrfish's avatar

I’m deff open minded, but first impressions are everything.
I deff am judgmental but I don’t show it.

I have tattoos & peircings, I over accesirize but my behavior is extremley classy and nothing like you would expect, so all I have to say is don’t judge a book by it’s cover

Cliché, but true

squirbel's avatar

If I were to sit here and say “No, I do not judge people by their appearances”, I would be lying. The human mind works purely by making comparisons – we don’t understand that an item is “blue” unless there is another item that isn’t “blue”. That is the concept in its rawest and simplest form.

However, I can say with confidence that when I see people, I never have concrete judgments about people – it is an ever flowing understanding of that individual. When I see a person – I notice the clothing, expressions, and demeanor. Based on my catalogued encyclopedia of human ways [my head and past experiences, duh] I get an idea of what the person may be like. But I am extremely careful [at this point it is so practiced it is natural] not to lock them down into a certain… type.

For me, judging people is like working clay into a finished product. I see the person, and shape the clay into a rough shape. From there, as I speak with them and get to know them, I feel more confident to start shaping the judgement [and the clay shape] into something more defined.

That’s how it works.

charliecompany34's avatar

i’m 44 and thats generally what i get paid to do. we dont do the racial profiling thing here, but we always watch ppl for, well, behavior.

PupnTaco's avatar

I think most Private Pilot Licenses are legit, but after 9/11, you can’t be too careful. I always check for counterfeiting.

stratman37's avatar

would someone else please GA Marina? That’s spot on!

poofandmook's avatar

sort of related… anyone ever feel down on themselves and then look at someone you know and think, “damn, it could be worse… I could be like that person”?

stratman37's avatar

all the time…

cooksalot's avatar

Growing up in Hawaii you learn that how a person looks means nothing. Being the melting pot of the world I have met all types of people and know looks mean nothing. Some of the nicest looking people can be the ugliest inside.

deaddolly's avatar

@cooksalot very true and well said.

Knotmyday's avatar

Cooks, true dat. Most of the people I love are “Goths” and “greasers,” also the sweetest people in the world. Most of the shitheads I know wear ties…

Judi's avatar

No one ever looked at my husbands pilot’s license until a couple of months a go when we got a tie down at the John Wayne Airport. Now there is a Sheriff who compares drivers license to Pilot’s license and you have to have an access card to get on the airfield. Not near that hard in Bakersfield though. (Although much harder than it used to be. )

krose1223's avatar

Just like everyone else, I do it without realizing. When I catch myself doing it I try to rationalize. I work at a police department and I think it’s gotten worse since I’ve worked there. I’ve been judged and sterotyped too many times, so I try to give everyone a chance even if my mind is making a decision without me. Ha. (that doesn’t make sense, but I think you get the idea.) When I was in high school I always had friends in all different cliques and I always found it interesting when I invited everyone together. They all had these set opionions but when they finally got to be together outside of school they each realized we were all the same. After they hung out once they became close friends. I think appearance is used to express yourself, but it doesn’t neccesarily make you who you are.

cheebdragon's avatar

my boyfriend looks almost exactly like Edward norton in American history x, so people always assume that he’s a skinhead.

Malakai's avatar

Yes I probably make some assumptions about people based on appearances. At least initially. As much as their speech or mannerisms or anything else easily observable.

You just have to accept that your impressions leave a large margin for error.

People have a hard time figuring me out based on what I look like. And I’m ok with that. I’m 29.

gooch's avatar

Of course I do.
I am 39

generalspecific's avatar

I dress pretty hippie-ish ad a lot of people do judge me because of it. I understand why people are afraid to dress differently though, because I do get a lot of strange looks. It takes a lot of self-confidence to be your own person these days, and I find that extremely depressing.

flameboi's avatar

I do, but not in a bad way, I had a gf that looked just like you, we made the strangest couple on earth, she was smart and funny and a lil’ bit weird and I was totally crazy about her, for a while :) I’m 24 and a “label whore” just imagine :p

deaddolly's avatar

@flameboi they say opposites attract!
@generalspecific I actually SEEK ppl out that look/dress different because I know I can relate to them easier.

Judi's avatar

People have assumed that I am a Republican! Those of you who know me just by my words would never assume that.

flameboi's avatar

Can you arrange for me a date with your daugther, just to see if you are right :D
just kidding :)

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. I wonder if people are thinking about the extent to which body language informs us about people? Is body language part of looks? Is behavior part of looks? If it isn’t, can we distinguish what are looks and what is body language and behavior?

It seems to me that behavior tells us a lot. Just the way someone walks can be threatening or disarming. The expression on your face. Cops use this all the time to instantly establish dominance and control in a situation. It’s not just the uniform. The uniform might help a little, but it’s the behavior that is key and provides the vast majority of a first impression, I think.

Everyone is wearing a “uniform” in the sense that we are all culturally literate to some degree, and we can interpret clothes a bit. Clothes are language, and like language, they can be ambiguous or misleading.

I think the key issue underlying this is whether people use facial looks and skin color as a way of guessing about what people are like. I think we see doing that as a sign of prejudice, which is making guesses about people and acting as if they are true without gathering any further information.

Nimis and Marina explained it best, I think. We gather a first impression based on what we see, and then we continuously modify that idea of who the person is as we gather new information. If we are open minded, we can incorporate new information. If we are close-minded, we never change the initial impression, no matter what further evidence tells us.

When we say, “don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” we are leaving out an extraordinary amount of complexity in our thinking and assessing capabilities. I’m 52 and I think I have enough experience and knowledge to make a damn good hypothesis about a book based on it’s cover. For a person, it’s even easier. There’s so much more information available: clothes; facial expression; the way they walk or move; how they sound; and more.

I think when some people hear me say how I assess people, they leap to the conclusion that I am judging people (oh my, how horrible) and that I make stereotypical assessments. All I can say is that those people are judging this book by it’s cover!

Judi's avatar

I was just wartching Obama speak in Wisconson. There was a black guy standing behind him with a hoody sweatshirt with the hoody up. No one else had their hood up or a hat on. I am ashamed to admit it, but mostly because I know what people who are uneasy about Obama were thinking, I almost yelled out to the TV, “Put your hood down, you’re making Obama look like a thug!” Is this a confessional board? Will someone please give me absolution now.

poofandmook's avatar

@Judi: I think anybody that’s going to actually think Obama is a thug (not just that he’s being made to look like one) has already made their assumptions about him, most likely based on skin color.

Judi's avatar

I hope you’re right. I don’t like mean people and I hate it most when I act like a mean person. It feels yucky.

deaddolly's avatar

@flameboi…lol She’s single right now and hates it. lol

@Judi I live in wisconsin…all I can say to the guy in the hood is argh….and, I agree ppl will be put off by that as stupid as it may be.

flameboi's avatar

I’ll send you my cv so maybe I could be considered for that position :)

cooksalot's avatar

I admit I tend to judge more by smell than anything. Don’t get me wrong here but the lady with the perfume so thick you can taste it across the room, I’m going to stay away!

deaddolly's avatar

@cooksalot I hate that too——too many allergies. Why do ppl think other ppl like to smell them a mile away?

@flameboi OK, I’m always trying to hook her up.

stratman37's avatar

My Mother always says: “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugliness goes all the way to the BONE!”

MissAnthrope's avatar

I do, much like they judge me by how I look. I think you can get a general idea of who someone is by how they dress, how/if they choose to gussy up, their style, personal style, etc. The difference for me is that I don’t always take someone’s appearance to be the be-all-end-all of who they are. I still remain open-minded.

cooksalot's avatar

Hey! I have found some of the sweetest people that are goths and anarchists. Matter of fact when we lived in Vancouver my nephew had some friends(Goths) who’s son is the same age as my oldest and they just took to each other. My nephews friends were like wow your aunt and uncle are really cool. The took the boys out swimming, to the amusement park, the county fair, and had great times. I hope that knowing Raven has shown my son that clothing and accessories don’t make the person. It’s the person inside that makes them.

deaddolly's avatar

@cooksalot My sentiments exactly…

I was at a tattoo convention this weekend and trust me, you won’t find a group of more unusual ppl anywhere else. You also won’t find a group of nicer, more caring individuals either.

Personally, the more outragious a person dresses, the more attracted I am to them!

MissAnthrope's avatar

I wanted to add an addendum to my post.. while I admit to judging people on appearances, I forgot to mention that I tend to be drawn to “different” people. So those who have non-mainstream appearances tend to be people I have the most in common with.

Knotmyday's avatar

People with huge-mongous afros are generally pretty swell too.

generalspecific's avatar

You know what, as long as people are clean, I don’t care how they dress.

Nimis's avatar

Not everyone has the luxury of being clean!

There’s this homeless man who sneaks into our building all the time. A lot of the local homeless do, but this one particular guy always has his bar of soap. I think he tries to clean himself as best he can. On one hand, whenever you walk by a particularly ripe homeless person, you wish they all cared as much as he does. On the other hand, when you see him trying so hard (when you know he doesn’t have a lot of money for food, etc.), it kind of breaks your heart.

cheebdragon's avatar

Maybe, the next time you stay in a hotel, you could save the mini shampoo/conditioner/soap bottles and leave them in the bathroom for him…..?

Nimis's avatar

Someone already left him a normal sized bar of soap!
(Guess I’m not the only one who felt bad.)

XrayGirl's avatar

WE ALL judge people by the way they look…we just all judge differently. I might judge the way you, deaddolly look as cool, whereas my neighbor might judge you as “harsh”. I must admit, I do it and I don’t keep track, but I am wrong a lot of how people turn out to be compared to how I judged them when i first saw them.

deaddolly's avatar

Yes, it’s amazing how many times I’ve been wrong about ppl. I really, really try not to judge by appearances, but it’s natural.
I probably judge ppl the opposite way others do tho; I prefer those that stand out as opposed to those that fit the mold.

cheebdragon's avatar

I can always tell if someone is scandalous. does that count?

deaddolly's avatar

oh course it does! I love scandalous ppl—they give the rest of us something to talk about.

cheebdragon's avatar

That’s true

daisy's avatar

I try not to but it’s hard not to. For example, I was interviewing someone for a job last week. I wasn’t overly impressed with her qualifications as it was but when I noticed she was wearing her fleece vest inside out, I had to cross her off the list. I mean, when you are interviewing for a job, wouldn’t you be more careful about how you look and dress??

Kayak8's avatar

I am typically less than thrilled by (mostly) young urban males who like to wear their pants below their hip joints. Who can even guess what they are doing to their hip sockets over time, but beyond that, I don’t want to sit on the seat where you were just sitting in your underwear for God’s sake . . .

Aside from the above, nothing else much bugs me vis a vis appearance . . . (maybe white slacks before Memorial Day . . . No, not so much)

tearsxsolitude's avatar

I make a judgement in my head but whatever I’m thinking never stops me from getting to know the person. Most times than not I’m proved wrong and I make a great new friend =] If I’m right then I’ll be voicing my opions all over the fucking place. The only way I won’t like someone is if they’re mean, bitchy, or mean AND annoying!

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