This I Believe

James - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 13, 2006

Everyone knows the phrases, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” or “Don’t judge anyone until you know him.” Most people try to exemplify this and show that they are giving a person a chance. They want everyone to know that they aren’t shallow and that they don’t judge people by their appearance. No, I’m not talking about liking everyone, or trying to see only the good in people or any other righteous goody-goody garbage like that. I’m talking about giving people a real chance to show their personality before coming to any conclusions about them.

Many people don’t know that all they are doing is seeing a person, meeting him, and then judging him right away without really knowing that person. They think to themselves, “I gave him a chance because I didn’t judge him on the way he looks.” But they don’t seem to know that the only way to truly know and judge someone accurately is with time.

I have a friend who is rambunctious, to say the least. I admit, I didn’t like her at all when I first met her. There was nothing wrong with her appearance so I couldn’t judge her based on that, but she was incredibly loud and her language had a devil-may-care attitude that I disliked. But over the next couple of months, I started to see who she was clearer. And slowly, contradicting my first impression of her, I began to notice that she was a very pleasant person to talk to. In fact, it was her flagrant personality that made her down-to-earth and a true friend.

It is almost as though there are unknown, mandatory tests that block people from seeing who someone else is. The first test is appearance. If people manage to reserve judgment and wait to meet the person before creating opinions, then they have passed the first test. The second test is meeting this person. Will they be able to keep an open mind until they know this person better? If so, then they have passed the second test.

The next part is the hardest and requires the most patience. It requires people to watch, listen, interact, and open themselves up with this person. Only after all this should people feel comfortable about judging this person. It doesn’t matter if they like him. It doesn’t matter if they love him. It doesn’t matter if they hate him. It matters that they really see him, and he was given a chance.