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Judging the Character of Others

by Ron Kurtus (revised 19 August 2018)

The character of a person is not an absolute. You often judge the character of others by what you see or hear about the person. Often, you may think in terms of the type of person, as opposed to the character of the person.

The judgment of the personal character of others is often incomplete, since you cannot tell what is in his or her heart. You judge social character by having dealings with the person. Cultural character is judged by how the person adheres to the guidelines of the group.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Personal character

You judge the personal character of others by your perception of how they respond to challenges.

You may assume that someone who does a brave deed has outstanding personal character or is an heroic type of person. On the other hand, you may judge a person who quits or gives up as someone who lacks determination and has a lower personal character.

After Jennie was given a difficult assignment at work, the boss saw that she was putting in an extra effort to complete it on time. The boss judged personal character as high.

Social character

Social character relates to the attitudes a person has toward other people. You may judge the person's social character by what you see or hear about him. You may get a good impression of the person's honesty or integrity and thus judge him or her accordingly. Your interest in the person's character or what type of person he is has to do with whether or nor you want to deal with him.

Todd had a reputation of being unreliable or not doing what is promised, so you judged his social character as not being very positive. You may not ask him to be involved in an activity where you would have to depend on him.

Cultural character

Cultural, religious and family groups typically have a set of rules or laws its members are expected to follow. Usually, there is an overlap, where some groups have similar rules of behavior. Often these rules also concern personal and social behavior.

Members of a group will judge others in their group according to how they observe the rules. The law-abider is considered a good person, while the person who breaks some rules is thought of as having poor character, being a bad person or being a sinner.

Those outside the group are not considered to have as high of character as those inside the group. For example, you may accept that a person of a different religion was an honest person, but you would still consider him as an unbeliever.

If you belonged to a tightly-knit cultural group and you adhered to their rules and traditions, others in the group would judge you as a person of high character.


People judge the character of others and think in terms of the type of person he or she is. You may judge their personal character from the perceptions you have of the person and his reputation. Social character is often judged by people who may have dealings with you, as they decide whether you are trustworthy, reliable or such. Your cultural character is judged by those within your religious, family, or cultural group.

People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones

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