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Others Judge Your Character

by Ron Kurtus (updated 21 November 2022)

Your character is important in being able to achieve goals, getting along with other people, and being accepted in organizations. It also determines how other people think of you and whether they care to interact with you.

Other people judge your character first by your reputation and then by the dealings they have with you. Their judgment may also be biased, according to personality similarities or differences. The judgment by others of your character is often incomplete, since they cannot tell what is in your heart.

When someone sees you in action or interacts with you, that person makes judgments of your personal, social, and cultural character by your performance and results.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Judging your personal character

People judge your personal character by their perception of how you respond to challenges.

If you have a reputation of being lazy or careless in your work, others will make that initial assumption about your personal character traits. But if they see you are a good worker and conscientious in what you do, they will change their perception and assume you have those positive character traits. The same is true if they see negative behavior.

On John's first day at work on the factory assembly line, he was paired with an older fellow, Emil. After a short time working, it was obvious to John that Emil was drunk.

This caused John to make a number of negative assumptions about Emil's personal character and work-ethic. After a few days working together, John's judgment about Emil proved correct.

Fortunately for John, after three weeks he was able to get transferred and have a new partner.

Others judge your personal character by your performance.

Bill's neighbor described him as very diligent in the way he kept up his yard. But she also said she heard he had a drinking problem.

The more information a person has about you, the more complete the judgment will be. You may be considered as having a hard-working, careless, fearful and responsible character. In this case, your character is a mix of positive and negative traits.

Judging your social character

Your reputation concerning how you treat other people precedes you. It can color the perception others have your social character once they must interact with you.

Sarah had said that Beth was often dishonest and would sometimes steal.

Because of this reputation, Carly was hesitant to invite Beth over. However, several others told Carly that Beth was actually very honest and that Sarah had a grudge against her, so she was spreading rumors about Beth.

The truth was that it was Sarah who had the poor social character traits of being dishonest and harmful to others.

If others see you being dishonest or harmful to others, they will judge your social character negatively. However, if you seem kind and straightforward, they will judge you in a positive sense. Typically, people expect positive type of behavior.

Judging your 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.

If you are a member of some group, it is assumed that you follow the rules. If members see you breaking the rules or code of the group, they will consider you as having poor cultural character and may even punish you or force you out of the group.

Jackson's family had been dedicated Democrats for years and had always voted the Party ticket. However, Jackson felt that the political views did not fit his philosophy, and he switched over to support the Republican Party.

Jackson's father was outraged, as was his uncle. They did not want to have anything to do with this "traitor" in their family.

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, a Muslim might accept that a Christian was an honest person, but he would still consider him as an infidel and of low character, with respect to his religion.

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 your character think in terms of the type of person you are from the perceptions they have of you and your reputation. Your 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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