15 Surprising Ways People Subconsciously Judge Others

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We as humans always try to systematize things (and people) and attach labels to all things possible.

These subconscious judgments can be influenced by many factors, some of which might surprise you. What is even more interesting is that understanding these subtle cues not only sheds light on the behavior of others but also helps us become more aware of our own biases.

Let’s look at the most unusual criteria. Some may surprise you, make you laugh, or even leave you questioning your prejudices.

1. Driving Habits

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It’s surprising how people can judge someone based on how they drive. On the other hand, driving habits are very telling. Aggressive, selfish people will drive similarly, and patient, cautious people will drive likewise.

Your driving habits show how you deal with stress and risk management.

2. How They Treat Waiters/Waitresses

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This is so accurate. Here are two famous quotes that basically speak about the same thing.

It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one’s real character,” by Charles Bayard Mitchell, and another, more recent one from famous J. K. Rowling “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”: “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

3. Clothing

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People often draw conclusions about a person’s social status, taste, and even confidence based on their clothing choices. Some pay close attention to footwear. It seems the saying, “dress to impress,” still holds.

4. Handshakes

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A firm handshake is frequently equated with confidence and reliability, while a weak or limp one can leave a lasting impression of passivity or insecurity. It is a firm judgment factor to some.

5. Conversation Skills

The ability to talk meaningfully and convey your views and message is both an art and a science at the same time. It shapes how people are perceived. Those who can maintain gripping, witty, or thoughtful discussions are often viewed as engaging, while those who struggle in social interactions might be unfairly labeled dull.

6. Manners, Especially While Eating

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Table manners can be a window into one’s upbringing and social etiquette. People who exhibit impeccable manners at the dinner table may be seen as refined, while those who slurp, talk with their mouths full, or display other rudeness can be viewed negatively.

7. If They Split the Bill

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Sharing expenses can reveal one’s attitude towards fairness and equality. Some view those who insist on splitting the bill as considerate and modern, while others might see it as a lack of generosity.

8. Education

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Fortunate or not, some people measure others’ intelligence and overall worth based on their level of education. Whether fair or not, it’s worth remembering that every rule has exceptions.

9. Ability To See the Funny Side of Things

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A sense of humor often equates with positive personality traits like optimism and adaptability. People who can find humor in everyday situations are seen as more enjoyable.

10. How They Talk About a Person Not Around

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Gossiping or speaking negatively about someone who’s not present can quickly earn a person a reputation as untrustworthy or two-faced.

11. The People They Hang Around

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Birds of a feather flock together, and people are often judged based on their choice of friends and acquaintances. Associations can shape perceptions, sometimes unfairly.

12. Their Bookshelves

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You can tell a lot about a person by what they decide to have on their bookshelves.

However, this is only true if they are not purposely telling you (i.e., not buying and storing the books to impress). The absence of bookshelves also says something.

I remember my literature teacher used to say that “the most unpleasant piece of furniture is an empty bookshelf.”

13. What Pets They Have

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The type of pet someone owns can lead to assumptions about their personality. Some go deeper and say that they “judge people based on what breed of dog they walk around with.”

14. Music Taste

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Musical preferences can be surprisingly polarizing, and people may make assumptions about others based on the genres or artists they enjoy. For example, a preference for classical music might be associated with sophistication, while a love for heavy metal could lead to assumptions about a person’s rebellious nature.

15. If They Judge Other People Based on Zodiac Signs

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This is funny, and it tells about the judge’s own attitude towards astrology. This practice can be a fun conversation starter, but it can also lead to assumptions and stereotypes that may not accurately reflect a person’s true character.

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