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Old 05-08-2007, 10:12 PM   #1
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Default Ever been judged by a stranger?

This might be a silly question, but have any of you been judged by a stranger? Even by just a look? And how did it effect you?

I've gotten away with not going outside to avoid being judged, since I'm already doing that enough on my own. I went on a trip this last Christmas to visit my brother, at a gas station a guy gave me a look i'll never forget.

I was doing pretty good holding my anxiety together the whole trip, but that day my family wanted to take a picture of me (I've always not allowed them, since about '99) They were pretty persuasive so I let them, and when I saw what I looked like on the digital camera I was completely heart broken. How come my mirror never told me I looked like that? So, I was already pretty vulnerable. On the way back we stopped at a gas station. As I was walking in and a guy (maybe in his late 30's) was walking twards me like he was coming inside, I gave him a friendly smile and held the door open for him, then he gave me this completely disgusted look. A look like I was some kind of decaying, deformed, monster, then he walked the other way. I was a bit shocked at first, that he had the nerve to judge me like that.

It tore me up inside. Who was he to judge me? He doesn't know where I come from, how I got here, and how I'm planning to change. His suggested opinion should mean nothing, right? But that look he gave me plays over and over in my head, it's almost haunting me. Thankfully it hasn't stopped me from trying to go outside still, but at the time, it was the needle that broke the haystack.

Anyone else have something big or small happen like this? And how did you deal with it afterwards?
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Old 05-08-2007, 10:49 PM   #2
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Hi Delayed Siren , are you sure he was disgusted with you ? maybe he was planning on going in and then just realized something and made a face of disgust because he felt stupid about something he forgot . I myself sometimes in my own little world of thoughts have a hard time keeping my facial expressions to a minimum . People often will know i do not understand something because they swear they can see a question mark on my forhead. and sometimes when i am thinking about something stupid i did i will have this twisted look on my face or disgust because something i may of seen on tv just popped into my head . i do not know maybe i am not a stable individual [b]lol[b] my husband thinks i am strange because out of the blue i will start laughing histaricaly and nothing has happenned but in my head i have just thought of something that happenned last year and just cannot get over it.
it probably had nothing to do with you . i bet you are a beautiful woman and even if he had a problem with you who the **** is he to make you feel bad about yourself .

to answer the question about strangers . yes i have been judged by a stranger i was in the grocery store minding my own business . just walking along with my husband and 1yr old daughter at the time and these teenagers were walking behind us and one of them said " look at that lard *** , can you imagine what she eats " i also heard one of the other kids say that he was not being very nice . i just felt like turning around and grabbing him by the throat and telling him to learn some manners and maybe he should listen to his friend . my husband thank goodness did not hear what the kid said otherwise i would of just been so embarassed . he would of torn him to shreds .

anyway do not let this experience bring you down because if he was actually being a jerk . there are many others out there and we cannot let them dictate when and where we go . i used to not want to walk in the malls because i was insecure about what people would think and now in my 30's i really do not care what others have to say about me .

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Old 05-08-2007, 11:09 PM   #3
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I'm pretty sure the look was meant for me, because he almost seemed annoyed that I was holding the door open for him. But who knows! The mind is a nutty thing, I could have made it worse with how I was already feeling.

That's pretty rude about those teens at the store. I've always been pretty scared of kids or teenagers for that reason. They're brutally honest or just cruel because they think it has no repercussions.

Thanks for your thoughts and story!
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:11 PM   #4
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Hi Siren!!!

I am so glad you found this website. You will get so much support here! I had read one of your other posts and had meant to respond. I hope you keep posting!!!

I understand how that man made you feel!!! It has happened to me also!! At first I am always angry, however after a wee bit I feel superior to that type of person. Cause afterall, isnt almost like they are holding a giant sign that says " I AM IGNORANT. MY PARENTS NEVER TAUGHT ME EVEN THE BASICS!!!!"

I have been judged by strangers in other ways, too. Money is tight for me. However, I always felt my daughters and I always look presentable. I had to get them new glasses. Even the cheapest pair of glasses is bloomin expensive. The salesperson kept stressing what my total price would be. But when he saw that I was writing a check, he seemed hesitant. I had a valid license and met all the store policies for check writing. He told me not once but TWICE what the charge is for returned checks!!!!! I have good credit. I just couldnt understand why this man acted this way. Then it hit me that maybe we do indeed look low budget. That stung for a wee bit but I am over it!!!! We may not dress in designer clothes but we are certainly blessed. You can bet when they need new glasses next time, we will go someplace else!!!!!

Siren, sorry this is so bloomin long! Looking forward to reading more of your posts!!!
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:29 PM   #5
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He may have been annoyed that you were holding the door open for him. JUST as annoyed as he may have been at a supermodel doing the same. Some people can't stand to have doors held for them. They've taken rudeness to entirely new levels. Some guys think THEY should be holding doors and not the other way around and some die hard feminists would kick you in the balls if you're a guy holding the door. So maybe it was just the door holding and not you in particular, IF it weren't anything else and you just misinterpreted it. I would NOT lose sleep over something you'll never know and may even have completely misread.
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Old 05-08-2007, 11:36 PM   #6
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Hey Siren,

There is just no way to know what is going on in someone else's head! Unfortunately, if we feel like we look bad, we can project that feeling onto everyone we meet, and decide they think we look bad, too.

Maybe he just didn't like you holding the door for him. Who knows? And maybe he is just a jerky kid.

The thing is, we have absolutely no control over what other people think. Even if I weighed 125, someone out there wouldn't like the way I looked. So what? I can't expect to be accepted by everyone on the planet! It is a no-win expectation--and I don't think the solution is to stay indoors.

Do you have a friend, a minister, or a counselor you could talk to about this? It might be good to have some face to face support in addition to us here.

chocco, I'm afraid I am a very confrontive person in such a situation, and I in fact would have turned around on that kid and told him that I might be fat, but I'm not deaf and certainly not as stupid as he is, and we would have gone on from there. Dear me!

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Old 05-08-2007, 11:55 PM   #7
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I do a lot of public speaking so I am judged all the time by strangers. I'm pretty good at my job, so most of the feedback I get is very positive, but once in a while people will be negative. Because evaluation forms can be submitted anonymously, people are sometimes very hurtful. One of the more hurtful evaluations I got was early on in my career. It was a presentation that I had been very worried about. I had worked very hard putting it together, trying to make it interesting and creating some transparencies (it was in the days before laptops and LCD projectors, which tells you how old I am) that I hoped would make the concepts very easy for the audience to understand. I also practiced it on my own no less than six times (normally the most I ever run through a presentation on my own is three times). All the evaluations were very complimentary except one that said "Barb is a great presenter but her hair and her glasses are a mess!" Luckily I had some supportive co-workers who helped me laugh it off. But after that, I always make sure my hair is cut and colored at least every six to eight weeks and I don't let my glasses get so beat up before buying a new pair. Now I never allow myself to look anything less than professional when I am out at a work event.

For a while I did training on a software product that customers were really really unhappy with. The trainings were nightmare because the attendees were already angry before the training even began. By the end of the day, I would be exhausted from trying to be upbeat and positive in the face of all the complaints. People would say such hurtful things that it got to the point where I couldn't look at the evaluation forms right away; I had to just set them aside, wait a few days to put some distance between myself and the training before I could read them.

When stuff like that happens, the best you can do is just laugh it off and move on. People can be jerks but that's their problem, not yours, and there's nothing you can do about it. Know that you are a beautiful and deserving person and if they can't see that, that's shows a weakness and a deficiency in them, not in you.

I also agree with everyone else that you don't really know that his look was intended for you. Anything could have been going through is mind. I have a friend who is very insecure and is always convinced that people are thinking bad things about her. But the fact is, most people don't even notice the things she is worried about. I find that it can be helpful to remind myself that not everything is about me.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:18 AM   #8
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I know what you mean, Siren...I tend to assume the worst in situations like that, too. But in my case, it's because I am so self-conscious about my weight, that I just make assumptions rather than rationalizing "maybe they had a bad day" or "maybe they feel self-conscious about something".

I live in Southern California where it seems everyone (except me!) is a size 0 and is beautiful. It makes me even more self-conscious than ever. I also go to San Diego State University, and it is even worse there. I totally feel like I don't fit in, I am "fat", frumpy and older (38). 3 weeks ago in my Spanish class, the teacher asked anyone that didn't have a partner to raise their hand. I was the only one that raised their hand and I heard someone say sort of loudly "the fat girl". Now, I don't know if she was talking about me or just had bad timing and was talking about some unrelated incident (of which it is still really rude), but I just tried to block it out of my mind. I try to think of it this way: many of these girls in 10 years will be overweight and feel like I do. They don't know what's coming!
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:27 AM   #9
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I have definitely felt that "look of disgust" before when I was obese.

One night I was working the ICU at our local hospital and a 20 yr. old lady was brought in after a metamphetamine overdose. Her mom walked up to the Director of Nursing and told the director that she didn't want me taking care of her daughter because "I was too fat to care for her quickly in an emergency". I had never before layed eyes on these people and felt like my skill level and competency was being judged solely by how much I weighed at the time. It made me feel horrible about myself. So, I immediately turned the care of that pt. over to the only other nurse there that night, that had much less experience than I did.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:44 AM   #10
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I don't really understand that because most Americans are overweight, so being overweight, you're actually in the majority. It's more common to go to a public place and see overweight people than see people who are in shape.
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Old 05-09-2007, 12:59 AM   #11
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Maybe people who are overweight judge obese people more harshly because they have to struggle so much with their own weight issues. My sister (who struggels with her weight) can sit at Dairy Queen with a large chocolate covered cherry ice cream cone and point out what everyone else is eating, or make comments about how "fat" someone is. I usually don't notice and don't pay attention to other people's weight. Again, I think it's less common to see someone who is in strikingly good shape and physically fit, then to see someone who is overweight.

I think society harshly judges people who they think are too thin (something I dealt with for many years).

If you're not overweight, you're not average or normal.
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Old 05-09-2007, 07:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
I think society harshly judges people who they think are too thin (something I dealt with for many years).
Good point, MicheleKC--and it goes to show that if you're at either end and sometimes even closer to the middle, there will always be someone judgmental out there.

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Old 05-09-2007, 09:01 AM   #13
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Don't assume to know someone, especially a stranger. You said so yourself, he does not know you or your plans and thoughts- you don't know either. Never take a stranger to heart, not like that. It is a waste of your precious life and time that could be better used building yourself up and not tearing yourself down.
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Old 05-09-2007, 01:09 PM   #14
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Hi Siren!

You will find comfort & support here - so WELCOME!

As for your experience... might I offer this advice? NEVER assume you know what someone else is thinking. Other people's minds are off limits to you. Their facial expressions, body language & so forth could mean a hundred different things. He may have been thinking about something that was bothering him, or maybe he had a sudden stomach pain... god knows what! - but most often, when we insert thoughts into someone else's mind, it is usually OUR OWN THOUGHTS ABOUT OURSELVES - and pretty much always wrong.

I know that I am extremely self conscious about my body - especially in a swim suit (but I won't let that make me stop wearing one!) and everytime someone looks at me, I imagine they're thinking "She is TOO FAT to be wearing THAT."

Then one day at the beach, two very handsome 'older' men were walking behind me and just talking & laughing ...I was SURE they were talking & laughing about ME. And as I stopped to pick up seashells...I was thinking "they're probably laughing at my huge a**..." but then, as they passed by, one of them looked at me & smiled & said "Do you realize how wonderful you look?" And it wasn't said smarmy or snarky, and it wasn't said jokingly - he was being serious - not like a dirty old man, but just offering me a nice compliment. :

Needless to say, I am learning to stop putting my thoughts into others' minds. And that, my dear, is an on-going process!
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Old 05-11-2007, 12:14 AM   #15
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Girl, don't sweat it for a minute! There are simply too many negative folks in this world, that if you honestly took the time to worry about them all, you'll quickly find yourself in the nut house!

Earlier today, I was driving home and pulled up to a stoplight where there were a few teenagers lolling about. One fella was actually wearing a sign that said "A Fat Kid Ate My Family" for every driver to see on their way through. I was so offended, and even more so when a cop who was coming my way chose to continue on driving through! Now I realize everyone is entitled to their freedom of speech, but this was offensive and really insulting! I would have at least told these kids to scatter!

I just don't think teenagers today are really being taught manners. It just seems like they are mostly self absorbed these days.
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