Are you assessing — or judging — your date?

These terms are often used interchangeably. However, I see a difference.

Assessing is when you notice things about him. He’s 6-feet tall, blue eyed, with dark curly hair. He has a little paunch, slouches, and interrupts often. He makes eye contact and speaks clearly.

JudgeJudging is when you put a value on what you see. He’s tall — great! His eyes are beautiful, his hair luxuriant. His interrupting is annoying. He must have low self-esteem because he slouches. He’s lazy, thus the paunch.

No one likes to be judged, but I’m afraid we frequently do it. We watch people in a coffee shop or an airport and go from noticing to judging in a nanosecond. The guy with the sour look on his face? He must be a grump. The woman with unkempt hair? Must not care about how she looks. The man with rippling muscles under his T-shirt? Must be a gym rat.

Assessing is just noticing, not making the assessment into judgment. You’re like a tailor taking measurements without thinking “This woman has fat thighs.” He just notes the numbers without criticism.

How do you stay in assessing as long as possible with your date? You just note what you notice. You observe his physical appearance: height, weight, hair and eye color. You take in his clothing’s style, fit and quality. You mentally note what he talks about, how he listens, the questions he asks, if he interrupts, how long he talks. You watch his body language, posture, facial expressions, eye contact, smile, how he sits and walks.

The trick is to not make inferences without checking them out. Let’s take some of the examples from above:

  • The paunch — He has been suffering from back and shoulder pain after a bike accident, so has not been able to exercise for months. He’s scheduled surgery soon and he’s looking forward to getting back in shape.
  • The slouch — Because of his injury, it’s painful to stand up straight. After his surgery, he’ll be back into military form.
  • Interrupting — His ex-wife talked non-stop and he found the only way he could get in the conversation was to interrupt her. She never said it bothered her, so it became a habit. He doesn’t even realize he does it anymore.

Once you know more, the judgments don’t hold. Ideally, put off deciding if you like or don’t like a characteristic until you know the whole story. Just notice for now.

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3 responses to “Are you assessing — or judging — your date?”

  1. Ellen Avatar

    And I keep telling my women’s group that “you get what you buy” – that we can’t pick a guy and be thinking of what we want to change in him. He is just what he is and may not change at all, even if he says he will. I remember dating a guy who was very out-of-shape and overweight because he said that he had just lost ten pounds and my mind decided that he would, therefore, continue to lose more. It’s good not to judge, but it’s also good to be clear on what we want. If you think talking to a guy will make him change, then be my guest and tell my Suburu to become a Mercedes!

    Thanks for the food for thought! Ellen

  2. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Assessing is definitely the ideal. Now, how do we get the guys to do this? 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  3. Cindy C. Avatar
    Cindy C.

    Reminds me of a quip we’ve probably all heard by now …

    “A woman marries a man, hoping that she can change him… and he doesn’t.
    A man marries a woman, hoping that she’ll never change…and she does !”