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How I Learned I’m Still Judgmental By: Margaret Laupp

For the longest time, I considered myself to be fairly open-minded and accepting. Like most people, I consider myself an all-around good person. Then I decided to begin using a dating app and I learned some things about myself.

I won’t name the app in question, but its set up is standard for most. You are shown a picture of the person, along with their first name, age, location, and a variety of other information they choose to give. There are physical descriptions, religious beliefs, annual income, whether or not they smoke/drink, etc. It’s the best overview you can get of a person in one look. You are then given the option to “like” or “pass”. And it’s how I learned I’m still judgmental.

Now when I say I’m judgmental, I don’t just mean of others. More than once when a particularly attractive picture came up, my immediate reaction was “he’s out of my league”. I’m an overweight nerd with hipster tendencies that despises makeup and shaving her legs. And before this, I would have said that I was perfectly fine with that. In my sassier moments, I would say I rock it. While this experience hasn’t totally changed that view, I did learn that I may not be as confident in it as I thought.

But of course I wasn’t just judgmental of myself. Others were included in that list. The way the man was standing in the picture, or if the picture was of something else than himself, all factored in to whether or not I “liked” or “passed”. And, like I said before, any man particularly attractive or fit was also immediately off the list. I did my best to ignore the annual salary, as I didn’t want to be one of “those girls” but when the “< $10,000” message came up, it definitely gave me pause.

Obviously, I know this is wrong. The little blurbs offered in that one page overview can’t possibly contain everything about a person. There will be multitudes of struggles and triumphs that it can’t portray in that small space. It doesn’t tell you about their real character, their compassion (or lack thereof). And I know that, logically. But I found myself strangely reluctant to press “like” on guys that my gut deemed instantly above or below me.

The lesson here is this: I am not without fault. And that’s not a good thing, but it’s not the end of the world. This is an incredibly uncomfortable realization, to be sure, but in a way I’m glad for it. I hope to never be the kind of person that assumes they do no wrong. I want to improve, as a student and as a person. I want to be in my early 30s looking back on my early 20s and marveling at how much I’ve grown. Looking back on my teenage years already gives me that feeling. (Seriously, how did my mother survive having 3 teenaged girls in the house?)

So I’m going to stay on the lookout for my faults. And when they appear, as they inevitably will, I’m going to take the steps to combat them. I don’t want to hear from others what I’m doing wrong and how I should change. I’d rather hear it from myself.

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