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Judging the Character of Others

by Ron Kurtus (revised 13 March 2013)

The character of a person is not an absolute. You often judge the character of others by what you see or hear about the person. Often, you may think in terms of the type of person, as opposed to the character of the person.

The judgment of the personal character of others is often incomplete, since you cannot tell what is in his or her heart. You judge social character by having dealings with the person. Cultural character is judged by how the person adheres to the guidelines of the group.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Personal character

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

They assume that someone who does a brave deed has outstanding personal character or is an heroic type of person. On the other hand, they may judge someone who quits or gives up as the type of person who lacks determination and has a lower personal character.

For example, if you were given a difficult assignment at work, and your boss saw that you were putting in an extra effort to complete it on time, he or she would probably judge you as a person with high personal character.

Social character

Social character relates to the attitudes you have toward other people. Others may judge your social character by what they see or hear about you. They may get a good impression of your honesty or integrity and thus judge you accordingly. Their interest in your character or what type of person you are has to do with whether or nor they want to deal with you.

For example, if you have a reputation of being unreliable or not doing what you promise, others may judge your social character and not very positive. They may not ask you to be involved in an activity where they would have to depend on you.

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.

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 would accept that a Christian was an honest person, but he would still consider him as an infidel or of low character.

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 the character of others and think in terms of the type of person he or she is. Others may judge your personal character 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 group-based 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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