How Easy Are You to "Read"? What Judgeability Is and Why It Matters

How Easy Are You to "Read"? What Judgeability Is and Why It Matters | Jennifer Spoelma

‘Judging’ in the way we’re used to hearing the word is not a positive thing.

Feeling judged is belittling and hurtful. And as we’ve been talking about in recent Feminine Foresight episodes, it can lead to severe misunderstanding.

However, today we’re looking at the concept of judgeability, which has a quite different outcome.

Judgeability actually has more to do with our trustworthiness and connection, it’s not about making snap judgements of others.

To break the concept down…

your judgeability means how easy or difficult you are to read.

That is, does your body language, tone of voice, word choice, etc. accurately represent what you’re trying to communicate.

A “judgeable” person is someone who is easy to perceive accurately and is less likely to be misunderstood. Someone who is judgeable is open, transparent, and easy to read, as opposed to someone who is closed, hard to read and enigmatic.

Social scientists also call this being a good or bad target. We can either make it easy or difficult to move towards understanding or away from it, depending on how good of a target we are. (i.e. Are other able to accurately “read” us with little effort.)

The more judgeable you are, the more satisfying your life will be.

According to Lauren J. Human and Jeremy Bisanz in “Targeting the Good Target: An Integrative Review of the Characteristics and Consequences of Being Accurately Perceived,” people who are capable of being accurately understood are happier and more content.

This is because they are the ones most likely to be led to situations and relationships which are the best fit for their emotional states and personalities. They are more connected to others, feel known and are better able to achieve the things they want in life because their thoughts and desires are understood.

This sounds so good, right?!

From talking with many people who read my blog, listen to my podcast and watch my videos, I know these are things you deeply long for. Who doesn’t want to be better understood? Who doesn’t want closer, more meaningful relationships? Who doesn’t want success and recognition in their career? The answer is no one.

Let’s take a step towards being better targets by understanding what makes some people more judgeable than others.

Do others have to guess what your intentions are?

Take a moment and consider someone in your life who is hard to read. Maybe they lack emotional inflection in their voice? Maybe they hardly crack a smile? Or maybe they laugh at everything and it confuses you?

People can be difficult to read for a lot of reasons. But below I’ve listed some of the main ones. As you read through them, consider which ones may be at play for the person in your life you find hard to read.

  • Nonverbal communication: What are the person’s body language and mannerisms communicating? Do they match the words and sentiments they’re speaking?

  • Personality coherence: How similar or different is the person’s personality to your own? This can create barriers to understanding when you interpret and interact with the world in a very different way.

  • Authenticity: Does the person seem to be “acting” more than speaking from an authentic place?

  • Availability: How comfortable is the person sharing personal or emotional information? Are they warm and open or more private and closed off?

  • Extraversion: Is the person more or less extraverted? People who are high on the scale for extraversion are typically easier to judge than those that are more introverted.

Now, flip the script on yourself.

Do you think the person you find hard to read might also find you hard to read? It’s possible! Skim through the list above a second time. Which areas do you think you’re most susceptible to being hard to read?

You’ll never be able to get in front of all of these factors for every new person you meet. However, the more familiar you are with these concepts the more skilled you will become at forging understanding and connection.

Arguably, the most important thing to do when meeting a new person or continuing an early relationship is to show the person you are trustworthy. Once trust is established, you’ll have a good foundation for understanding and respect to flourish.

The three basic questions you need to answer to be seen as trustworthy.

Trying to figure out where you stand with someone who isn’t easily judgeable takes a LOT of effort, which could be channeled into more effective and inspiring conversation.

On first encounters, there are three questions people are always asking (consciously or subconsciously):

  • Is this person trustworthy?

  • Is this person useful to me?

  • Does this person threaten my self-esteem?

If you make people work to answer these questions, energy will be wasted that could be channeled into more effective and inspiring conversation.

When you are open and easier to read, your chances of getting past the rapid assessment phase of a relationship improve.

Striving for openness and transparency can be valuable for any type of interpersonal relationship, from intimate relationships to business meetings. When people hold back information, seem distracted or disinterested it erodes trust and makes them a difficult target. This stifles relationships from growing and can create significant misunderstandings.

You know that saying, “You need to be a friend to make a friend”?

That’s a lot how judgeability works, too.

If you come to the table open, authentic and present, you’ll find others will respond to you in the same way.

As I often say in my videos, being present is the best path to connection and success.

Staying present is the task of a lifetime in our busy culture today, but it’s a skill that we’ll all benefit from mastering.