Messages from the Masters
Judging Others Favorably by Bob Burg

"How could he not have returned my call?" "Why did she say that about me?" "I can't believe he'd bounce a check - what a crook!" "That cabbie definitely overcharged me - I was ripped off." "How irresponsible she is to have forgotten our appointment." Have those words ever left your lips (or sat angrily in your mind)? They have mine.

Just finished reading (more like devouring) another excellent book. This one's entitled "The Other Side of the Story: Giving People the Benefit of the Doubt" ( It delves into an area with which I've always had trouble - though making slow and continual improvement - and that is finding a way to judge others favorably when it clearly "appears" they have wronged me. Do you ever struggle in that area? A lot of us do. And for a very logical reason.

As human beings, we tend to make decisions (both minor and major) based on very limited information, and through our own personal belief systems. Not to mention, if something has happened before, it's easy to assume that similar circumstances always lead to the same results...every single time. But, in fact, they don't.

This subject is so vital to living a joyous life and getting along with others, that it covered more than 300 (very highlighted and note-taken) pages in the above-mentioned book. Right now, however, let's provide just one proof regarding how we can know that not everyone appearing to have wronged us has actually done so. Okay, so what is this "proof"?

The proof is that you and I, at one time or another, have also been accused of doing something hurtful, inconsiderate, or otherwise inappropriate when, in fact, we didn't!! Or at least there were extenuating circumstances about which that person could not have known. Isn't it an awful feeling to be misjudged or wrongly accused? To know a person might be harboring negative feelings towards us for something we didn't actually do, although it certainly did "appear" that way?

For example, your good friends Mary and Tom are outraged that you didn't invite them to the barbeque you recently held at your home. Worse, they found out about it the following week from another couple you did invite...whom you don't know nearly as well! Mary and Tom wonder what they ever did to you to deserve that snubbing? Too hurt and disgusted to ask you, they carried a grudge until two weeks later you called them to apologize...because the invitation you mailed to them came back due to not having enough postage. Yes, they feel terrible for ever having doubted your friendship.

But here's the kicker; for the past three weeks you've been mad at them! Why? Because not only had they not accepted your invitation to attend your barbeque - they didn't even have the "courtesy" to RSVP as you requested of those you invited!

Judging others favorably is always a good idea. It allows us to see the best in others, and to avoid very unnecessary negative feelings as well.

By the way, some possible answers from the first paragraph of this article: "He did return your call, twice, but your answering machine was broken." "She didn't say that about you - her remark was taken out of context by a 'friend' who just happened to overhear that part of the conversation." "He had just closed that account, and didn't realize you had still not cashed his check (an error on his part, yes, but hardly crooked)." "The cabbie didn't overcharge you - the previous one had inadvertently undercharged you for the same distance, or possibly there was a required surcharge on this one you weren't aware of." "She didn't forget your appointment. You forgot you were supposed to call first to confirm."


Bob Burg

Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit or call 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International

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