Don’t Prejudge People

Don’t Prejudge People

Many years ago when I was living in Norway, most mornings I would see a Norwegian man walking to his office, which was in the same building as my own office. I am sure that I must have looked at him many times and thought to myself, “Well, there is someone who leads a very uneventful, perhaps even boring life, and has probably never done anything exciting or out of the ordinary.”


I had come to that conclusion without ever having a conversation with him. My conclusion was based on just looking at him.


Then one day we did actually stop and have a conversation outside the building in which we worked. That conversation led to a more in-depth conversation in his office. The man, whom I had assumed to be very boring, turned-out to have had a very exciting life. He had been a famous double-agent working for the British during the World War II. In fact a British TV documentary had just been made about him, his espionage partner, and their wartime escapades.

It was a long and fascinating story that he told me. He was far from the boring person that I had assumed him to be. I had judged him even before I had spoken to him, and I was wrong.


How often do most of us fail to talk to someone because of preconceived ideas about who they are or, perhaps more correctly, about who they might be? How often do we shun contact with an individual because we feel that we will have nothing in common or, even worse, because they are not “our type of people?”

Do you ever make assumptions about other people without even speaking to them? Do you take the trouble to listen to other people: to listen to their story? I certainly have been guilty of that.

Take the time to listen to other people no matter how boring you think it might be. You might be surprised and enlightened by what you learn and, on top of that, the other person will feel appreciated.