Our expert says:
I notice the word "judgemental" gets used a lot round here, without much clarity as to its meaning. It may be "judgemental" to be always judging other people about everything, and to set oneself up as the arbiter who always knows wat everyone else ought to do. But it's not judgemental to have personal opinions about right and wrong, and to disapprove of behaviors widely considered to be wrong. Then the complaint that someone is being judgemental is usually coming from someone who knows that they're doing something wrong and don't want anyone to remind them of that. Your task as a friend isn't to aid and abet someone who is doing wrong, or to encourage them automatically --- though you may be prepared to help them pick up the pieces and recover once they recognize that it was, indeed, wrong.
And we cant and mustnt reject advice on the fake grounds that the person hasn't been in that situation themselves. We know that heroin addiction is bad for a person, and don't need to addict ourselves in order to know that. We know that jumping over a cliff is harmful, even if we have never jumped over one. Again, the "Aah, but you've neer been in this situation yourself" argument is usually just another way of avoiding facing the fact that one is harming oneself and/or someone else.
As adults we may claim the right to make our own decisions about what we will do, but we don't have the right ( nor would it be anything but stupid to try it ) to ignore the advice and opinions of others, and of society at large, when making such decisions.
As a friend, out for a walk with a pal, you'd feel it your duty to warn them if you saw that they were about to fall into a hole or that they'd forgotten to check for traffic when about to cross a road --- don't you have a similar duty to warn in interpersonal circumstances, too ?
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