Wedding Guest or Critic? Why We Judge Our Friends' Weddings

Why Do We Judge?

When people judge, they're often comparing themselves to another person. Some experts believe this tendency is ingrained in us as a survival technique. Every living creature in the wild lives and dies by its ability to discern what is safe and beneficial, be it food or a potential mate. It's only natural, therefore, that we compare ourselves with the competition, and by judging other's weddings, we allow ourselves to feel good about our own important life decisions. For example, if you allow yourself to negatively judge the details of a friend's elaborate ceremony, you can subconsciously justify lingering feelings of guilt or regret about spending a lot of money on your own nuptials. After all, the average couple spends more than $20,000 on their one-day affair, and buyer's remorse is not uncommon for a wedding day that comes and goes so quickly.

It's important to remember, however, that although we may all be running in the rat race, we're no longer competing for our own survival. Since most couples spend a great deal of time, energy and money making their wedding picture-perfect, the personalized details of the event are true reflections of their personal style. Therefore, when we're judging a friend's nuptials, we're judging the friend as well as the wedding.

Of course, thanks to that good-old survival instinct we were just discussing, we can't help but compete with each other. We're competitive by nature, and most of us like to assume that we can do something better than the next person, including throwing the perfect wedding.

According to Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard Business School, when we judge another person, rivalry plays a role. She says, "If you feel that someone is competing with you, you instinctively assume they're a bad person." While judging a friend and their wedding choices might be unintentional and momentarily gratifying, these negative thoughts aren't going to make you feel any better about yourself in the long run. They're also not going to do anything but harm the relationship you share with your friend, even if she never finds out about your silent critiques.