Judging is a natural thing for us. At an unconscious level we make quick judgements, part of our survival instincts, that help keep us safe. For example, when driving you may have experienced the situation where you find yourself braking or swerving to avoid danger, and realise that you have reacted before you were even consciously aware of the danger.

In our everyday lives, we are constantly making conscious judgements, I like that, I don't like that, I agree with you, I don't agree with you, we should be doing this or that. We do this because we don't have the time to consider all aspects that affect a situation, we need to make a decision. Being able to make judgements based on our experience is often what contributes to our success in life. It might get us promotion at work, as we are seen as being able to make correct judgements.

In a situation that involves conflict, this natural instinct is unhelpful. Making judgements sends the message that my judgement is right and your's is wrong. In real life things are rarely black and white, but shades of grey. In restorative dialogue, we need to suspend our judgements, something that is easier said than done, and instead explore the shades of grey, listening to understand and consider the various viewpoints of those involved.