Do you find yourself rushing to judge others? The truthful answer is, we all do it.

We make fast decisions about people within a few seconds of meeting them. Think about when you get a friend request from someone on Facebook, and you take a quick look at their photograph or profile.

Or how about when you're introduced to someone new, in-person. We form initial impressions based on very little information. Before you feel bad about this, it's important to know that this is a natural instinct, meant to keep us safe. It is part of our fight/flight mechanism.

When we meet someone new, our brains go into overdrive to figure out if they're a friend or a potential threat.

This quick judgment process is something our ancestors needed to stay safe, when it may well have been a matter of life and death. Nowadays, the stakes are lower, but our brains still work this way.

These snap judgments are based on things like appearance, body language, and tone of voice.

We tend to like people who seem confident and friendly, and we feel uneasy around those who seem unfriendly. These first impressions can have a big impact on how we treat, or react, to other people.

However, these quick judgments are not always right. They are influenced by our personal biases and past experiences. This is where our "frame of reference" comes in, which is just another way of saying our window on the world. This is shaped by many things, including our upbringing, where we are from, our culture and beliefs, to name but a few.

Our frame of reference affects how we see and understand others. For example, something that looks rude to one person might be fine to another. Knowing about our frame of reference can help us become aware of our own biases and make us more open to different views. It reminds us that our quick judgments may not always be accurate.

Additionally, when we're really stressed, we might not make the best judgments about people or situations. Stress can make our minds foggy and prevent us from seeing things clearly. So, it's important to find ways to calm down and relax, to see things more clearly and make better judgments.

When you notice yourself making snap judgments, take a moment to think about why. Are your judgments based on facts, or are they influenced by your own ideas? Are you particularly stressed at the moment? Try to look beyond your first impressions and give people a chance to show who they really are over time.

Martin Furber is a therapist qualified in various modalities and an Instructor Member of Mental Health First Aid England