“Never base first impressions on hearsay. Give someone you barely know a chance to make a second impression.”
There’s a lot that we hear on a day to day basis. As social creatures, we love to exchange stories. It’s likely that we all know someone who gossips a lot, or someone who enjoys speaking about other people. The trouble is, when we listen to these people without knowing the people they’re talking about we can form our own first impressions without even having met that person. No matter how favourable, or unfavourable that hearsay first impression can be, its unfair to the person because you’ve already categorized them, or judged them, without even having met them. You’re essentially letting whatever your gossiping friend says determine how you view this person, instead of letting that person make the first impression on you.
And even when we let people make first impressions, they have a tendency to stick. If someone makes a really good first impression on us, we can be tempted to ignore all signs of bad behaviour later on. The reverse is also true, where someone makes a really bad first impression (no matter what the reason is), we’re inclined to view them negatively in the future. First impressions are hard to kick because when we form them, they become a part of our reality perception of that person. It is completely natural to do this and everyone does it from time to time. But being aware of it, and giving someone a chance to make a second impression ensures that you get a much clearer picture of who they actually are.
People are much deeper creatures than we give them credit for. The initial introduction often has many nervous and so they may not leave the best first impression. While they may come off as shy, or quiet, or just grumpy, the truth could simply be that they have a fierce social anxiety holding them back. Try not to be so quick to judge, or make assumptions based on a first impression.
A third, or fourth impression doesn’t hurt either. 😉
Do you have stories about first impressions that turned out to be completely inaccurate? Share them!