Whether you meet someone at a party, go out on a first date or become acquainted to your new boss, first impressions are a guiding point in getting a “feel” for what a person is all about.
Sometimes, a first impression can speak more truth through the person’s actions (or lack thereof) than words. Yet, the majority of the time, first impressions aren’t always accurate.
Based off of first impressions and looking back on some people you’ve met, how often do you perceive the person you know now in a completely different light than the way you initially met him or her?
That picture you painted of this person in your mind may not have been spot on.
Do yourself a favor next time and don’t let your first impression be the final judgment call. It’s time to let go of all the first impression misconceptions you may have about someone and instead keep an open mind.
Here are five reasons why first impressions aren’t always a reliable factor:
People have their guard up.
Let’s face it: Not everyone likes to divulge his or her entire life story within the first encounter. We’re not all open books who can easily reveal a segment of ourselves to someone.
Oftentimes, people are extremely particular in what they share to others. A grand majority of us are paranoid and cautious beings who take baby steps in letting people into our lives.
Take, for example, that level of discretion or better yet “air of mystery” you chose to exude to that guy or girl you’ve been interested in.
From the other person’s standpoint, it could have made you comes across as “stuck up” or “uninterested,” when in reality, you know that was far from the case.
You have to take into consideration the fact that the person just might have his or her guard up and needs time (and trust) in order to reveal his or her awesomeness to you.
People are multifaceted.
In conjunction with the first point, not everyone is a one-dimensional being who can be categorized into one specific category. Someone can be both witty and serious, just as he or she can be sassy and sensitive.
First impressions are supposed to be a glimpse into what someone is like, not a final call to who he or she truly is.
As fun as inhabiting the deductive role of Sherlock might be, keep in mind that even the most deceitful people out there (aka psychopaths and narcissists) have initially fooled people into thinking that they were charmers.
Your judgment can impair your perception.
We can't all be Mother Teresa; the everyday person will initially judge someone before getting to know him or her.
Based on a person's overall demeanor, style and physical appearance, we size someone up and make our own conclusions about the type of person he or she truly is.
Just because she dresses in a formal manner doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a prude, or just because he wore his long hair under a cap doesn’t mean he spends his days smoking joints in his mother’s basement.
If someone is different from what we’re normally used to, we judge him or her to an even greater extent. Let’s do ourselves a favor and not rush to conclusions about a person after the initial meeting.
Your present emotional state and the people you’re around can impact the way you act.
Think about the initial job interview you had or that time you went to a party and barely knew anyone.
Your uncomfortable state may have made you come across a certain way, aka shy, reserved or perhaps even more awkward than you could possibly imagine yourself being.
More often than not, a combination of your emotional state and a novel situation you’re placed in can make you project a less than genuine version of yourself.
Rewind to your high school days, where your reserved self had you dubbed initially as the “shy loner” or “anti-social” when you knew deep down, it was more a result of not fitting in and choosing to stay alone rather than associate yourself with hypocrites.
Keep this in mind next time you’re on a first date with someone who seems to have gone tongue-tied.
Instead of calling him or her out as awkwardly shy, think about how your presence and this person's current emotional state can impact his or her ability to act differently around you.
A short timeframe limits our ability to get to know someone at his or her core.
It goes without saying that first impressions are limiting in many ways. Sure, we can get either a positive or negative vibe about a person, but more often than not, it really limits our ability to get to know someone beyond a superficial level.
People aren’t all that easy to figure out; there are layers behind a persona and sometimes, in order to peel those layers back, time is an essential factor to do so.
After all, people are complex creatures who often surprise us in more ways than expected.
That guy who struck you as having no romantic bone in his body could possibly be more romantic than you might think, or that girl who seemed tough on the exterior may actually be a true softie.
In the end, time is a valuable asset. So, ladies and gents, don’t jump on the first impression bandwagon and think you've got someone figured out already because chances are, you don’t.
Be patient, and don’t let a first impression be the guiding point to someone's overall demeanor. Everyone deserves more than just an initial judgment call.
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