First Impressions – Should They Really Count?

image

So today I want to discuss a famous expression and belief that many hold dear to their heart (or head) – first impressions.

I recently got into a huge debate with a friend about first impressions (although her sister called it arguing … Purely because I didn’t take her side 🙄). If there’s anything my friends know, it’s that I love debating … 99% of the time just for the sake of it. I’ll even debate my own arguments I’ve put forward and think about it at night and then think about it ALL night but it’s usually not so much a cohesive train of thought.

My friends opinion: first impressions are everything. You either get along with someone or you don’t and/or the first impression you get lasts. Now this debate originated from a recent date that she had which was arranged by two relatives of hers (modern arranged marriage process, guys). She’s more of a go-getter, corporate type and he is a shy teacher. (I was going to say introverted but being shy and introverted are not one and the same thing). Apparently he was a little overwhelmed by her bold and direct attitude from what she said about how the date went, although my other friend (incidentally her ex) said it was probably due to the fact that this wasn’t just a date for him, it was a potential marriage so therefore he was bricking it. Anyway, end result, she decided not to see him again because she felt they didn’t have a connection and his family was not as united as her family is and that that is her biggest priority in a marriage. Now the latter is fine, she’s very family oriented so she naturally would be looking for the same quality in a husband – even though, in an Asian culture, that attitude won’t always necessarily include the daughter-in-law as an actual member of the family and that anyone can create a false first impression of a big, happy family and once you get married, you realise that it was all an act (honestly, this does happen in some cases in Asian cultures, I’ve seen it happen to a former friends sister!). So ultimately it still goes back to not allowing first impressions to override actually getting to know the person better before deciding to pass any judgement on them. Unless they’re a sociopath, you’ll need some serious sort of Machiavelli detector shit to pick up on that or a therapist, I don’t know.

My other argument is that sometimes you might simply catch someone on a bad day and that doesn’t necessarily make them a bad person, it just makes them a human being. However, she said even if she was able to capture two first impressions – one on a good day and one on a bad day – the bad impression would override the good impression as its a preview of how the person will behave under stressful circumstances. For me, I believe that’s a more ‘it’s all relative’ counter-argument because there are way too many types of ways a person can react to a bad situation and different degrees to what constitutes ‘bad’ and only a narcissist would believe they’re exempt from bad behaviour. As long as the person is not raping, abusing, unjustifiably murdering someone (if it’s not absolutely necessary self-defence), even being a bystander to these actions or harming another person then it shouldn’t matter. However, the last behaviour listed can be considered quite shaky as I’m sure we’ve all harmed someone in some way, whether intentionally or not, at least at one point in our lives. A person can genuinely redeem them-self, feel remorse and change their behaviour but if we let that first impression count as our overall impression we probably won’t be able to stick around to see how they change that behaviour and overall become a better person (provided they didn’t commit either of the first series of crimes that is, excluding the latter).

An example of a first impression gone terribly wrong for me and a few others was during college when I first met this charming, bubbly and gorgeous girl. I think pretty much everyone was taken by her, men and women alike, and we all thought ‘aw, what a nice girl.’ And behold.. I’m sure you know what exactly went down. This is what Machiavelli informed us about – charming behaviour that is nothing but tricks and illusions, consolidating why charm is synonymous to bewitching. There’s a difference between being charming and genuinely nice – you say what you really mean as opposed to what you’re expected to say by society in order to please people. Anyway, she went and did some terribly questionable things that I simply can’t be arsed to go into. P.s my friend from the early paragraph was also friends with her too. This just goes to show how deceptive first impressions can be, it doesn’t take a lot to deceive people.

Anyway, overall (trying to make use of my English Literature and Language education) I don’t believe in wholly relying on first impressions. Yes sometimes we intuitively know just by looking at someone exactly what they’re thinking (well I don’t know about you but I certainly do 🤓, just kidding… Not at all) it doesn’t necessarily mean that this is this person overall. We’re human beings, we’re complex, we’re layered and we are not just a first impression. I want to draw a parting science analogy: when we perform a scientific experiment, sample size is important and why is that? Because it needs to be tested in different conditions, to test the strengths and weaknesses of the subject … And then we can create an average, overall opinion. I also think ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is also fitting even though the expression is based on physical appearances. You’ve just the read the cover, not the entire book. (Well that might take a while, at least sample a chapter or two).

Side note – why am I so sarcastic?

Anyways… Let me know your thoughts and opinions. 🎈✌🏽️

25 Comments

  1. I think first impressions do and do not matter. I think it is circumstantial. If you are going in for a job interview and you only have so long to make a good impression, that may very well count. If you are meeting someone for the first time and don’t click at first but then over time start to get to know each other better, the first impression really doesn’t and didn’t matter.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s an interesting thought. Although, some companies do invite you for a second interview for further assessment and will usually have a three month probationary period. So yes, they will have to like you enough from the first interview to invite you for the second round.. But the probationary period is there to assess consistency and to validate the impression you created during the interview stage(s).

      Like

      1. Good point! I think if you left a bad impression though you pretty much screwed yourself. I think the probationary period is more there to evaluate you in ways such as, if you can and will show up every day on time and not continue to call in, etc. I think that very much differs from a first impression. An impression can change but a FIRST impression cannot. I love having discussions about debatable subjects!

        Like

        1. What do you mean by not continue to call in? I do feel as though there are some people who just look at a person and decide that nope, not for me without ever really giving them a chance. Have you ever looked at someone, a complete stranger, and felt their eyes burning with dislike and yet you haven’t a spoken a word to them and you’ve literally just met them and been in their presence for just one second. I’ve never agreed with putting people in a box.
          This is awesome, I love debating too!

          Like

          1. By continuing to call in, I mean, during your probationary period you are not allowed to call into work more than a few times, if any. I have felt that look before and it is very saddening. I too have never agreed with putting people into a box.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting because first impressions do really count in some situations, and yet we can make a colossal fool of ourselves in the way you describe. Personally, I like to hold back and then I’m something of a slow burn!

    I don’t think we should solely rely on first impressions: I’ve met some people who seemed to be the real deal but would doubtless rob you blind! Keep you antenna up, I’d say!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! They could rob you blind, bearing in mind most manipulative people, psychopaths etc will put a face on in order to get what they want. You would have to be extremely skilled to figure this out just from a first impression. It would take a while to differentiate between their actions, words and intention.
      The opposite could apply to wherein a reserved person might dislike an extremely chatty person when they first meet and then come to realise a while later that this actually balances them out in a way.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice work, a lot of people knowing that many people depend on first impression do their best to keep it best only to later unconsciously reveal their true self. Smart job interviewers take first impression serious, but their further questions would prove you wrong that they don’t solely consider your first appearance or prearranged nicety as a conclusion that you are the best candidate. They would make you prove it, so job interviews are not really, it’s only normal that we dress well and prepare well for job interviews. First impression is just the first step to knowing anyone;there are many other steps to climb up to properly see a clearer picture of the person. A good first impression during interviews does not make one exempted from further questions to prove the person is truly what they appear or claim to be.

    Even married couples break up after so many years of being together most times, on discovering that the other partner turns out to be someone totally strange from the person they thought they knew so well.

    I don’t take first impressions serious, It may catch my attention but not my trust.

    If you truly care to know someone deeply, you won’t stop at first impression. If you really love someone, you will risk the time and energy to dig deeper before concluding they are bad. You can’t judge the bottom of an ocean from the top, you take the time and effort to go deeper.

    How can anyone know a human being of 10, 20 or 50 years in just one day? It took them several years to become the person they are now/today, and one thinks he/she can know all about them in just one day? The judge must be the smartest Einstein ever!

    Nice work Sophia, it’s a very deep thought…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right that the smart interviewers cannot truly take first impressions or even the first job interview too seriously but I do believe that it’s possible for a competent/talented worker to give a bad first impression due to nerves so I do feel that some people get struck off without even being given a chance, their actual capabilities not being properly presented. The probationary period is a great way to get a brief understanding of the potential of the employee and like you said to prove themselves but perhaps the best way to do so is to do a role play in the interview so they can actually show what they’re capable of.

      The married couples breaking up due to changes in personalities is a tricky one… I think circumstances can change people and at times they just become more of who they truly are. I don’t know with divorced couples who divorce on that basis as it is a very it’s all relative case, every case differs and can be dependent on personal values/logic. As an individual, I hate the idea of leaving a friend/partner unless that specified “change” so irretrievably changes the relationship equation which ironically is one of quite a few legal stipulations for divorce. It must be such a transformation that cannot even be worked on. If it can be worked on, if it has a good chance of being bettered then I will stay. Just like our general impression of people… can we work on this? Is there a good chance for this person to become better? If so, let’s do it.

      “I don’t take first impressions serious, It may catch my attention but not my trust.” A 100% correct!

      “You can’t judge the bottom of an ocean from the top, you take the time and effort to go deeper.

      How can anyone know a human being of 10, 20 or 50 years in just one day? It took them several years to become the person they are now/today, and one thinks he/she can know all about them in just one day?” YES!!! Forget Einstein, you need to be extremely arrogant to believe you can assume so much on just a first meeting, you need to really believe you hold god-like qualities to believe you can assume who a person of decades is in one day. Perfectly said, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post! I would say that in my experience, first impressions of appearances are rarely helpful, whereas first impressions of someone’s character tend to be accurate. In other words, I think once you’ve gotten a glimpse of what type of person someone really is, unless some major life change happens to them, people tend to be fairly consistent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! 😊
      I completely agree that first impressions of appearances are unhelpful! Perhaps, they fell somewhere or their clothes were stolen, it’s a big world anything can happen.
      I guess it can sometimes depend on the accuracy of an individuals lens in predicting another’s personality. And yes, some people do tend to be fairly consistent but I’ve definitely seen quite a few people whose actions sometimes don’t reflect their words to the point that predicting their behaviour is extremely difficult. And I think in terms of major life changes that changes a person, because of this I’ll do sporadic re-evaluations… I don’t want to judge someone on past wrongdoings if they have genuinely changed for the better!

      Like

  5. Not only the first imoression but every impression counts 😊
    All the meeting we do with anyone is like the thread and the matter is no different even in the interview 😊

    Whenever a thread get tangled what we do is to first find the end and thats what our mind do 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great analogy. Nonetheless, even if the thread gets tangled, we fix it but we don’t throw it away. People are so much more than first impressions and I don’t think this is the kindest way to treat humans. It’s a kindness and humanity thing.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m just not an “it is what it is” person. Just like telling people to be patient when they are victims of abuse, it’s an excuse to just accept it as human nature because we can’t excuse crappy beliefs if they’re negatively harming others and judging someone based on first impressions is a far too vague concept with holes of logic in various and numerous places. We can do better and we should always strive to do better.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. You are right sophia judging someone on first impression is wrong 😊 but while judging your first meeting will hit his /her mind, that is the nature 😊 if you give decision on this , this is wrong 😊 😊

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I just don’t do this, I actively try to refrain from doing so. It’s a mark of arrogance to assume that I can know so much from one meeting and that’s why I wrote this post. We must challenge norms, we must right the wrongs we do on a daily basis. But thank you for understanding!

              Liked by 1 person

  6. I think first impressions are important and count a lot. We are wired to “judge” someone within a few minutes of meeting them so I think, either we want it or not, we have an opinion rather quick. If it’s right or not is a different question 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true… whether we want it or not it does happen. But I cannot hold on to it because I know people are far too complex to be summed up in one first meeting and that’s the way you make it right… by not holding on to judgements.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s