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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Myth of the First Impression, First Impressions are not as Accurate as we think.

The saying goes that the first impression is always the last impression. It is something we have been brought up to believe over the course of our lives through a product of conditional and subliminal. To put it more accurately it would be fair to say that the first impressions are usually the more lasting one's when it comes to other people, These are the images or perceptions that stick in our minds and we experience what somewhat call a mental road block that distorts or influences how our senses and perception reacts to future signals or communication coming from the person following the first impression. The first impression that the other person leaves on us, whether good or bad sticks around whether we are the judgmental types or the open minded.

The truth of the matter how ever is that if we keep a slightly open mind and think objectively for a moment. First impressions are not necessarily accurate and might not reflect the true image of the person we are meeting. Firstly I would like to point that out that impression building begins even before we actually meet a new person for the very first time. It begins with our perception. Over the course of our lives, as a result of various experiences, various people and through conditional and subliminal we develop our unique perception and outlook on life. Now I am a person who favors diversity and values the different opinions and attitudes that new people bring into the social setting. Due to all of this, we have a certain level of expectation of what we expect the other person that we are about to meet. For example, when we meet a new person through a friend or in other friends friend of a friend, we expect unconsciously that the person our friend is about to introduce to use would share some similarities to our friend or would fit certain characteristics we expect some one of that age or background to bring with themselves. That is not the only thing that shapes our attitude towards the new person even prior to any interaction. At times it is human nature to do a quick back ground check on the person that we have just met or are about to meet, and sometimes what we hear might influence us when interacting with the new person. In other words, what I am trying to say is, already an impression is created in our minds due to a word of mouth. Word of Mouth could be good or bad, we could be hearing pleasant or unpleasant things from a person we check up with, and based on what we have heard, we judge and we observe the smallest of things. In a nutshell for example, we are about to meet someone new, we check up on the person from someone we might know mutually, if we do not hear good things, in a way our mind is made up even before the other person leaves their own independent first impression.

Even if we take back ground checks and pre-determined perceptions out of the equation. There are still a lot of inaccuracies when it comes to first impressions which make determining the other person based on a first impression as somewhat controversial and questionable. Other variables and factors are always at play that can have an effect on the outcome of the first impression. These include the person’s physical health, when we meet someone for the very first time it is entirely possible the person might be unwell, might be down with a fever or something, which might affect the person’s full potential in a social situation. When one is unwell and is meeting people, it is already a daunting task managing ones self in a social situation, let alone take full advantage of it or show your true self. Another variable which plays some role in the first impression scenario is the shyness level of the new person. At times people we meet are shy around new people, or people they are being introduced to, it takes some time for a person to be able to move into a slight comfort zone with new people. My best guess from personal experience would be that it takes till the third time for a person to be able to really move into the comfort zone around new people. I am stating this based on the fact that the second interaction creates some level of familiarity which breaks the ice, while the third interaction is re visiting familiarity after the ice has been broken allowing people to slightly move into their comfort zones.  Observe and see for yourself, by the time we meet a new person for the third time, we as well as the other person in Question are relatively more comfortable with each other. For such an observation to be made however, a proper social interaction would be recommended as opposed to a casual bumping into people.

As an individual myself I have always truly valued diversity and the different set of values, beliefs, characteristics and opinions that people bring into the room. I suppose it is a product of living overseas in a multicultural society, where contrary to what many people believe, diversity in society is embraced and valued as opposed to being treated as an excuse for possible friction. It is due to my values of in favour of embracing diversity that I argue that we should all keep an open mind when it comes to meeting and interacting with new people as opposed to going with a slightly closed box mind. If we keep an open mind and optimistically think that not all people we meet will be selfish with some personal agenda, we are opening ourselves up to great opportunities and people that might come our way Most importantly when we are meeting new people, we should always practice and observe common courtesy, as the lack of basic common courtesy is what could spark unwanted friction and misunderstanding.

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