First impressions are difficult. First impressions are also important, or so they say. We suit up for interviews, we doll up for first dates, we swot up on interesting conversation. We do all this to make a good first impression. We want to be liked by others. We want to be more than liked, we want to be hired, we want to be friends, we want to be more than friends. There is an agenda between every first “Hello” You don’t stop someone to talk to them just because you felt like a chat.
You walk into a lecture hall and you choose where to sit very carefully. Do you sit with the mature students down the front, the “cool” kids down the back, the hipster in the middle or the loner at the side? We do a quick survey of a person before we even talk to them. We see what they are wearing, we see their body language, we take their appearance and how they carry themselves before we ever make the decision to talk, or inevitably, to not talk to them.
We assume a lot upon first impressions. First impressions are rarely the correct impression we should get of a person. It’s fake. It’s a forced conversation and act to try and be the person you think is likable. You hide all your weirdness and be “normal”. Have you ever met someone then realised weeks later just how odd they are? I guarantee you have said to a friend that you “thought they were normal” at one stage. I’m not saying that every time you meet someone for the first time it’s completely fake but it’s not 100% them.
We all go into interviews and spout an abnormal amount of bullshit. We all try and impress without sounding cocky. It’s natural to want to be liked by others and so in order to do so we sell ourselves. First impressions are like advertisements. Highlight all the good qualities, oversell the product a small bit then make the person aware that there is a catch by a quick flash of “terms and conditions apply”. We act perfectly nice to a person, we ask all the right questions then we leave a hint of our own strangeness to see how it is gauged. Like a trailer for a film you get a small glimpse into the full person after a first encounter but then you have to go and see the film to find out the rest of the story.
At the end of the day first impressions are tiring. The effort in selling yourself to a potential acquaintance. The awkwardness when you both realise you have nothing in common and this is never going to work. The dance around small talk. I despise small talk but it’s unavoidable. The initial hello’s, how are you, name, age, course, year, from, living etc. The routine is the same every time. This is probably how I make such bad first impressions because I hate asking people all those questions. So, I either ask them and be awkward about doing so, or I don’t ask anything and come off looking like a snob.
I make terrible first impressions. Nearly every one of my friends will tell you that they thought I was a snob when they first met me. How I give this impression is beyond me yet it’s been said so many times it must be true. They always tell me that they were wrong of course but it still makes me think, how do I have any friends? Then I realised that everyone hates first impressions. Many people I’m friends with, had you asked me directly after encountering them for the first time would I be friends with this person I probably would have said no. The key to making friends etc is not first impressions but persistence. First impressions aren’t the making or breaking of an encounter, just the first step. So if you meet me and think I’m snobby, excuse it and give me a chance. I’m nice, I promise.