We spend way too much time trying to impress other people, and quite often people we really don’t care about anyway. It’s one of those little quirks that humans have that makes no logical sense whatsoever.
I suppose it is part of our desire to be popular, to be liked and respected by our peers. A throwback to the days when we would live in small tribes and your reputation and status meant the difference between being able to mate and pass on your genes and even life or death.
Imagine you’re in such a tribe and you’re a good looking, if a little hairy chap with big strong muscles and height on your side. Life is sweet and everyone respects you. Then you do something really silly and suddenly your social status drops like the proverbial rock you use for a stool.
The consequences are pretty serious.
But in today’s world, the consequences are a little more trivial and in our ever expanding world if someone doesn’t approve of us we can simply discard them and find someone else to talk to.
I could be wrong but that WAS the whole point of MySpace wasn’t it?
So does the first impression count?
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and I would like to congratulate captain obvious for thinking that one up. It is true though, the first impression is very important as it will go a long way to shaping your relationship with a person.
Whether we like it or not, we are being judged all the time. The way you dress, the way you have your hair, what tattoos or piercings you have, your physical condition, your accent, how articulate you are and yes, your skin colour.
All these things add up to the ‘you’ that the world sees. The 7 billion pair of eyes that you could potentially bump into on this planet will all use the above information to form a very specific opinion of who you are, your character and a hundred other things that are probably false too.
It’s just the way it is. But wait a second; do we HAVE to worry about this first impression?
To an extent you do. I mean if you have a job interview coming up, then dear Lord wash your face before you leave the house. Put on some nice smart clothes, flatten that Mohawk and stand up straight.
If you lack a bit of common sense then I’ve just given you a massive head start on the other candidates there. You can thank me another time though; I’ve got an article to write!
Okay, where was I? Oh yes, you have to pay attention to how you come across especially as science now says we decide on someone within the first 15 seconds. So we would be foolhardy to ignore this.
There is a problem with this however and it is because every single person in the world will view you differently. It’s a touchy subject but if you’re of Middle Eastern origin and you’re fiddling about with your shoes then you will be viewed differently at an airport than a middle class Caucasian doing the same thing.
If you are a woman who is trying to get a job as a stock broker in Wall Street, you will be viewed differently than a twenty something male with a confident demeanour.
If you live in the UK and you have walked down the street late at night past a small group of young men wearing tracksuits and hoodies you will probably recall forming an instant opinion of who they are, their background, their probable income, level of intelligence and potential future criminal record.
Oh they will have formed an opinion of you too don’t worry.
It’s really not worth trying to change people’s opinions
People will see the ‘you’ that they see and there is little you can do about it. The way we are brought up, including our country, level of education and the influence of our parents and peers have shaped who we are and how we view the outside world.
Think about the last time you went on a hot date. How did you act?
I’m willing to bet that you tried to act more confident. How did that work out for you? It was hard work wasn’t it? Could you keep this up for the next 50 years? (Providing it went well of course).
The person you went out with had formed their opinion when they first saw you and the following 15 seconds were spent verifying their initial impression.
It’s the same with job interviews. There is no point trying to be something you’re not because it won’t make much difference.
People will see the ‘you’ that they see.
The only person you can be is yourself. There is no point trying to be anything else.
Those very helpful individuals who will take great enjoyment in tell you ‘to be yourself’ are actually right to a certain extent.
People will form their opinions of you regardless of what you do so don’t worry about it. If you want to impress the opposite sex by dressing a certain way then by all means go ahead, but by turning some people on you will turn others off. Nothing is universal.
Like I said earlier, each of us will view the same person in a multitude of different ways, and we do this because we are all unique. Each of us has our own personality so we should embrace it and not be afraid of demonstrating who we are.
You are you and nothing else matters.
(Yes that’s me in the image.. don’t ask)