How to React When Your First Impression Is Negative

impressionsSomeone found this blog recently by searching for the title of this post. I talked about first impressions last summer, but I don’t remember ever discussing what to do with them.

Here’s the thing – first impressions aren’t always correct.

Some people have silver tongues when you first meet them but quickly reveal serious character flaws as your friendship grows.  And I’ve known socially awkward people who have a heart of gold once you get to know them. (Of course the opposite is true for both scenarios as well).

It’s impossible to know ahead of time if your first impression will turn out to be accurate, so I keep those thoughts in mind for the future and see what other clues they drop about their personality, character, and worldview.

No one can keep up a facade forever. Eventually you will figure out if they’re someone you can rely on to help you through rough patches in life, if they’re the kind of person who will gossip about you behind your back, if they’re willing to be honest with you when you’re in the wrong. A negative first impression might be reinforced, but it also might be neutralized by the way you see them behave in other settings. We’ve all experienced bad days, and we all make a terrible first impression on someone sooner or later.

Or maybe I’m the only one brave enough to admit that. 😉

I am hesitant to discuss certain topics until I’ve known someone a long time, though. Sometimes I’ve probably been too cautious, but I’d rather have a good idea of how someone will react than jump into a sensitive discussion without any idea where I might land. A negative first impression will make me even more willing to avoid certain topics, but I don’t have problem changing my mind if the person I’m getting to know demonstrates  that we share common values.

No, that is not a veiled reference to religion, politics, or ideology. I am drawn to kind, compassionate, playful, inclusive folks, and they’re found everywhere.

Readers, how would you answer this question?

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