On First Impressions

Everyone says “First impressions matter”. Recently, I ran into this quote and it made me think;

“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong.”

— Lemony Snicket

Well, I haven’t had much time to think about anything other than diseases and anatomy and surgeries and bacteria lately, but it struck me how much of an irony both sentences create. First of all though, let’s discuss the quote which FYI I believe is completely true. Like it says, it may not always apply because I’ve met one or two people with whom I immediately clicked, was completely enamored and even after I got to know them, I only liked them more, loved them. I will however say that out of everyone I’ve met in my entire semi adult life, about 90% did not turn out to be what I thought they were in both good ways and bad.

I have no right to assert that this is the case for everyone; for all I know, I may not have the best judgement in the world but my point is, a lot of the time, humans judge wrongly and a lot of the time we meet a person for the first time at a time when he or she is acting a long way outside his character field. This is how life works unfortunately.

This post was born because in the past two or three weeks, I’ve hung out with/ gotten to know better a lot of people who made the worst first impressions and I honestly was wrong about them. That had me re-evaluating all my relationships. I’ve discovered that I’m friends with a lot of people with whom I wasn’t necessarily impressed with when I first met and I absolutely love them now! I have also thought of a lot of people by whom I was simply captivated but who I realized either did not share my values or just didn’t bring forth any form of positivity in the long run. I’ve also tried to figure out on what basis I judged both sets of people and it struck me that when we first meet people, we judge them based on that moment– what they look like, what mood they’re in, how they treat us, what they smell like, what they say. We judge them without possibly knowing what sort of day they’ve had or what problems they may be facing.

I’m not granting everyone the permission to roam free and be rude and only be nice to people who know us well. No. I’m saying never let first impressions define anything. It is the weakest thing by which to judge anyone. And so what do we do? Wait. Watch. Let time pass. These past few weeks, I’ve realized that everyone has some idea of what they expect you to be, of what they think you are and they become shocked when you aren’t the person their minds have created before even getting to know you. My mother is one of those people with powerful people instincts and really almost all her predictions as to what sort of individual a person is after the first meeting are right. Still, she has been wrong a few times.

So, this is what I’m saying: people are never what they seem like the first time you meet them. They’re either better, or worse or something your mind never even imagined. So, make it a goal, to not judge based on first impressions and if your gut says a person is trouble, find a way to be careful and still give that person a chance because really, your gut works based on what your senses perceive. The same goes for people who seem too good to be true.

But again, some people are better than you ever imagined 😉

  • ”.. never let first impressions define anything”. That’s me. I’ve always believed this. But… as a result of never taking first impressions as seriously as the popular quote would have me do, I tend – more often than not – to not remember you the next time we meet. Another story niyen.

    Sent via Nokia Belle

    Best regards and God bless.

    Writer, linguist, friend. http://goonermemoirs.com http://punkenstein.wordpress.com

    “What we do in life echoes in eternity”.

    • Not focusing on first impressions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t remember people after you first meet them :p

  • I mean
    This is spot on right.
    We need more impressions beyond the first to have an opinion which won’t still be hundred percent right.
    Good. Good. Good. Post.
    I think I am a first time commenter. Though I am subscribed. It doesn’t help that I get the complete post via email.
    Adjust ur settings love.
    Go to settings> reading and tick summary rather than full text.

    • Thank you! And I’m happy to see your comment! 🙂 I’ve just done that.. Thanks a lot!

  • Something to think about. Love!

  • ah but it’s soo hard to let go of those first impressions!

    • I know!! But sometimes its simply necessary 🙂

  • True that ma’am!..

    Hello in here!…anybody miss me in here?….lol..I kid…

    Time, they say is the true test for all things/decisions…I couldn’t agree more with your take on this issue.I uh,recently (well maybe not so recent) began to make a conscious decision to relate with people with as little bias as possible at first meeting, then pick up vibes and messages to make an informed decision about ’em consequently…because I realized,my first impressions(the bad ones more often than not) turned out wrong….its easy to say therefore,that I understand where you coming from….i’ve also had people say they thought I was a meanie,snob or just plain religious and judgemental at that(i’m guessing my glasses and perpetually serious faced,squinty-eyed demeanor didn’t help matters) until they got to know me a̶n̶d̶ ̶d̶i̶s̶c̶o̶v̶e̶r̶e̶d̶ ̶w̶h̶a̶t̶ ̶h̶a̶d̶ ̶b̶e̶e̶n̶ ̶m̶i̶s̶s̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶w̶h̶i̶l̶e̶ ̶. lol and discovered how truly amazing,genial and fun I could be ….
    I’m also learning to be flexible in my creation of profiles in this big head of mine….i.e, the way I really see them in my minds eye,(their capabilities, their persona blah blah blah) ..I find it helps in the long run for one’s got a vivid imagination that snaps and stores at first meet(carriage,demeanour, orientations etc) ,consequently expecting people to act out the script in my memory slot for ’em that inevitably compounds issues in the budding relation…because, like it or not…we are constantly changing and evolving…

    Pheeew…me and my characteristic long comments and plenty oyibo sha…if compiled ’em all, I would prolly have blogposts for the next hundred years…lol

    Thank you once again for sharing…I appreciate writers who can pick a seemingly mundane,yet vital part of our lives and logically expound on it plus share amazing knowledge…its remarkable…and challenging too…

    So long dear ….

    • Seriously Lizzie! This is another post on its own..LOL

      @Afoma__I do agree that first impressions shouldn’t be the only basis by which we infer a person’s character or personality but then there are occasions when a first impression is all one gets and this could even be situations that could define an aspect of a person’s future and this may not be an expected event.
      I for one have made very wrong conclusions about people upon meeting them for the first time, so I understand the need for flexibility in character assessment but even at that there are some first impressions that are really imprinted on one’s mind and make it extremely hard to readjust your opinion of that person.

      • Another post?really?…oh well,if you insist dear…*shrugs*…
        You are afterall responsible for your interpretation…

        Wait up o!…Look who’s talking sef …
        Isn’t your own comment a mini post too?lol…
        *tongue out*
        Lemme alone jor

        How are you dear?its been awhile….

  • Ok, now that I know girls don’t care about first impressions anymore, I’ll try to leave a loserish-eight-grader first impression everywhere I go..

    “Semi Adult” life……… Hmm ok

    Well said.. Cheers