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 😉