Theory of first impression

First impressions are quick, really really quick, messy, prejudiced and pretty unreliable yet powerful enough to print almost a permanent image of a person in your mind. You can’t clear the image of a person that you captured in the first meeting. It’s like a mark made by a permanent marker in your brain which is extremely difficult to erase or wash out. There have been several instances when I had fallen for the felony of false first impressions. I, once, assumed one of my teachers to be not so good in his subject and later I realized that he was the best teacher I had ever had. Guilt was what followed later. Similarly, the same person who seems so impressive to you at first, turns out to be a loggerhead who doesn’t deserve even one of your ten candies that you had in your pocket. First impressions are very tricky and are like snap judgement that we make in a fraction of a second. Unless you are Sherlock (I know you are not), odds usually are not in your favor to make an absolutely correct notion about someone you just saw or met. First impressions may take you for a seemingly pleasant temporary ride or bring pouring rain to your otherwise shiny day. So is it bad or good? If you think a little, it’s neither and it’s both. From love at first sight to a brutal fight on the party night, anything can happen with the first impression. That’s why it’s very important to know about it. I have been, on many occasions, culprit, witness and victim of the crime called first impression. And that’s why I am writing about it today.

The tendency to get a first impression is an inherent psychological trait of humans which you can observe in other animals too. It’s a subconscious and spontaneous process which you have no control on most of the times. You might have called a guy, an A, and a girl, a B (If you don’t know what I meant, call me! ), a million times in your mind without even knowing why you said that at the first place. Let’s understand how it works even though it’s little boring. When it comes about judging people for the very first time, the impression we create of them is solely a mixed image of our past memories and the outer appearance of the person. We add our emotions with our stored memories with the person’s external personality. Here we go! Abracadabra! We have calculated the character of that poor person. If reading the character of a person was that easy, the world would have been little better place. All of us know that it’s not an easy task to understand the intricacies of human character.

No matter how neutral a person we try to be, all our decisions are biased and tilted towards our personal character, culture, limited knowledge and experience. At any point of time, we are under the influence of something or the other while going through our day to day life. Outside we might look free, but inside we all are trapped by our own defective logic, personal interests and needs. We see the world as we want and expect it to be, and not as what it actually is. This is how we are blinded by the flaws of first impression. The accuracy with which you observe and judge the behavior of someone is always erroneous and needs more data about the person than just his/her outfit, color and face. 

Being aware of your surroundings and your own thoughts is very important to check yourself from committing the crime of wrong judgments. Being rational and open to new perspectives helps one to escape the trap of first impression. There will be times when you will be on the receiving end and believe me, that hurts real bad when someone passes a judgmental statement about you which has no connection with your character at all. Those are the times when you will have to try to be patient and prudent enough to ignore those opinions and people, give a soft smile and move on with your next task in hand never to come back to counter their words. Such experiences will help you in longer run in protecting you from making the same mistakes that others do. Let the first impression be just the first but not last. Listen to the people and their stories. Understand their world, connect with them if you feel so. Know the people first so that you can make meaningful relationships that last…..

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