First impressions…

By , January 29, 2013 4:38 am

… how much do they mean? And does it make more of a difference at work or with friends?

This is sort of a continuation on yesterday’s post pointing out my flaws… should this be my “flaw” week?


image from here

Hypocrite alert! Last Thursday I was telling Anne how I wished I had trusted my instinct after a first impression left me thinking someone was quite negative. I hung out with that person a second and third time and they turned out just to be just as negative as the first encounter. Bummer. It killed my mood both times. I was telling myself “they must have just been having a bad day before…” Lesson learned!

But! On Saturday, Bobbi and I were having a conversation about how someone we thought we wouldn’t really click with turns out to be hilarious and one of our favorite people to hang with! So! Which is it, Kim?! Do you want to go with your first impressions, or not?! Lesson not learned?

Well, it’s not fair to judge someone based on meeting them once when they might just be having an awful (or off) day, right? And, everyone deserves a second chance?

But gah, sometimes people do leave such bad first impressions! And I feel like sometimes you just know, based on a first impression,  if you are really going to click with someone… or if you wouldn’t care if you crossed paths with them ever again. It’s so interesting, how you just know. Hmm. Maybe this has something to do with being a good judge of character? Or just knowing the type of people you like to be around. Maybe someone likes having a really negative friend… uh…

What kind of first impression do you think you leave with someone?

In my personal life – probably loud and obnoxious. At work, uh, loud and obnoxious to my internal team. Maybe quiet to those who don’t know me well!

29 Responses to “First impressions…”

  1. Jen says:

    As a teacher, I think first impressions are pretty accurate. I “meet” a lot of students every year and I can usually tell the first few days what kind of student they will be. Sometimes, they change and evolve over the year as they grow up though. It’s fun to watch them turn into adults over the years in high school.

  2. Heather says:

    I always tell my son to give people a second chance – they could have been having a bad day the first time you met them. I hope people do the same for me – I’m not the happy person I am at 3pm opposed to 8am. 🙂

  3. Christina says:

    I would probably give off the impression that I am weird, awkward and loud. Its just who I am. I wish people could give others a second chance.

  4. kelsey says:

    I always remember the first time I met someone but I try not to let it be how I think of them-if that makes sense? Some people are really shy or a tough nut to crack so it takes time to really get to know them (aka their first impression may suck but they are actually an awesome peep!)!

  5. Emily says:

    I’ve had many instances where I met someone and didn’t like them at first, but once I got to know them I did like them. So I try to give everyone some time – hard as it may be sometimes! I think peoples’ first impressions of me are usually that I have a lot of energy – but once they get to know me they realize that it’s not always the case, LOL.

    • kilax says:

      That was definitely my first impression of you! And that you were a great listener and thoughtful. I like that you ask people things. I am usually the asker. I like to be the askee too!

  6. diane says:

    I am amazed how many people (especially at work) tell me I seem really positive and not easily ruffled. I just think I am really good at hiding my true feelings (especially at work).
    I struggle with introverted/shy people. I often read them as aloof when they are not. But I also sometimes lose patience with people who are not as open as I am and think they are rude. That’s not really fair, so I guess I am flawed as well. Ha ha ha.

    • kilax says:

      Oh gosh. I could go on and on about hiding true feelings at work. I dislike it. It makes me feel fake. But I do it too.

      I bet if I thought about it I could think of a few times I wish people would be more open 🙂

  7. First impressions do matter but I try to wait to make any real judgements about whether I will click with someone until I’ve hung out with them a few times. I think it’s really interesting and cool to see someone really open up after spending more time together!

    • kilax says:

      It certainly is! And sometimes, you meet someone briefly and don’t have a chance to chat much! I felt that way when I met you at the Schiller Chiller, and was so happy we got to chat more at the holiday party at Erin’s 🙂

  8. Anne says:

    I think I come off as either really funny or really awkward when I meet someone new, based on the other person’s sense of humor and what kind of day I’m having. So because of that I don’t always put a ton of stock into first impressions, but that said I can usually tell if I’ll click with someone or not pretty quickly. I can’t actually think of an instance there where I’ve been wrong on that. If I think of the first time I’ve met most of my close friends, we got along so easily right away and just got each other. And people with whom that didn’t happen right away are still more along the lines of acquaintances than friends, in some cases years later. But I also think there’s a big difference between my first impression of someone (what I think of them), and me clicking with someone with right away (how well we get along). Um, does that make sense?

    ETA: Also, yay flaw week!

    • kilax says:

      I should have sent this whole draft to you last night, because I think the flaw (lol) in this post is that I am likening first impressions too much to clicking with someone right away! First Impressions are more of a judgement thing, and I think I was thinking more of me clicking with people and wondering if they would be someone I would want to hang with.

      Should I continue with Flaw Week? I was thinking about writing tomorrow on my weird need for interaction. You will probably have input on this since you work from home.

      • Anne says:

        I actually didn’t think about them as being two separate things until I started commenting though. They’re somewhat related, and probably tend to influence each other.

        Definitely keep going with Flaw Week! I can’t wait to see what’s wrong with you tomorrow 🙂 Maybe you should make t-shirts for it too? Or is that too much?

        • kilax says:

          This is why I have to write this stuff so people can tell me where my thinking has gone wrong 😉

          Hmm. Maybe instead of t-shirts, day of the week underwear? Monday – Grudge Holder, Tuesday – Judgmental, Wednesday – Needy… what should Thursday and Friday be?!

  9. gingerfoxxx says:

    I always fear i give off a terrible first impression. I suppose thats why i try not to put too much into first impressions i form of others.

  10. Kandi says:

    I’ve definitely had people surprise me based on first (and second and third and fourth… etc) impressions. It turned out that the obnoxious behaviour that I couldn’t stand only bothered me when it didn’t include me (i.e., this girl in high school was a total bitch but when we somehow became friends and I understood her personality more she was ok with me). I guess that means that obnoxious people are more tolerable (and sometimes fun to be around) when you are being obnoxious with them.
    All that being said, I’ve learned that I give off different impressions in different sitiations. When teachers didn’t know me well in schoool they assumed I was quiet. When they did know me well they knew I never shut up. I do often worry about how people perceive me but I never think to remember in the moment (which may be good or bad?).

  11. Sizzle says:

    I’ve been quick to judge people only to find out in time that they aren’t as bad as I made them out (circumstances created a false picture). But most of the time, I trust my gut. I used to work with a woman that all my co-worker friends liked and I just COULD NOT get it. She seems like such a phony, a back-stabber, a shitty worker, and immature. Her sense of humor was biting too and it made my coworkers act more biting when they were around her. I was so glad when she got fired. But they are all still friends with her and honestly? I chose to not hang out with them when she was invited and have since been sort of removed from that group. I can’t say I’m sad about it even though I hate that she “won” out over me. I worry that I don’t make a good first impression- like I am too talkative, too brash, too much.

  12. Erin says:

    Good questions! 95% of the time you come across as friendly, out-going and caring. The other 5% is when you’ve used up all your social collateral for the day 🙂 Then you’re just quiet 🙂

    I try to give people the benefit of the doubt but I’ve definitely met with people who want to be combative right off the bat. Those people turn me off and I don’t want to be around them again. If they’re just quiet or awkward I will definitely give them another chance!

  13. I always try to give people a few shots before I fully make up my mind about them, because I’ve found that the people I didn’t expect to like, are some of my very favorites. That said, I do think you can get a bad (or good) vibe off someone right away, and it’ll be pretty accurate. Maybe it depends on the person?
    I think I probably leave a pretty . . . memorable first impression. Especially now that I’m older and more comfortable being 100% myself in all situations. Hopefully that’s a good thing, but you can’t always be sure. 🙂

  14. Meghan says:

    Oh my gosh, I give a TERRIBLE first impression! I’m usually so awkward and either don’t talk enough or talk too much. New people / groups make me super anxious, but then once you get to know me, I am a total goofball. I used to think a girl I worked with was a total witch, but now, she is one of my best friends:)

  15. Beth says:

    I try not to rely too much on my first impressions of people when I first meet them; I’ve often found that people I couldn’t stand at first are some of my favorite people when I really get to know them. I guess I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt becuase I hope that others will do the same for me. I think I can come off as standoff-ish sometimes because I sometimes get a little anxious in some social situations and worry that I may make the wrong impression.

  16. I admit that I’m definitely very quick to judge and form an opinion about someone. I honestly think it’s human nature to do so, but what you do next about it determines the kind of person you are. In my case, I ALWAYS give people a second chance because as you mentioned, first impressions aren’t always accurate. Great post!

  17. hmmm GREAT question!
    I think first impressions are very IMPORTANT. I don’t think you should be judged right off it, but it definitely happens eh. I’ve definitely had not-so-great first impressions about people, but it turned out to be completely wrong and we’ve ended up being great friends!

  18. Maggie says:

    My natural inclination is to be kind of shy around someone I don’t know. I’ve forced myself to work on this as an adult, but I know in college, once I got to know some of the women in my dorm (who later became good friends), my “shyness” came across as being stuck up.

    I usually give someone awhile before I decide how I feel about him or her. It took me almost a year to really figure out how I felt about my “new” boss. (Guess she’s not my new boss anymore if it’s been a year, huh?)

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