“First impressions are lasting impressions. So always remember to put your best foot forward,” says the wise old sage.
Ten times out of ten when you were told this, you believed it to be true. I believed it was true and I still believe this proverbial phrase to hold a slight degree of authenticity. First impressions do count, even when they shouldn’t. But let’s be honest, everyone judges each other when they first become acquainted. It’s something we do subconsciously. I do it. My friends do it. You do it. We all just do it ✔. After all, it’s when you FIRST meet them. So, however they speak or behave is all you have to go on. It’s literally the only thing you know about them.
But I want to make a point here because I don’t want you to believe everything that you are told. Plus, I’ve heard it’s good to challenge your beliefs to see how strong they are. So I’m going to play devil’s advocate here. Which means I’ll have to go against everything that I’ve been taught about first impressions to see if there is a significant inadequacy in the sage’s belief or simply to give you a new perspective.
To me again, the wise old sage says, “First impressions are lasting impressions. So always remember to put your best foot forward.”
To the sage, I say, “It takes a lifetime to know someone.”
I remember back in my Interpersonal COMM class we talked about something called “face” and “saving face” or something of that nature and the reasons as to why/how people use it. Face is essentially the image that people want to maintain for themselves and saving face is simply to maintain that reputation/public perception of you.
Now here’s why first impressions are dicey… most people tend to put their best face on when you meet them and some people fake their face causing it to be really hard to accurately know whether someone’s putting on show. It’s becoming progressively hard to determine who’s real and who’s fake. The Olivia Pope in you might say, “My gut tells me everything I need to know.”
Well honey, I hate to break it to you, but just as anything else in your life, your gut is only 50/50. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re wrong. Even when you have a good feeling about someone you’re not always right. Some of my best friends are people who I hadn’t liked when I first met them.
I’m not saying that every person you give a chance to is going to be a lifelong friend. Because it really doesn’t work that way. Simply the fact that people who enter your life, no matter how short of a time, always leave an impact of some sort, great or small. They always change something in the way your life was going; a ripple in the pattern. Even if they turn out to have a negative effect on you, would it be that devastating as to make you lack the ambition or will to let new people enter into your life? I would hope not, you could be missing out on something potentially great.
Personally, I’m starting not to judge people by their first impressions, second impressions, or third impressions anymore because it all tells me nothing. I know the impressions that I give people are often very very far from my actual self. So I’m hoping that people don’t judge me by them. Besides, I would never trust anyone to reveal their true self at a first meeting.
It’s difficult to see someone’s aspects and emotions in one moment. Like the Mona Lisa painting by Da Vinci. In each glance, you’ll always see something different. Just a few weeks ago I had a friend who I’ve known for some time now tell me, “I’ve never met this side of you, I always thought you were just…” And told him that there’s a lot underneath the surface. We are all ocean deep.
But to end this…I don’t think you’ll ever truly know someone until you’ve spent 8+ years knowing them. And even after you’ve known them for those years, you probably have yet to discover who they truly are. Life happens as we get to know and like each other…and get to hope that others know and like us. Life happens when we perceive the world as a place for all of us to gather and discover we really are each other’s cup of tea. Life happens when we give ourselves the time and opportunity to discover all the beautiful and new things about each other, day by day. Whether you decide to continue trusting your first impressions or not, remember that people are like play-doh so always leave room for worthy redemption because it really does take a lifetime to know someone.