First Impressions

Oftentimes, we get so focused on first impressions, we don’t give people a chance.

Within the past 10 minutes, it’s been glaringly obvious how big of a problem this is. I was sitting outside and was just observing people. (I do this normally, is that weird?) I noticed some people and automatically jumped to conclusions about who they were, where they were from, or how they lived their lives. I then read a friend’s blog post which was basically talking about the same thing, and read yet another blog talking about a similar subject. Lo and behold, I open up my English book, and there’s an essay I’m supposed to read about the same topic.€

But that got me thinking, do people do the same thing with me? Do they see a short 19-year-old guy and assume that he doesn’t know anything. How do they really view me?

So how do we prevent these first impressions from transforming how we view people? The answer is simple in theory but sometimes hard to apply: Get to know them. In a recent discussion with a friend, we reached the conclusion that we can help people the most by simply initiating conversations, remembering names, and praying.

For example, have you ever been in a public place and worried to talk to someone because you thought they wouldn’t want to talk to you? The exact same thing is probably going through their mind at that time, and they just want to talk.

I am one of the worst people with remembering names, but will remember if I constantly repeat the name I just heard in my head until I have it down. And I make it a point to let them know I remember their name the next time.

I’m not sure where I was headed with this, but it all boils down to one thing: Love. We are put on this earth to love God and love others. How can you love others if you can’t even ignite the opportunity to listen to them?


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jennifer Stoltzfus on October 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I’m glad you brought the subject up again, because it was mentioned in one of my classes. There has been numerous studies that suggest people are generally very accurate in their evaluations of others in the first impression. Example, students were given 3 random 6 sec videoclips of a professor teaching. Their impressions highly corresponded to other students’ end-of-the-year evaluations and to how much the students learned. CRAZY! Yet, if the 1st impression is incorrect, it is VERY hard to alter it. That’s why we have to be so careful.
    I’m still working on it.


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