My first impression of someone is almost always wrong. I would think that by 21, I would be better at figuring people out but, it seems that for me, the complexities of human beings will never be cut and dry.
However, because I am so terrible at pinning people down when I first meet them, I like to play a game of first impressions. It goes like this – shortly after I first meet someone, I write all about them in my journal. Then, months later, if I actually get to know the person, I revisit my initial assessment of them. Most of the time, the original description is so far from the truth that I can’t even imagine what possessed me to write it.
The reason that I make a habit of playing this game is because it reminds me not to write people off when I first meet them. It is so incredibly easy for me to meet someone, make snap judgments, and then give up on even trying to get to know them based on the imaginary narrative that I have assigned to them based on five minutes of conversation.
For example, recently I was talking to one of my friends about when we first met. We met before I left for England, at which point I completely blew him off, and then were reintroduced through a mutual friend when I came back from England and slowly we became friends and now, he is my go-to climbing partner.
I see this example as a recurring phenomenon throughout my life. Time and time again my first impression has proven me wrong. It is so strange for me to look through my journal and go back through my past thoughts and realize that if I had gone with my first impression, I would be lacking some of my favorite people in my life.
That’s not to say that you should ignore your gut instinct. There is a difference between thinking someone is bad and knowing it – feeling your entire body telling you – get the heck away!
Nonetheless, the moral of the story is this – every person on this planet comes with a unique set of circumstances, personality traits, and history that makes them who they are. This human cocktail cannot be communicated in ten minutes of meeting someone or even after a week of knowing them. Getting to know someone takes time, an open mind, and an ability to put aside what you think you know versus what is actually true.
First impressions are dangerous things. They can draw us towards the wrong people and push us away from the right ones. And maybe the most important lesson I have learned from first impressions is that sometimes the most interesting, fun, and loving people are the ones that you never expect when first meeting them who, like episodes of Gilmore Girls, only get better with time..
Are your first impressions usually right?