Do First Impressions Really Matter?


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Everyone has undoubtedly heard the expression,"you only get one chance to make a first impression" or "first impressions are the most important." Now obviously first impressions mean a great deal in a setting such as a job interview or business setting, because if it isn't a good one there will be no second chances. But in a casual setting, is the first impression really as important as everyone makes it out to be? How many friendships or serious relationships of yours started with a bad, awkward, or embarrassing first impression? And how many people made a good first impression and ended up being something you wanted no part of?

Personally, I do believe in making first impressions count; however, some people are better at them than others. Some are socially inapt while others are good at deceiving their audience. Some of my best friends had a tendency to rub me the wrong way when I first met them, and now we get a good laugh looking back on those events. But, if a second, third. or fourth interaction hadn't occurred that were more desirable, would have those friendships had the chance to develop? Is it a question even possible to answer?

One study claims that how we perceive someone is determined within the first few minutes of meeting them. It is said to have a huge impact on the course of the relationship. The two college professors mentioned did a study on 164 college freshman over a 9 week period. They said that freshman are "social animals" making them perfect candidates for testing Michael Sunnafrank's "predicted outcome value theory," They reported that the first meeting had a "predictable impact" shown over the next 9 weeks. However, I would argue that process of their analysis may have affected their results. If they set up these meetings for students, they were most likely doomed from the start. How do you form a true first impression if you are being forced to sit and talk with a stranger? Not to mention forced interactions over a 9 week period.

1 Comment

Chad,

Extremely well written blog post. I personally feel that first impressions can mean a tremendous amount in the view someone has on you. I also think things like facial expressions, attractiveness and other physical attributes can have a major effect on how others view someone. It's in human nature to pre judge someone. First impressions, I have found, are almost never a true reflection of how a person truly is as a person. I look at my best friends and almost all of my first encounters with them were not memorable. I don't even think I liked some of my best friends at first. It goes to show that getting to know someone is much more important especially in today's "online" centric society where it is easy to deceive your peers.

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