Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Five seconds don't mean much

How long does it take to assess a person? I have read that in five seconds an impression is made. I cannot agree and neither do I agree with the cliched saying, 'First impression is the first impression.' Today I was introduced to someone while going for a walk. As soon as the first introductions were made, I could see the lady scrutinising me from top to bottom. I could sense that she was ass . . . essing me. I felt rather uncomfortable. Could she have gauged me just by looking at me. Did she sense that I was a corny blogger or for that matter that I didn't choose to bathe today?! Maybe not. What did she read of me when she looked at me from top to bottom. At that precise moment when she looked at me, I also judged her or rather ass . . . essed her. We were both doing the same things but I would like to be partial with my observation because it was the observation of an observation.



Often we are not open-minded enough to be compassionate and non-judgmental while meeting someone for the first time. Perhaps there is this notion that the other person might be judgmental of us and why not take the first step by judging them harshly and showing that through our facial expression. By experience and a bit of prudence, I have come to realise that first impressions don't mean much. A tough exterior can mask an insecure interior or a seemingly calm exterior might be vicious within. The phrase, 'Be Kind; Everyone You Meet is Fighting a Hard Battle' runs and reruns in mind when I find myself trying to judge a person in the first five seconds of meeting someone. Something related to this is falling in love at first sight. While I can possibly extend my general speculation to love, I will not venture that side because I have strongly felt attractions in the first five seconds of meeting someone. Well, can attraction be equivalent to judging, I don't know. Some things are mysterious and cannot be ascertained but I guess scientists have tried cracking the mystery of love at first sight and maybe they are right.

I think first meetings pave way for opening one's world to someone who is different, unacquainted and new from our world. After subsequent meetings, we can decide whether we want to stay or leave but that first time should be an open-minded one, I reckon.



Just because I write this, it doesn't mean that I'm open-minded. I am learning to rein my force of habit and trying to be open to the possibilities of a first meeting which could probably lead to some strong bonds and conversations.

What do you think of this preoccupation with first impressions?

Image 1: Internet
Image 2: Internet

25 comments:

  1. You're absolutely right Susan. I believe, the saying "First impression is the best impression" is stereotyping people and at times even encourage discrimination.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm guilty of this Siva, not the sizing up but of forming impressions. I am gradually trying to keep my mind open.

      Delete
  2. With in five seconds? That is a very short time to evaluate anyone. His / her appearance may not be good, but the person may be good at heart. I think time (and interaction) will give a fairly good idea of a person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mostly people are judged by appearances, Joe. Sad.

      Delete
  3. I think it's human nature to "judge" someone on a first meeting. It takes having an attitude of love, knowing every person is created in God's image, to push those thoughts aside and give this person a chance to show who he or she truly is.
    Great post, Susan!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Martha, it is very human but coming out of that vortex is greater human, I reckon. And yes, you're right. It takes a lot of love and compassion to push those first thoughts aside.

      Lots of love, Martha.

      Delete
  4. It's so unnerving how some women rake their eyes over you from top to bottom!! What's with them?!!
    Yes, of course, agree with you that first impressions are definitely not the most accurate, but isn't that the norm for most people?! Sad but inevitable!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The norm is always biased, me thinks, Rosh. We have to move away from these suppressing norms and usual diktats that we've been following.

      Delete
  5. Susan Deborah, should we ever meet, I would positively ass-ess you in first 5 seconds.--grinning!

    You wrote: "I think first meetings pave way for opening one's world to someone who is different, unacquainted and new from our world..."

    TONIGHT at a party, I saw a man sitting by himself, sat near, began a conversation. We ended up tallking for about a hour, agreeing on so many things. We got into talking about how wonderful it is that some people can just walk up, start talking to stranger, end up liking them, and probably see them again at a meeting or in coffee shop. THEN WE BOTH LAUGHED OUT LOUD--SIMULTANEOUSLY...realizing that is exactly what happened with US! A simple "Hello" led to an hour of friendly, interesting conversation.

    This happens a LOT with people I meet...must be meeting the "right" people!

    PEACE and LIGHT and LOVE, Susan Deborah!
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve, it's not that you are meeting the "right" people, but it speaks that you are in the "right" mind when you meet people. May your tribe increase.

      Delete
  6. I agree that first impressions can never be right unless you're going by instinct.. because I've learnt that people's first assessment of me is never right and they tell me so after they get to know me a little.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our instincts sometimes can betray us because they are tuned to follow some fore-of-habit patterns like observing body language and all. Impressions are another form of judgements, I think but I may be wrong.

      Happy to see you here today, dear BM. Hope you've been well.

      Delete
  7. Often the first impression is bang on, but sometimes people can be real chameleons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really Alka? I guess one should move beyond the firsts.

      Delete
  8. Women or men who look you up from top to bottom are unnerving,really. And I think it is human to form impressions. Of course, one must be open to changing those impressions too with time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I tell you Rachna, it seems like being under a microscope. Totally indecent, I say.

      Delete
  9. With the experiences I have had. I don't believe in the concept,"First impression is the last impression." Impressions are always dynamic.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Spot on Sameera. Impressions are always dynamic.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I do not believe the cliché 'first impression is the best' - It might work well with the expert face reader but not for all. It would be quite embarrassing when some stranger try to ass....ess you from top to bottom :-))))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sundar, you are right. We often become asses while trying to ass . . . ess.

      Thanks for coming by and leaving your thoughts.

      Delete
  12. unknowingly we tend to categorize ppl we meet for the first tume into some known bucket based on our experiences. i'd like to beleive that my categorization is not very rigid :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. btw, i fare better at the fourth impression too :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think first impressions need not be permanent. It would be great if we just met everyone with a sense of curiosity rather than judgment. However, our minds judge. We have to temper that with our hearts.

    ReplyDelete
  15. One can get sufficient information just from looks though not every time! An intensive scrutiny is warranted if you suspect the person next to you is from another planet:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. First Impression is an essential assessment tool to initiate interaction. The animals need it, humans too need it.

    Getting to know a person is a lifetime process. "Preoccupation with first impression", where can that be useful, makes me think... security?. First impression cannot be user for long-term decision making.

    Mind works by pattern matching, and there always are anti-patterns. So, I find prior knowledge of ourself can help us in situations which demand reliance on first impression. Also, I think, Our reaction to first impression, should be our focus. Unwarranted over reliance on first-impression our mind conjures and filling rest with our character, desire, emotion, prejudice, bias, stereotype, shapes our responses. First impressions and assumptions.

    Being aware that our minds can over rely, is one way to temper our response. When we have a genuine concern, we hold back all judgements. May be Purrr-chase this. Assume "Ass-U-Me".

    Should we let another person use five second observation, be the basis for making first impression of us? Can we always present ourselves every second of our life, to get good first impression? Impossible, and not needed.

    Susan, as a teacher, Are school books missing pages on this important life lesson?

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails