One of the biggest mistakes I have made in the past, is to judge people by the first impression I have of them. Let’s be honest, it is hard not to.
Imagine a guy at a party drunk as a skunk. He’s drinking his face off, slurring his words and can barely stand straight. He is fun, but over the top. What would your first impression be? Would you avoid him at all costs?
Now picture this. You meet a girl at an event. You have things in common, but she is loud, a little obnoxious and just has to be right. She also argues her point of view to death. What would you think of her? Would you meet her for coffee?
In a really short period of time, it is easy to pass judgement on someone you don’t know, based on their behaviour. That first impression comes from our perception of what we see in that moment.
Maybe the drunk guy has had a really crappy day, for any number of reasons. He has been drinking to lighten his mood and feel a little better. Perhaps the girl has a lot on her plate. Family and finances may be eating away at her, and she needs to feel that she is right about something.
My first impressions were no different then yours. In the past, I would have trusted my gut and shut down. The familiar comfort of my hard shell used to feel a lot safer than opening up and giving someone a chance.
Life is funny though. As we get older we start to look at everything differently. We see things with our experience, and our perception changes. Suddenly we are able to relate to that guy and that girl. We learn to let those first impressions go.
For me, that guy and that girl have both become good friends. The kind of friends I know I can lean on if I need something. That would have never happened if I trusted my initial feelings about them. I would have never spoken to either of them again.
It’s certainly cliche, but still very true.
Never judge a book by its cover.
(Unless it is a real book. If it is a real book, judge away. Some of my favorite books are ones I chose because the I really loved the cover art.)
I am counting down the days until my 40th birthday with 40 Things.