We’ve all been on the receiving end of adages like ‘your first impression is the last impression.’ As unfair as it might sound, the first impressions are exceedingly accurate and people tend to register the first impressions within a tenth of the second. Subsequently, the brain starts processing the information by creating a mental map of a person’s personality in its entirety- what he’s like, who he is, whether he is a threat or an asset to us and whether or not we’d like to meet him again. Although we take seconds to form an impression, they are not ephemeral. Our brain tends to store these mental maps for a sustained time period.
But why does the brain stick to the initial meeting despite the fact that it’s dolloped with information and impressions as a result of subsequent meetings?
This happens because they are processed in the brain’s emotional centres. Suffice to say, the first impressions become the strokes with which you paint the base of a mental picture in those emotional centres. The rest of the meetings follow the stroke, resulting in a complete picture of your relationship with an individual.
It thus becomes crucial that you pay attention to both the inner and outward mechanics of your body i.e., mannerisms and conversational dexterity. We have a general hankering for people who are genuine, warm, credible, kind, trustworthy, and who make us feel safe and comfortable. Exuding a negative trait for a couple of minutes can spell disaster to your impressions since the negative traits overshadow all the positive ones.
Inevitably, a lot of attention is given to what is said about first impressions; and we try to soak all of it to make sure we score high on the first impression quotient. As is wrongly perceived, it doesn’t mean that we are altering our personality just for the sake of a good impression. Instead, it ensures that we have the power to change how people perceive us and react to us since now we are in full control of our interactions.
Having said that, we still face situations where no matter how hard we try, we are just not compatible with some people. But that’s acceptable because we are not meant to be liked by everyone. What we can make sure is that every interaction radiates our positive and true self so that even if a relationship fails, we won’t have to beat our head since we’d know it’s entirely because of compatibility and not because of the behaviour you had on display.
First impressions are truly magical. It’s time we use our wand!