The Importance of First Impressions in a Relationship

The value we place in first impressions speaks to more than just our egotism, rather, it goes to show how much of an impact our subconscious biases have on our relationships. In the beginning of every year, we are welcomed with an influx of new students. A prevalent concern on many students’ minds is how they will come across in their first impressions to both their peers and teachers. Even returning students often plan how they will reinvent themselves over the summer, and sometimes worry about how teachers perceive them.

Brian Tracy is a renowned public speaker and self-development author. On his website, he includes some factors regarding appearance that are taken into account in an initial meeting are clothes, makeup, body language, race, and skin color, which can contribute to both positive and negative judgements. Body language is a factor that we should strive to control, as having more receptive body language makes a person appear engaged in an interaction, and therefore more caring towards the relationship’s counterpart. These various factors create hidden biases between people that they might not even be aware of.

It is necessary to note that most people believe the reality of how a person is, eventually grows to be more important as a relationship progresses, even though the reality of how a person is does not completely remove the assumptions made in a first impression. So to conclude, there is no need to place excess stress upon oneself in anticipation of how one will come across to others at first glance. Shana Lebowitz, a writer for the Business Insider, produced an article that proves otherwise. In a study cited in the article conducted at the University of Ankara, Turkey, and Cornell University people were asked to look at pictures of people who were smiling and people who had neutral faces. As expected, they rated the smiling faces as friendlier.

This ultimately implied that humans have the power to shape some of how others perceive them even after first meeting them with a mere smile. A month later, the people who rated the pictures met the subjects of the pictures in real life, and surprisingly, in most categories the people rated the subjects of the pictures very similarly to how they initially had aside from in the category of extroversion. This data shows that extraversion and warmth can lead to a better verdict from others. The experiment’s subjects did not even know they were meeting the pictures’ subjects whom they had rated earlier, reiterating the accuracy of the experiment. This might show how our first impressions have an immense influence on how we continue to think a person is. If you are concerned about what teachers think of you because of your sibling whom they may have had in the past, or you’re bad grades in their previous classes, know that any biased perceptions that they have are likely unintentional and malleable, although the school offers no training to teachers with regards to how to deal with these specific biases. Overall, first impressions are important, but they do not dictate the entire outcome of a relationship, especially if you evaluate and work towards understanding why you feel the way you do about the person you are talking to.

Resources: impression-everything-counts-personal-statement/ think-2016-12

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The Importance of First Impressions in a Relationship