Everyone I have met has left some kind of first impression with me. Usually if I take the time to get to know that person, I am able to figure out if my first impression of him or her was accurate or not. Most times I have been wrong. It is easy to get caught up in the judging of someone elses character based off what they wear and what they look like. It is more than easy to let appearances cloud judgement of a particular person. I think it is important, if given the chance, to challenge that first impression of someone by getting to know that person better.
I believe any chance you get to learn about someone else can be beneficial in at least two ways. First, a person meets someone knew who might teach them something new good or bad that could possibly cause that person to form a deeper opinion. Second, this interaction will leave a memory of some sort with both people. These memories define that person in your mind, and overshadow your first impression of that person.
First Impressions are so unreliable. Depending on the day and the mood of a person, how they act one day could be completely different than how they act most days. It is normal to make a first impression of someone, whether it is in your nature or not. Many times I have judged someone based on their looks and how they first present themselves. I am glad to say that I have learned how to look past my first encounter and take the time to get to know someone.
A specific example I can recall of meeting someone and realizing that my first impression of them was way off, was the day I met my friend Kaitlyn. Over the summer, two weeks before my first semester of college, I along with 950 other girls went through rush at the University of Kentucky. Competition was fierce, so we were all split up into much smaller groups based on where we lived and given an anonomous sorority girl to be out leader. My first day moving in I met all the people in my residence hall who were in my group. We all introduced ourselves in a circle by naming where we were from, the high school we had intended and any activities we took part.A tall thin, tan, blue-eyed blonde named Kaitlyn spoke up after me.
Kaitlyn didn’t surprise me at all. Nothing from her looks to her attitude made me feel as if I was wrong to assume and label her as the stuck-up gossip girl type. She smiled as she told us all she was from Louisville, Kentucky and that she had cheered all throughout high school. I looked up at the sound of Louisville but dropped my head when she mentioned her high school and the fact she was a cheerleader. She was pretty and seemed friendly but after learning of her whereabouts and her hobbies I was convinced friendship was not in the cards.
Suddenly I don’t know what happened but she started to talk to me more and more and invite me to her room to hangout along with the other girls. This generosity was the last thing I was expecting from her so I accepted the invitations cautiously always afraid to say too much in case she ever decided to use it against me. All to soon the situation changed drastically and I realized I actually liked her. I started to feel bad for all of my negative assumptions of her and I hoped that some day I would be able to tell her how silly I was in the beginning.
Kaitlyn and I are best friends these days. We do everything together, she is the person I go to wake up in the middle of the night, she is the one I cry to when I am having a bad day, and she is the one I ride back home with. She isn’t the popular cheerleader type or the stuck-up gossip girl. She is Kaitlyn, the funny, beautiful, amazing, crazy but serious best friend.
I love knowing my first impression of Kaitlyn was wrong because now I haven’t wasted time not being friends with her. It makes me wish I had given others the chance to learn prove my first impression of them wrong. She has impacted my life and made me look at things in a different way. I share my thoughts with her or my situations big or small and she encourages me to look at it from her angle and helps me make sense of it through her eyes. Knowing her allows me to know people who view things differently and it helps me see what I didn’t think about before.
I told Kaitlyn one time on our ride to Louisville about my first impression of her. I told her how positive I was that we would never be friends. Kaitlyn laughed and told me it didn’t matter because we are friends now at least I hadn’t ignored the inevitable.
I think it is amazing how lost in our own thoughts and ideas we sometimes get because what we are convinced we see is not always what everyone else sees. I am glad Kaitlyn and I are friends. I find comfort in knowing that it wasn’t just me who made the mistake once or twice to claim I know someone based upon my first impression of him or her. I know what it feels like to have someone make up their mind about you, to write you off before you get a chance to explain. I have been judged and not taken seriously because of a first impression I left on my friend once. First impressions lead to labeling which can really scar someone and ruin others views of that person as well. I am still glad my mind automatically creates a first impression of those I meet. This way I can laugh when I get to know them better and realize just how wrong I was at first.
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