(NSFW due to language. Tell the kids to cover their ears…)

In my lifetime, i’ve been through some interesting circles of people. From the richest of the rich to the strangest of the strange and I can tell you *gets out venn diagram* that the line is actually pretty thin in the middle. I’ve known CEO’s, pastors, pilots and teachers that their real lifestyles outside would boggle your mind. Were any of them doing anything illegal or hurting anyone else? No. I have to tell you if I could eat the self-esteem they have for breakfast, I would. Very happy people. I can honestly say there’s no such thing as a “normal society”, we are all a little strange sometimes… that’s what makes each of us unique and human.

But we as people are also faulted by our pre conceived notions of the “first impression”, on how we appear to another automatically puts a label on us and shuffles us into a filing system in a person’s brain. It’s all programed in us from childhood, I can remember fighting against be put in a frilly dress for church and told “You want to make a good first impression”. Later on in life, I could also actually see the phrase emanating off of every suited up frat boy working off that hangover at the career fairs in college.

Ah, the first impression… we all make assumptions about people in the first glance of meeting them. In my personal experience, people make a ton of assumptions about me as I wrote about in this post about “The Freak Factor” back when I was in Greenville…usually it’s the “she’s got blue hair, she must do drugs…” or the “she’s too skinny, she must have an eating disorder”. YES, it hurts… but at the same time it’s also helped me find like minded people. I’ll never forget the time I met the president of a huge company and he told me his Woodstock stories, and trust me my jaw dropped, I am nowhere near that wild. But he lived and has these amazing memories about it, that time in his life also helped him gain ideas for the multi-million dollar company he would start. So you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover, I honestly think all the stress and  importance we drill into our own heads about making a good “first impressions” should be manifested into using our energy to just open our mouths and using our brains.

Could you imagine a world where no one could see? We’d have to make the first impression on what came out of our mouths. Well, as we know many former world leaders would be in a bunch of trouble.

What’s imporatant is how we take actions towards gaining the “second impression”, no matter if you are judging someone or are being judged. YOU need to take the next step into letting someone into your world, most people either get angry or run away. Using the good ole “Weapons of Miss Destructo ABC’s” here’s how you can not only learn about others but break down that huge wall of ignorance that generally makes all of our lives unpleasant.

  • ASK (Questions are great conversation starters)
  • BE NICE (Be polite, think before you speak)
  • CONNECT (Find something in common)

The world would be so much different if we all just learned a bit more about each other,  you never know the ideas or new partnerships that could stem from it. I’ve seen homeless artists get offered jobs to help design tattoos for a wealthy southern gentleman, the artist ended up partnering with the guy and helped start a creative ad agency.

Everyone has a story… learn others and create yours! Don’t worry about first impressions, worry about the impression you’ll make on the world.


4 thoughts on “Don’t Judge A Book By It’s Cover: First Impressions”

  1. Love it. Part of what you're hitting on is the problem of averages and its relationship to stereotypes. Like you say, there's no such thing as "normal society" – because there's no such thing as an "average [insert social/economic/ethnic/political/geographic/other group here]". Famous example of the problem of averages is the feet in buckets analogy – if you have one foot in a bucket of ice cold water and the other in a bucket of boiling hot water , on average, you're probably comfortable – but that average is far from reality…. oh, and people in normal society don't go around sticking their feet in buckets to make a point. ;-)

  2. This was a great piece. And I totally agree, but then because I have long hair and change parts of it different colors depending on my mood and my dress a little younger than my age. Have had issues with first impressions. I am the first to reserve judgement on anyone.

  3. One of the greatest compliments I've ever gotten was from a person who told me that I forced them to "Reassess the way that they judge people based on appearance." It really makes me feel good that I was able to do that.

  4. You're totally wrong there, kid. First impressions are always right and are all that count. I thought you were weird then; I think you're weird now. Case proven, game point, perfect victory. I win! (hahaha)

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