There is no doubt, that when meet people for the first time, it is the way they look and the clothes they wear, that make the biggest impressions upon us. In primitive cultures, it was often how people identified themselves to each other. Physical colouring, the style of clothing, even tattoo’s that people wore, told other people where they came from and what their wealth and status was, within their community.
Because of the way society has changed and the fact that opportunities to develop and improve ourselves have been made available to anyone with the the desire, intelligence and motivation to do so. The abilities, wealth or social status of someone is far more difficult to discern. Though specialised and highly skilled professions still bring with them a respect that I believe is well deserved. But, I do not believe that this is a criteria for deciding whether or not someone is deemed worthy of knowing, befriending or respecting.
What is perceived as being an admirable quality changes according to what we ourselves are interested in. Unfortunately, as we interact with others, many of us have difficulty looking beyond the surface to see what lies beneath. For the most part, I believe that a holding on to the idea that a first impression of someone is the right one, is unfair and often not an accurate one.
I believe people have far more depth and complexity to their nature then anyone can possibly know, based on a first encounter. Not everyone is confident or at ease with new people. They can come over as lacking in confidence or poor speakers. They may appear arrogant, standoffish and disinterested because they avoid eye contact, when all they are is simply shy.
My mother always loved the expression, ‘still waters run deep’. Or ‘it is the quiet ones you have to watch’. For me aside from the obvious, it is not just that first impressions can be misleading, but they can be inaccurate. Another good reason to take your time! I believe many of us have had the experience of meeting someone who on first acquaintance made a wonderful first impression, only to discover once we had got to really know them better, they were not what we thought they were. Those who we thought were friendly and kind, turned out to be quite the opposite.
Looking below the surface, is something that we can also relate to in other areas of our every day life. I am guessing acting impulsively is something we have all done. Often people make hasty unthought out decisions, because they have been misled, or have only seen what they wanted to see. Learning to look beyond the obvious is a skill that can be cultivated in more ways then one, something we can all benefit from.
Read more: Looking Beyond The Surface