First Impressions

“In psychology, a first impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of that person. Impression accuracy varies depending on the observer and the target (person, object, scene, etc.) being observed”.

They say that people form their first impressions within 7 seconds. 7 seconds!! You look at the person opposite you and you take in a mixture of their physical appearance, clothing, language, firmness of their handshake and any other clues – verbal or non-verbal that are on offer and you form your opinion – as quickly as that.

Yesterday someone at work said the following sentence to me: 

 

“I’m scared of you”


I still cannot believe it. 

For the record, I am not even 5ft tall and I’m anxious, nervous and insecure at the best of times. My boyfriend laughs at me when I’m angry and people often call me “cute” (which I hate).  Nobody has ever said anything like this to me before. She went on to say that it’s nothing I’ve done to make her feel that way.  She also said that numerous colleagues have told her that they like me and that I’m nice, but either way, that’s how she felt. 

It’s really playing on my mind!  How much attention should we pay to these things? 

I think I’m fairly confident that this is more about her than me, but still…. I feel bad to think that anyone would find me unapproachable or intimidating. 

I thought this lady, who is about 10-15 years older than me, was extremely confident herself. In fact, in the past I’ve thought she has looked at me in a rather patronising way.  But from what she told me, she isn’t confident at all… so what’s going on here?

They say that when you are judgmental of someone, you are actually judging yourself.  Carl Jung said,

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”

So if that’s accurate, then does that mean that I’m patronising and she’s… intimidating? 

I guess I should be secure enough in myself/in my self to know that her first impression of me is not a true reflection of who I am and just shrug it off.

I’d love your feedback on this.  What do you think people would make of you in a 7 second time frame and would it be accurate? Or have you ever formed an opinion on somebody and later realised you were wrong?

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