It takes a long time to truly get to know someone. It just does. And in the fast-paced world in which we all reside… sometimes a first impression is all we’re given to leave our mark.
In recent years, I’ve been told that I can sometimes come off as rude when meeting someone for the first time. This was completely shocking to me – and really frustrating, too. Those who know me have said that rude is one of the last adjectives they’d ever use to describe me – but it seems that my off-beat sense of humor is not always so well received upon first making someone’s acquaintance. So I’ve been trying to take steps to soften my first-impression personality a bit. I’d never advise to change who you are – not at all – just to try and foster a more inviting energy that gives a better picture of who you really are, and draws others in with open arms, naturally. That way, they’ll want to get to know you. It’s all about inviting people in – never shutting them out.
I’ve come up with three ideas that I think are a great starting point to cultivating a positive synergistic vibe with others. These are all pretty simple in concept – it’s just about making an effort to actually put them into use. Let me know what else we should add to this!
Give a gift
If a friend brings you along to, say, a dinner party hosted by someone you’ve never met, bring a little gift along. A delicious homemade dessert, a beautiful plant in a unique planter… something that helps paint the picture of who you are and what you’re about. The simple gesture of giving creates a positive energy right off the bat, and if you’re able to give a unique gift that somehow tells the receiver something specific about you (like, that you love to bake), you’re opening up the door that much wider for a connection to be made.
Maybe an obvious suggestion, but an important one nonetheless. I’m quite smiley by nature, but I find that when I’m “being funny,” I often keep a straight face so as not to ruin the joke. But when you’re meeting someone for the first time, keeping a straight face can possibly do just that: ruin it. Be your smiley self and keep the initial jokes light-hearted, and before you know it, you’ll be cracking all sorts of jokes with your new friends.
This, I think, is one of the hardest things to do when first meeting someone. You’re in an unfamiliar situation, and your mind is racing faster than ever: What was her name? Does my dress look weird? Is there anyone here I know? Am I sounding like an idiot? Stop it. Silence those voices. A racing mind with pull you right out of the present moment, and suddenly you’ll have just had a 10-minute conversation without actually retaining a single piece of information. Slow it down. Take a breath. Be truly interested. Repeat the person’s name. Match it to his or her face like a photograph in your mind. Ask questions – questions to which you really want to know the answers. If you’re present, the other person will be able to feel your genuineness, and a level of comfort will arise naturally – one that isn’t always easy to find upon first meeting someone – and it will be very much appreciated.
Has anyone else ever been told that their first impressions aren’t truly representative of themselves? What do you do to change that?
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This is a really interestings post.
I am very very shy when I meet someone for the first time.. It’s a problem because people don’t want to talk to me…
I will try to follow your tips !
(sorry for my bad english !)
My shyness often gets misconstrued as being aloof. Once I break through that I’m seen as funny and charming. I’ve always felt that Mr Darcy was just misunderstood ;-)
These are great tips! Especially the one about being present… that’s definitely something I’m trying to work on. It can be hard to silence those voices in an unfamiliar environment but you can connect with people so much better when you do!
I think these are great tips actually! I’ve recently had to meet a lot of new people, since I’m in an exchange programme in Austria, so these are extremely useful!
I’ve recently had work related issues where my actions are misread as disrespectful rather than engaging. The idea of being present and just listening, rather than rambling is something i am trying to adopt. I’m reminded of the idea i read somewhere that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason :)
Thanks so much for sharing. Its nice to know I’m not the only one making wrong first impressions around here :)
my shyness tends to be taken as rudeness. i know when i was back in high school i had friends who were scared of me before we met! everyone thought i was intimidating and bitchy but the truth is I’m generally scared of meeting new people!
I’m super shy and sorta terrified of social situations… And that tends to come across as rudeness when I first meet people. :( Or they assume, because I’m not talking much, that I don’t care about what they’re talking about. I find it really hard to be myself when I first meet people because I’m so afraid of what they’ll think of me. When in fact, I’m doing myself more harm by hiding my personality. Thanks so much for these tips. I’ll put them to use for sure :)
Thanks, I really like this post. Just as a person who may not come off as “mainstream,” you never know how people are perceiving you.
oh thank u so much for this man! people usually tell me that i have a straight face too, but the thing
is I am always smiling too!
I have always been told that I am a really sweet and cute person, which … I am ;) so in that case everything is okey. But if we are talking about meeting new people… I think it is a seriously hard subject to talk about actually, as hard as meeting new people itself. It would be awesome if you would like to make a “what to talk about with people we don’t know yet” blog post, – quite long post name, huh ? ;) But yeah, i think it would be something great, I would love to know how are other people dealing with that, because honestly I am not good at that all meeting new people subject.
Sorry for all of mistakes I have made, I am still learning ;)
have a nice day ! :)
I don’t feel meeting new people difficult but that sense of humor -thing is really true! When you notice you said something that the new people don’t understand or find funny… brr. And those are the things you can never pull back. It’s awkward! Especially if it makes their first impression of you bad or different than who you are. I’d like to have a way better discretion!
Usually, when I meet new people I speak with them about pretty normal things. For example where they come from, what they are doing with their lives – like working (where? why do you like it? why did you choose that career?), studying, having a family, hobbies ect. Or then I tell something about me, if I have something in my mind. For me it’s really spontaneous! And that’s why I sometimes find myself talking for example about marriage, politics, finance or about some very deep title with someone I know nothing about, even his/her name :D I think that’s great! Just talk about what’s in your mind or heart – they get to know you better if you really give for them something of you.
I’m more authentic and natural when I’m not self conscious. The thing that really helps me is to take the focus off me and ask a question or two about the person that I’m meeting. Whatever is relevant to the situation. Most people love to be heard, and I’m curious to see how other people view their world, so its a win win situation. I feel more relaxed when the conversation doesn’t start off about me.
The Weaver Of Words…..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale
Yep, I come across as rude to people till they get to know me. It’s really just a filter because I am actually very self conscious AND carefree.
A bit confusing, but that’s how life is!
Definitely something we could all use
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I am often called aloof so I know what you mean. I am good at putting people at their ease but when I first meet people I prefer to listen rather than talk. Great suggestions.
Great tips, expecially for me the last one! I’m trying to learn to stop this weird inner voice always talking to me in those moments!
My dad told me to just be the kind of person that I’D like to meet; friendly, interested, helpful. And it’s served me well all my life so far.
This has been really useful! Going for my first ever job interview next week and I’m looking to make a lasting and positive first impression. I’ll definitely be using these tips :)
The baking point is not always a good idea, in fact, for some people it can be impolite. Protocol says: Do never bring desserts unless you have asked before. Imagine that someone is hosting a dinner, taking care of the whole menu, maybe cooking from the day before, and a stranger brings another dessert, which one should be served? If you have not asked, do not bring cakes!!! Some chocolates or cookies for the coffee will assure you a better first impression.
These are really great tips – when I meet people for the first time I’m sure I don’t leave a good impression as I get extremely quiet. Love the idea of giving a gift though :)
Truly appreciate your tips and advices on making 1st impressions. I used to think that 1st impressions is all about being presentable and be present. I all about the smilies but I didn’t realised that giving gifts could also leave a mark in someone. Will definitely keep this pointer in mind. But I always find it hard to choose gifts for people that you don’t really know thus I would need to brainstorm a fair bit.
Thanks again for the reminders for these life hacks ^_^
thank you for this! its a constant struggle in my life.
Great tips, thanks a lot!
When I’m first meeting a person I either get really nervous (racing mind, not looking people in the eye and all that) or I keep calm but aloof… Which is kind of weird. I think following your steps will be a good idea :)
ahhh…being present works with everything non? Happy Greeting!