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?