First Impressions and Second Chances

I’ve always believed that first impressions show you what a person is really like.

Initial negative impressions weighed heavily in my decisions to assume judgement of someone’s character, and an indicator to be weary of investing too much time or effort into them.

I’ve utilised this understanding both onto others and upon myself. Whether in a job interview on at my first day at a new workplace, its a principle that in some form or another, I’ve always lived by.

And yet, time and time again as I’ve experienced more of the world, I’ve begun to realise that quite often the opposite is true. Sometimes you meet people who seem downright hostile or even rude at first, but when given the chance, turn into valuable friends and sincere well-wishers.

Did these people simply change their characters or attitudes towards me over time? Perhaps they softened up after getting to know them?

Or could it be that the answer is even simpler? Perhaps the seemingly negative first impression of them is not an accurate representation of who they are?

The questions are many, but what I do know is that when something happens a certain number of times, it stops being a coincidence and starts being a pattern.

So while I still believe that first impressions play an important part in determining someone’s character, I now believe that more often than not, there is more to it than meets the eye.

Some people simply have a harder outer shell which is displayed by default to everyone around them. They may display signs of disinterest or even a muted hostility to anyone they meet. For most people on the receiving end, this would be enough to put them off such a person, but for those who themselves have thick enough skin to body the blows and be patient, you can experience the warmth of such a person within.

For whatever reason, these people have a thick outer shell that many don’t bother to look past – and I don’t necessarily blame them. But to spare a thought to those whom people rarely give a second chance, perhaps previous life experiences mean they don’t befriend anyone or open up to others as easily as we might expect. In our world of 7 billion people, there exist even more tragedies and hardships than we could imagine.

Who is to say that such initial hostility is not a symptom of such affliction?

But as I carry on my journey through life, I reserve my initial impression as only a taster of what someone is like. It may well be an accurate picture of who they are, but they could equally be hiding a warm, friendly personality behind an outer shell.

As succinctly mentioned by (pen-name) Lemony Snicket:

“I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this, but first impressions are often entirely wrong…Your initial opinion on just about anything may change over time.” [1]

First impressions are not always accurate.

Be kind.


[1] – Lemony Snicket, The Bad Beginning

Leave a Reply