Sunday, June 15, 2008

First Impression and Perception


Many opinions in life are formed based only on first impression. Right from a product you buy to a person you meet. Almost everything that meets your eye, you tend to form an opinion on it. How accurate are the opinions formed based on first impressions? Personal experience has taught me that first impressions don't give you a fair idea. But then, be it interviews for a job or a stranger you meet on the road, people are written off just based on the first impression you get about them.

I personally have been guilty of forming wrong perceptions about people based on first impression. I assumed them to be arrogant but they turned out to be down to earth. I perceived certain people to be introvert and they turned out to be extrovert. A calm person at work turned out to be a monster at home and vice versa. Also, I always had this perception that higher the designation that much more indifferent that person would be while dealing with people at a lower designation. Most of the times this may be true, however, I figured out that it may not always be true. There is a gentleman with whom I deal with who is at a very higher designation. You can say that we are at two extremities when it comes to designation. The first day that I spoke with him I thought he was putting up a mask so that I could feel comfortable. I was also under the impression that from the very next day he will start showing his true colors. He is a very knowledgeable person too; a strong enough reason for him to have an inflated ego. This gentleman proved me wrong with his down to earth attitude and friendly nature. Knowledgeable people tend to hold on to all the knowledge they have for the fear of losing out on the edge they have over others. However, here is one person who believes in imparting it to anyone who is curious to learn.

I am sure everyone has some experience which they could relate to in terms of first impressions. You could have been at the receiving end or it could have been you who may have perceived something wrong. You may have said to yourself, how could that person think about me on those lines? And at times you may have kicked yourself for thinking bad about someone based on what you saw or heard about that person.

I do not say that you stop forming opinion about people based on first impressions. There may be instances in life where you will not be getting another opportunity to interact with the person you are forming an opinion about. In such scenarios, you have to take decisions on what you understand from the body language and mannerisms. However, if you know for sure that you are going to get more opportunities to interact with a person, you should always keep an open mind and not be too judgemental from the onset.

4 comments:

shalini said...

hey vijit..gud one... i totally agree with this. i wud like to share my experience with u....the first person whom i met in college on the first day and made friends..n 2day 5 years down the line,i have no clue about that person and i seriously wonder how cud i b even friends with such a girl,whom the whole class hates now,as u said oversmart and selfish,totally different the way she behaved on the first day!

but then i have patients who say,they dont know their spouse even after 20 to 25 years of marriage!

what i mean to say,understanding a human is difficult. as they say ..peolpe change as time changes.. so forget about 1st impression even after living a whole life with a person... no one can judge anyone.
thats what i feel.. CHEERS!
tc.

Vijit Kumar said...

Thanks Shalini!!!

Your personal experience I think is one I could relate to. However, I could not quite digest the fact that a person is not able to understand his/her spouse after 20-25 years. In that case, I feel the fault lies with the concerned person too. He/she might not have put in enough efforts to understand. I feel a person has some basic character that kind of stays constant. However, I have not experienced this personally so I am not in a position to be very firm in saying that it is not possible that a person cannot be understood even after 20-25 years of staying together.

I am looking forward to your own blog that you plan to start soon. Thanks again for your valuable comments!!!

Martin said...

Hmmm...true, my personal experience wid forming a first impression has been proved worng (be it on a personal level or a professional level). Its but obvious that ppl tends to form a good rapport at the first meeting wid anybody or if u talk abt the difference in the level of designation, they wud certainly try to prove their authority during their first interaction... I believe that we should spend a fair amount of time before actually forming an impression or perception about the person...
The major drawback according to me in the scenario when he have
perception abt someone is that we tend to form a mindset about the person and are not ready to overcome it, even though the person might be different, which ultimately will never help us in truly understanding the person....
The best way to understand any relation.. be it a personal relationship or a professional relationship is to give time to that relation...
Even in HR front, when we meet up a candidate we make it a point to interview the candidate for almost 30-45 mins, during which we try to gauge the candidates and develop some perception about them which helps us in deciding, if we want the candidate in or no.

Vijit Kumar said...

Thanks Renila!

Your opinion on this post really helps because you interview many candidates and hence get to interact with different kinds of people. I appreciate the time you took for the same.