Snobby. Shy. Skater. Serial murderer.
Reserved. Religious. Rebellious.
No, I'm not talking about labels or stereotypes. I'm speaking of first impressions.
College is full of them, and BOY do I need to work on mine. I'm so ridiculously awkward around new people that I get flustered and inevitably end up saying something completely weird, irrelevant, or accidentally rude. Sometimes all you get is a first impression, too. Your first and last impression on someone can be the same encounter (especially if your first impression sucked so they run and hide every time they see you coming...) so it can be rather important to get it right.
We had Open Door Night in Alpha, the dorm I live in, so there were a lot of meet&greets. There was a lot of "I like your room," "What's your name," "Where are you from?" small talk. Naturally, that's about as far as I can get before I make things uncomfortable. Upon walking into a guys' room (I can't even remember their names... maybe I've tried to block this out of my memory) I introduced myself and then said "Pretty plain room."
Pretty plain room? Maybe they had spent hours setting it up! Maybe they want to be interior decorators and I just crushed their dreams. Why did I HAVE to comment? Then I laughed uncomfortably and added "I mean, it's like... plain. I mean, it's nice! Just, you know, kinda bare. Like, there's not much stuff in here. It's simple. Not that you're simple or anything, it's just... hahahahhhahahaha bye!"
Oh. My. Gosh.
I felt like their judging stares could have broken my skull in twelve pieces. And I'll probably never speak to them again. I'll just be that really, really awkward girl who WOULDN'T SHUT UP. Maybe they already forgot, but that was what I left with them. Maybe if it had gone better, I would end up married to them years and years down the line (one of them, not both of them. I'm no polygamist. Or harlot.) but now I will NEVER KNOW.
Okay, so that last part was a little melodramatic, but still, I hope you see my point. First impressions can matter. Job interviews, for example. I've never gone through that, but I'm already kind of dreading the experience. My twin brother even commented once on how I change my voice when I talk to certain people, especially if they're professionals. I make myself sound younger, apparently. I have no idea why. I don't even notice it, but it needs to stop.
Anyway, back to things that I do notice.
I don't think Tasha and I would have become friends if it weren't for our third grade teacher, Mrs. Schroll. Tasha was a new student to Lake Tapps Elementary on the first day, and I was assigned to show her around. Neither of us were pleased. I looked over at Tasha and spotted her fake tie-dye nametag that she had colored on and she glanced at my plaid dress with fake leather straps, and... first impression? WEIRDO. I know that's also judging, but sometimes they go hand-in-hand with first impressions. Anyway, we ended up being friends. Best friends, actually. In fact, she is my longest lasting friend. But that may not have been the case if our teacher hadn't made us put our impressions aside and just genuinely talked.
Like I mentioned earlier, first impressions are a big part of college. There's this girl a couple doors down from me in my hall who I kept smiling at in the halls, and every time she looked at me, I thought she was glaring at me. I could not for the life of me figure it out. But now that I've been actually getting to know her, I realize that Michelle is one of the absolute friendliest people I've ever met and she's already becoming a good friend. Once again, though, we ARE in the same hall so there is time allowed for us to actually get to know each other. If we had just been passing each other by on the street, I would have just thought she had been glaring at me. Also, for all I know, maybe my smiles look like grimaces. I have no idea!
There's also this guy on my floor who I first thought was just a little too over-charismatic and loud. But the second time I talked to him, he was pretty chill. Maybe he had been nervous the first time and was trying to over-compensate. I know I do that a lot. Now I actually do want to have another conversation with him, because the second impression was much better than the first.
I guess I'm more of a second impression kind of girl. I think I leave a better second (or third, maybe seventh) impression on people than the first. So I'm going to definitely make sure I give other people the chance to leave a second impression on me as well. Especially here, where a lot of people don't seem exciting at first because it's just small talk for the most part. So try to give people a second chance to leave a better impression if you see them again (as long as they didn't completely freak you out initially). Maybe you'll be surprised at how different (and maybe better) they seem the next time.
Have any good stories about first impressions? Comment them :)