First Impressions

There’s a lot of confusion about communicating and first impressions. Sometimes it seems to work perfectly and other times you feel like you’re banging your head against a wall. Personally, I think we are all genuinely interested in each other but it is never easy. Here’s a few thoughts I just had while posting on another board.

Sometimes there’s a really clear understanding that comes because we are all experts at reading body language. Body language, including facial gestures and the way we move, conveys the bulk of any messages. Often we don’t have to speak if we know someone really well to see what kind of mood they’re in. Disney animators say the key to creating a character is to capture the way they move and walk, and stand ins for actors can mimic the person they are playing perfectly in this way.

Many times, however, someone says something that contradicts what the body language just told you or contradicts their last remark. One of you might look away because something has moved in your highly motion-sensitive peripheral vision. Or maybe you just do something dumb for a random reason, like you open you wallet and suddenly remember the bill you were supposed to pay yesterday.

Often you can lose your train of thought because your hormone system has kicked in to let you know you should be hungry or horny or whatever and your body is flooded with this set of chemical messages. That’s incredibly powerful and there’s not a lot you can do about it except accept yourself as you are and that you are part of a continually changing universe in a kind of Zen way.

Confidence is incredibly attractive but there are times also when you want reassurance but you don’t get it, or they want reassurance but you don’t give it. What happens next is you or the other person reacts to your reaction to any of those things and the messages get all confused and muddled. Then we’re back to square one.

Getting to know someone takes time. And I mean really getting to know them, rather than jumping in with a load of first impressions and assumptions. Enjoying the process, the ebb and flow between you and the other person, is one of the keys. Hey, I can’t say I know all the others! What do you think? I’m some kind of guru?

Whatever happens, try to remember that quote from Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it!”

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