First Impressions



  Meeting someone for the first time can be awkward.  While many of us are prone to social clumsiness, others seem to sail through the weird phase of first meeting someone to the comfortable place of “new acquaintance”.  I have one friend in particular who is a pro at first impressions and introductions, if one can be a pro at such a thing.  I have observed, that, when he encounters new people - he treats them as old friends, completely natural in his conversation.  He puts them at ease by the way he talks, he instantly becomes their best friend.  

  Meanwhile, the introvert within my heart sends me to the corner to watch in terrified awe.  How does he do that?

  The first impression that we give is often the one that people remember us by, at least until we get to know them at a deeper level.  That’s a scary thought.  I’m tempted to think back on all of the silly, stupid or just plain weird things I’ve said upon first meeting someone - but I’m going to put those in a box and save it for a later time.  I’m learning what it means to make a good first impression, to present myself well.

  Aside from the obvious “smile and say hello” there are a few things to keep in mind when you’re in a situation where you’re meeting new people, or just generally unfamiliar with the faces in the room.  

  Smiling, making eye contact and standing in a way that’s “open” to others are tangible ways to make an effort towards presenting yourself well.  I think we often forget the importance of body language, which is a terrible oops on our part.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that a large percentage of our communication happens via electronic devices that we’ve become a little less aware of the affect our physical presence has on the impression we give.  Just a little caution though, lest we get confused … don’t force smiles or stare into someone’s eyes.  That’s weird.  And “open” body language doesn’t mean you stand with your arms spread wide in a constant state of hug.  I mean, I guess you could, I’d probably hug you.  (I wrote a little more on body language, particularly posture and poise over here if you’re interested.)

  So, how do we reach the point where smiles aren’t forced, eye contact doesn’t feel weird and open body language is our default?  This takes us into those intangible things that are primary to presenting yourself well.

  Making a good first impression is not about pretending to be something you’re not.  Because you know what I’m not?  Calm.  I’m fairly certain that people don’t get that vibe upon first meeting me, which is okay.  Making a good impression happens only when you have accepted yourself for who you are.  My friend, you are cherished.  You are here for a purpose, of greater worth than gold, unique and remarkable.  Believing these truths about yourself is what will propel you forward to a healthy state of self-love.  

  On the other hand, if we believe those truths about ourselves, then we must also believe them about others.  This makes our hearts genuine and our faces smile.  It focuses our eyes and ears on the person with whom we are conversing.  When we affirm that all of mankind is here for a purpose, of greater worth than gold, unique and remarkable we are pressing toward a life devoted to the care of others.

  I believe that’s the purpose of presenting yourself well.  The chief end of making a good first impression is not simply to get where we want to go (though it may aid us in that), but rather to present ourselves as people who intentionally care for those around us.  Let’s be people who are open, caring and welcome to new people and experiences.  This looks different for every person, for every situation - discover what it looks like for you.  


  How can you seek to be kind to others in the way that you present yourself?

Mary Grace

3 comments:

  1. I definitely find myself thinking about this often, because meeting new people has become a common occurrence in my life. And I always want to make the person across from me feel loved and valuable when I'm talking.

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    1. Well, my dear. I can say, from meeting you in person, that you set me at ease and made me feel so very loved when we finally got to see each other face-to-face. :)

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