We met our freshman year in college.
She was a snob. Not interested in others and really not a whole lot of fun. Or so I thought.
She thought I was a nerd – too boring to bother with.
We were both wrong. And not only is she hilarious and giving, but she’s been one of my besties for nearly 30 years.
After months of living in the close quarters of a college dormitory — in other words we couldn’t avoid each other — we overcame our first impressions to build a rock-solid friendship.
First Impressions Are Hard to Change
Research shows that even when our first impressions are wrong, it can be tough to change the opinons of others.
On Monday, I wrote about how to be more open-minded and how to avoid passing quick judgment, but chances are folks will still be judging you, so, it’s worth thinking about how you show up in the world and how to make a good first impression.
Four Ways to Make a Good First Impression
- Be authentic and sincere. Not everyone is going to like you, but most will respect you if you are real and true to yourself. Don’t say you like something if you don’t. Don’t go for false flattery. Don’t be a rude schmuck either, if you don’t like something you don’t have to say anything at all. But be sincere in what you do present. We can all spot a faker and most of us don’t like that. When someone is real, they exude confidence and that’s a good thing.
- Be open. Don’t judge others in the room, be open to however they show up. Get curious. Engage with them. Ask about them and their goals. Smile. If we are caught up in ourselves we are not reaching out and connecting with others. This can shut down a meaningful connection before it has a chance to start and make us less approachable.
- Be agreeable. Don’t pick a fight your first time out. Don’t create conflict. Show interest. Be compassionate and empathetic. Look for the best in others and others will see the best in you.
- Be polite. Introduce yourself, and others, if you are in a group. Remember names. Offer proper goodbyes, rather than just wandering away with promises of “we should ge together.”Proper greetings and basic courtesies go a long way toward making others feeling included and comfortable around you.
You don’t have to be buddies with everyone you meet and there will be plenty of people you don’t want to hang out with or even see again. But, it’s unlikely you’ll know that within the first few minutes of your first meeting. So stay open and the remember the best way for you to make a good first impression with others, is to be kind, polite, and authentic. The more comfortable they feel when they are with you, the better impression they will have about you.