As I was showering the other night, I had my very own epiphany — not the first time this has happened in the shower either. Consequently, I realized how important first impressions actually are. In today’s world, they practically mean everything: a chance to work at your dream job, to pursue an advanced degree with your ideal graduate program, or to fall in love with the right person without ever truly knowing it.
A friend once posted this article about there being a correlation between being an extrovert/introvert with being a good/bad liar just by drawing a Q on your forehead. I know, bizarre, right? But in some odd way, it makes sense. I will also suggest to my readers to stop reading my post from this point on if you have not read the article I mentioned above, mainly because I don’t want to indirectly influence the “Q-Test” for you. Basically, the Q-Test tells us a little bit about ourselves and the way we interact with individuals. If you draw the Q in a way which allows someone looking at you to read it as a Q, you tend to be more of an extrovert and are conscious about what other people say, think, and feel about you. If you ended up drawing the Q in a way where you yourself would be able to read it, you exhibit more introverted tendencies and are less attuned to what people think about you. It’s interesting, no? As a borderline extrovert, I draw my energy from other individuals and I am highly conscious of not only my surroundings, but how those surroundings influence and look at me.
Thus, first impressions are everything to me. They make me anxious. They make me sweat. But they’re also exciting, as they should be. I enjoy meeting new people, to an obvious extent of course. I’m good at engaging in small talk. I’m hyper aware of what I say, how my body language looks and feels, and I can tell if someone is as engaged with a conversation as I am. And it is this kind of mentality that gets you that dream job, the attitude that helps you get into the program of your choosing, and the mindset that allows you to think and see love with clarity for the first time.
Whether it’s a job interview or a potential dinner, you have to “dress to impress” if you want to have a successful outcome. You have to know what you want, be able to communicate with words and movements how you feel and what you do, and strive to make that lasting impression. It’s how connections evolve into networks and how networks grow into relationships (professional or personal). I also wrote a post on how to prepare yourself for those kinds of professional endeavors as well.
I am where I am today because of the people I know. I have job offers that I wanted because of the strong first impression I left with the employer. I’m fortunate enough to have the ability to pursue a graduate degree because of these relationships I’ve built. I think the hardest part about first impressions, is really making ourselves vulnerable. I found that lowering my defensive mechanisms and letting my guard down just a little bit, allows for more meaningful conversations and personal interactions. In the long run, a first impression is a lasting impression when somebody can say they still remember you from some time ago as their former counselor, student, educator, facilitator, lover, etc. The list goes on.
Thus, I challenge you here and now, today and tomorrow. Be aware of who you are. Take note of your body language and culture. Thrive in a new environment. And make those first impressions. Because these impressions will stick with us for a lifetime if we’re lucky. So stop waiting around for it and make your own luck.