The Obsession With The First Impression
Head and Shoulders sold a ton of hair product in the 90s by pushing the idea that everything hinges on the first impression. And while that’s a great strategy for a company trying to sell dandruff shampoo, it’s not the best way to go about finding great company.
It’s natural to place a lot of stock in how somebody comes across at first. We all have default filters we’ve honed after years of ‘networking’ events, cocktail parties, and small talk. We’ve got a decent sense for spotting the people who are full of themselves and who is going to be the wet blanket. Having filters in place is how we make sense of the world and the people in it. But it’s also the reason we miss opportunities, overlook connections, and why we sometimes can’t remember why we thought something about someone, when we thought it.
Let’s be clear. This isn’t about doing community service. And it’s not that first impressions don’t matter – they do. It’s just that so do 2nd, 3rd, and 4th impressions. First impressions seem to reveal a lot about a person. It seems to make sense that if a spark or chemistry doesn’t happen early on, well then, it’s time to move on. Until you stop and think about how many of your relationships (romantic, friendly, and otherwise) were actually the result of time and context. How many times have you told a good friend, “Man, when I met you, I thought (insert insult that is now funny).”
Most of us can think of someone who actually started to look different the more we got to know them - sometimes for worse and many times for better. Suddenly, that co-worker, friend of a friend, or person who cuts your hair every 8 weeks becomes someone you think about when they’re not around. It’s this universal experience upon which Me So Far is based. The evening is designed to pack in multiple impressions of people. And we’re NOT talking about speed dating here folks. God no.
“Yep, he’s a jerk,” or, “she’s definitely high-maintenance.” There are certainly times where your instinct is dead on. But one of the best parts about meeting someone is being surprised, caught off guard, or delightfully wrong about how right someone is. Not to mention that you’ll get to start your ‘How We Met’ story with, “Yea, I didn’t see that one coming.”