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The First Impression

You often hear the saying that "the first impression is always the last impression". This means a person's perception of you when he/she first met you, dictates how he/she is going to treat you throughout the relationship, friendship or partnership. It doesn't take much for a person to create a first impression. In fact, it only takes one-tenth of a second in order to form a first impression about a person. But first, what the first impression stands for? Psychologically speaking, a first impression refers to a situation where two persons meet for the first time and quickly create a mental picture of each other. With that says, a first impression is somewhat a process of scrutinizing a person when you first meet him/her. The first impression plays a key role in how we treat each other. It is based on that first impression that we create our personal opinion about each other. And once that first impression is created and then imprinted, it's almost impossible to reverse it from each other's mind.

The first impression has a great influence on how people are viewed and treated throughout their lives. That's why it's important to always give a very good first impression of yourself to others. Your age, race, gender, language, accent, punctuality, tone of your voice, your posture, your physical appearance, your cultural background, etc. are all some of the characteristics people can be based on in order to form their first impression about you.

Whether it's a date, job interview, or just socializing, always keep in mind how you present yourself to others tells them automatically how to treat you. Below are some of the factors to be kept in mind when you going to meet a person for the first time:

1) - Be on time but not too early and greet others with a smile and a strong handshake. Never hug or kiss a person that you just met for the first time. Unless he/she initiates it, it's a very rude gesture. 2) - Be real, be natural, and be yourself. Never pretend to be someone that you're not because you're going to need to be that person for the duration of the relationship, friendship, or partnership. 3) - Dress appropriately: You don't have to dress like a supermodel but dress in a way so you can leave a superb impression of yourself in the other person's mind. Also, groom yourself properly, for example, have a nice haircut, clipped nails, the absence of mouth odor, etc. Have a smiling face because a warm smile always creates an excellent first impression. However, don't overdo it because it might work against you. 4) - Openness: always pay close attention to your body language because it plays a key role in creating a great first impression. Your body language can easily make others uncomfortable around you. For example, as a man, standing over a woman or taking a suggestive body posture can make her feel unequal or uncomfortable. Self-awareness can easily help you avoid these micro-aggressions whether at work, school or church. - b) Always keep in mind that your non-verbal actions or gesture speak louder than your actual verbal ones. Our verbal actions only make up to 7 to 10% of how we communicate with others. The other 90 to 93% of how we communicate with others is non-verbal. - c) Examples of nonverbal actions are but not limited to; your facial expressions, your appearance, eye gazing, touching, your gestures, the tone of your voice, your body language, artifacts, etc.

5) - Don't complain about your life or anything else, nor talk about your ex (s). If you must talk about him or her or them, do it in a constructive and positive way because nobody likes being around a complainer. You might think trashing your ex (s) will make you look good, but it's not. It hurts you more than it helps. 6) - Be mindful of the person's cultural background in order not to make inappropriate jokes because your jokes can turn out to be insulting. 7) - Always have a positive attitude even during a time of harshest criticism or nervousness, send positive outlooks toward the other person by staying calm, positive, humorous but not too humorous, and assertive. Nobody enjoys being around someone with a negative attitude or who seems very nervous. 8) - Be curious and genuinely interested in knowing the other person by asking simple questions but don't overdo it. This means, make sure that you're not the one who's doing all the talking, while he/she is doing all the listening or vice versa. If you're doing all the talking, it makes you look like a control freak and if you're doing all the listening, it makes it looks like you're not really interested. 9) - Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. Again, be mindful of the person's cultural background because, although eye contact is interpreted here in the U.S. as showing interest or paying close attention or self-confidence, in some other cultures it is considered as being rude and very disrespectful. 10) - And finally, cultivate good manners by being courteous, polite, respectful, and attentive. (It's not the time for you to be on your phone texting nor for it to ring, that is rude and it surely says a lot about you).

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