General Question

CuriousLoner's avatar

What do you observe or find most important in first impressions?

Asked by CuriousLoner (1808 points ) August 29th, 2012

When first meeting a person for whatever reason, what do you notice first?

Looks, tone of voice, clothing, posture, how they greet you?

Do you consider this person’s location of living,lifestyle,status etc. Before meeting them for the first time? Are you willing to just make a impression based of meeting them or will other things always factor in?

And if you do say you would judge them based off just the person for being them, do you really mean it? Is it even possible?

Any sub-concision things that you take maybe?

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12 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

General demeanor and eye contact. I met the new wife of one of my neighbors last week. I tried not to, but did notice her 4’ heels, heavy make-up and over-the-top hair-do. Around here most people take pride in being sartorially inconspicuous, deliberately anti fashion-plate and energetically unchic.

The community benefactor wears old, faded jeans and tee shirts most of the time. She is unpretentious but broadcasts an aura of intelligence and awareness. She funded the food coop, the second-hand clothing store and the summer performing arts center…dance, concerts, movies, amateur nights.

Bert’s Bees lip balm is probably the hottest selling cosmetic item.

give_seek's avatar

No man is an island. No meeting happens in isolation. Unless the person is super self-absorbed, or has a physiological reason why they are incapable or observing at multiple levels, when people meet each other, we take in as much information as we can about a new person. It’s biological. We are animals assessing danger and safety.

We all may notice things in a different order. Some may place more weight/importance on certain aspects of a person than others. In my case, I notice respect—the way in which the other person respects me, others, and him/herself. This tells me what I need to know about character and that individual’s relationship with others.

The things that you mentioned are not extraneous. Where a person lives, how they live, what he/she wears are all elements that make up the total individual. These things may not be as important as personality, integrity, and character, but they are a part. And there’s nothing wrong with considering the totality of a person to determine whether or not he/she should be in your life. If more people did this, I think they might be a lot more content.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I put a lot in first impressions but there isn’t one thing in general I look for. I can tell you this though, if I meet you and you give me some weak ass crap handshake, I can’t help but think less of you right off the bat.

ninja_man's avatar

To be honest with you, the thing I notice most is their general ‘sense’. I don’t know how to describe it exactly; some people might call it an ‘aura’ (though that is a terribly inexact approximation).

Within a few minutes, nine times out of ten, I can just know a great deal about someone. Not like their favorite ice cream or childhood best friend. More along the lines of whether they are kind or harsh, whether or not they are dangerous, whether they have daddy issues, and whether they are in an extramarital relationship. More than once I have picked up on what religion someone was raised under.

I don’t know how it works and, like I said, it only happens most of the time, not always. But that is what I notice most when I first meet someone.

CuriousLoner's avatar

@uberbatman Funny, when I was younger in highschool days I was fairly shy kid. I had people say I had weak hand shake or look at me funny when it came greetings. Now a days I am much more open and confident – Still introverted I admit, but can much more easily talk and interact with people compared to my younger days.

Anyways I always make sure to give a good firm hand shake and make eye contact. Not too much not too little. Good point you make!

El_Cadejo's avatar

@CuriousLoner I’m an extremely introverted person myself but I was always taught growing up to give a nice firm handshake. I dont know what it is, but when I meet someone and they give me a kinda meh like just fore fingered limp handshake I cant help but just be like ehhhhh lol

DigitalBlue's avatar

I want to live where @gailcalled lives.
I don’t know what I notice, because I feel like first impressions are often a gut thing. Our instincts speak loudly when we meet new people, and I try to listen to that. Often I give people the benefit of the doubt, despite a gut reaction that something is off, and I am pretty sure that I always regret it. Consciously I think I gauge how friendly a person is. If they are smiling, seem sincere, sometimes I try to figure out if a person is just bashful or if they are unpleasant, but that can be difficult to tell when you first meet someone.

rooeytoo's avatar

I go on gut instinct and it usually kicks in within a few moments of meeting. I know immediately if I want to be friends or not. And generally if I feel good about someone, the feeling is reciprocated. If I get bad vibes, I will be polite but keep a person at arm’s length.

I agree about the handshake and it matters not if it is a male or a female, you don’t have to crush bones, but a firm grip is much preferable to that wet noodle feel.

augustlan's avatar

It’s hard to say, but I think what I notice most if they seem to be engaged with what is going on around them. In the sense of both being aware of their immediate surroundings and taking an interest in the wider world. If they seem bored or oblivious, I’m less likely to be favorably impressed.

Coloma's avatar

I am a sucker for friendly, outgoing and funny personalities. If you can play with me a little, laugh easily, have a sense of humor, I will love you! haha
I enjoy initiating banter and conversation with strangers and those that are quick to respond and exude an open and lively attitude impress me to no end. The world is full of the oh so serious and grumpy, it is SO refreshing to find like energies that want to come out and play a little. :-)

gailcalled's avatar

I forgot to mention the “Nice to meet you. What do you think of me?” type who talks about only him or herself.

MilkyWay's avatar

I always find a person’s body language and eye contact (or lack of) very revealing. I also dislike people with limp handshakes. It puts me off.

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