I’ve thought about writing a post like this for about two years at this point. With all that time to ponder about the topic, you would assume that you would be getting a high quality, well thought out post from Teacher Bert. You would be mistaken. The idea first came about two years ago with a friend when the topic of what if what we thought we looked like wasn’t really what we actually looked like so mirrors, water and pictures weren’t the complete picture. So we started researching how to find out how other people see us. The main objective was purely superficial and wanting to know if who we see in the mirror is really us. The article went into great detail about more in-depth specific areas to focus on to understand ourselves and what to look for in making a good first impression, maintain friendships, etc.
The article got quite deep and right at the end of the lengthy article, our answer was merely a footnote when it stated “If you want to know how other people see you, hold a mirror up in front of another mirror and that’s how people see you.” It was one of those had to be there moments but it was the funniest thing that happened that year by far. I then randomly found a book on first impressions and it has taken me this long to comb through it so let’s dive into how people see us and how we can improve.
I’m confident and certainly not proud of the fact that I don’t think I give off a great first or even second impression. I think my fifth, tenth and sixtieth impressions are great but I don’t think people meet me at a party and think “I like that Bert guy.” Most people come around to the idea of Bert making their lives more entertaining but some people take longer to warm up than others. Two areas I knew I needed to focus on before reading about this was that I don’t smile enough and could make more eye contact. I can specifically remember my cousin telling me that I needed to work on it which I think I’ve made strides on but still not a 100% comfort level.
After reading First Impressions, I was alerted to the fact that I also should spend a tad more attention on matching rate of speech with people (I talk too fast when I get nervous; I was also told to slow down how fast I speak in Thailand because they were just learning English), give more compliments, show some deeper feelings, people like being gently touched in conversation (apparently) and to be the one to introduce yourself first. A few things. I specifically avoid touching people I just meet because I think it’s strange. Even on a first date, I won’t touch them and almost want to message them just before meeting them that I don’t want to have an awkward hello hug. I’m super awkward at meeting people and they go for a cool handshake and I’m doing a classic business man handshake; it’s awkward 80% of the time. I’m not cool. I wish it was Thailand and everyone did this to say hi and goodbye:
I’m also guilty of not being the first person to introduce myself. I have a memory of this being a New Year’s resolution of mine but alarmingly, it didn’t stick. I want to be the type of person who goes for it first. The other person is thinking/dreading it as well so you might as well get the points for doing it first. It certainly shows confidence and being comfortable in the situation. I also struggle at remembering their name and using it in conversation. Like appallingly bad. I’m almost positive my mom is named Beth. This and smiling will be the two areas I focus on first.
Things I do well? Oh, thanks for asking reader. I think I excel at asking other people questions, listening to their response, being an active listener and not trying to brag or show off to impress people. (it would be a short conversation) I think I’m good at making people feel comfortable if I’m comfortable around them, good at making people laugh and being able to laugh at myself or share mishaps to gain common ground. If you want to take a quick gander at the tables and fill them in to give you some insight, here is the link. Click on tables on the left hand side on the site.
They suggest tackling one issue at a time then once you feel comfortable, starting on your next area of weakness. They also suggest taking pride in what we do well because it’s easy to beat ourselves up about on downfalls and not focus as much on our strengths. Asking yourself how you actually want to be perceived is a good step in understanding what changes you want to make, if any. If you are happy with the way everything has gone so far, no need to change but I feel like there is always room for improvement. Asking a close friend for some tips is recommended but not to take the advice too personally and get offended. I think you are super-duper not matter what.
I took this quiz and it turns out I’m super shy. Agree? Give the test a whirl:
“If you are grading your own test, you will pass every time! Be careful of your self-perception because it could deceive you.”