All About First Impressions

We're built to size each other up quickly. Even if we're presented with lots of evidence to the contrary, we're attached to our initial impressions of people—which is why you should be aware of the impression you make on others. Luckily there are simple guidelines for wowing new acquaintances.

Recent Posts on First Impressions

Which Hair Color Induces Strongest Physical Attraction?

Startling new psychological research challenges previous thinking that hair color is merely about personal preference. Instead a massive consensus appears to exist on which hair color is preferred, and there also appears to be such severe prejudice associated with the tint of your locks, this is possibly as harsh as racial discrimination.

We Are All Fallible Experts

Our ability to abstract, infer, and categorize is a gift. But it's also the root of prejudice and stereotyping.

Can You Escape Bias?

Is is possible to be completely bias free? Even with the best of intentions, the forces of social conditioning can interfere with our perceptions and constructions of one another. Have you ever misjudged someone, or been on the receiving end of wrong assumptions? How can we overcome these limiting tendencies in favor of embracing and appreciating our many dimensions?

How Important Is It to Look Competent?

University students in Korea can look at the faces of two unknown political opponents in the U.S. and choose the winner about two-thirds of the time, yet they can’t accurately predict what happens in their own country. What’s going on here?

What Do You Look Like When You’re Bored?

By Peter Toohey on August 06, 2015 in Annals of the Emotions
What does it look like to be bored, to be melancholy or depressed, or even just to be thinking? In photography, in art, and in real-life there are often striking similarities. There's usually a head-on-the-hand. But there are some differences and that's what I'll try to show you here. See if you can spot them at the next meeting you attend.

Beware of First Impressions

Alienation can be counter-intuitive, even for mental health professionals

Complimenters and Ghosters: Is There Room in Your Tent?

By Rita Watson MPH on August 03, 2015 in With Love and Gratitude
In a society that lacks the cohesiveness of a tribe, new social connections might remain stuffed in a box.

You Pays Your Money and You Takes Your Choices

By Dan Mager MSW on July 30, 2015 in Some Assembly Required
We can make whatever choices we want or need to—as long as we are willing to accept the consequences of those choices. This equation represents the intersection of awareness, action, and accountability. And, it is applicable to virtually every area of life.

Attractiveness Changes Our Perception At an Early Age

Not only does attractiveness influence children's trustworthiness of a person, it even changes how the brain's neural system responds.

How Are You Portraying Yourself When Using Social Media?

By Gregg McBride on July 25, 2015 in The Weight-ing Game
When did vitriol become a national pastime and filling our social media feeds with hatred become de rigeur? Has initially greeting someone we don't understand (or even that we don't agree with) with kindness become a thing of the past?

When It Comes to Love, Do You Really Know What You Want?

Your list of what you're looking for in a partner may matter less than you think.

A Cynical Attitude Could Cost You

A new study reveals that cynical people earn less money. Three statements can help you determine your level of cynicism.

How to Overcome a Bad First Impression

New ideas and information can change our first impressions and increase our opportunities.

First Dates

By Isadora Alman MFT on May 11, 2015 in Sex & Sociability
First dates can be a fun exercise in developing your social graces.

Should Men or Women Play Hard to Get?

When you meet a sexy stranger, should you act interested or play it cool? The answer depends on whether you are a man or a woman. Read on to learn the science...and the answer.

Adventures in Allergy

When patients say they are "allergic" to something, they do not necessarily mean the same thing that doctors have in mind when they use the word. And vice versa.

Fifty Shades of Gay

By Rick Miller LICSW on April 17, 2015 in Unwrapped
An ever-widening spectrum of choices and possibilities means that the gay community is truly taking on all of the colors of the rainbow, every shade and hue.

How to Leave Your Company (On a Good Note)

By Tim Leberecht on April 09, 2015 in The Romance of Work
The average employee will change jobs 11 times during a career. Here are a few suggestions for how we can begin to consecrate a professional transition. They can help you honor the institutional knowledge you’ve built up during your tenure, including the triumphs that thrilled you and the failures that stretched you.

Work Meetings in a Bar?

Holding work meetings in a bar disadvantages some people

The First 100 Days: Be A Stranger (As Long As You Can)!

By Tim Leberecht on February 28, 2015 in The Romance of Work
When you start a new job, your story has already started before you walk through the office door for the first time. The beginning of your tenure is a great opportunity to capitalize on being an outsider and to make new mistakes.

Caught Off-Guard by Breast Cancer: First Impressions

By Toni Bernhard J.D. on February 09, 2015 in Turning Straw Into Gold
Except for what I’ve been told by people who’ve written to me about their experiences with cancer, this was a new medical arena for me. I’ve learned that it’s a world onto its own in many ways. Nothing was familiar to me. It’s been a disorienting experience.

Why Our Negative First Impressions Are So Powerful

Introverts view extroverts as arrogant, overconfident, brash, and pushy, while extroverts see introverts as quiet, nerdy, insecure, and socially inept.

The Four “Dark Personality” Traits

Psychopaths, narcissists, and sadists, oh my! Personality psychologist Del Paulhus has bucked the positive psychology trend, with a series of rigorous studies delving into the "Dark Side" of human personality. He has shown that four dark traits have distinct but often unexpected consequences in the workplace and in relationships.

"Why Don't I Love My Body?"

By Carrie Barron M.D. on December 09, 2014 in The Creativity Cure
Many people struggle with body image and the ability to feel comfortable in their own skin. In this blog, my client Brianna discusses her personal struggle as well as the idea of inner and outer beauty. She found her way.

The Surprising Power of a Beautiful Face

By Gregory Ciotti on December 07, 2014 in Habits, Not Hacks
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder... but what exactly do they behold?

The Incredible Shrinking Task

Is your life dream or a mission-critical task in front of you, and you just can't understand why you can't start or finish it? Take a step back and try these effective techniques (taken from 20 years of project management) for springing yourself into action.

First Impressions: A Roadmap or a Roadblock?

By Russ Gerber on November 06, 2014 in Our Health
Labels and expectations are pinned on us at every turn. Are we adopting them?

The Optics of Politics: Appearances are not always reality

Do Attractive Candidates Really Get More Votes? The Optics of Politics. When appearances are not always reality.

Four Ways to Start Your Work Week at the top of Your Game

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on October 19, 2014 in Off the Couch
Going back to work can stir up any number of feelings. So how do you cope with being excited, nervous, pleased, worried, fearful, stressed, or any combination emotions? How can you make the transition in the most positive way possible?

Analytical Thinking — Logic Errors 101

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on October 07, 2014 in Memory Medic
What we read or hear is commonly tainted by thinking errors. Here's how to minimize such errors in your communication.