I remember reading research stating that the initial impressions we have of others is accurate (meaning, persistent) about 80% of the time. In other words, how a person comes across to us upon our initial meeting with them and as we first begin to get to know them usually continues from there far more often than not. I did a related article on first impressions that you may wish to check out. You can see it here: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/first-impressions-46/.
So, what does this information mean to you? It means that the impression you have of others in the very beginning is very important. Therefore, it is important that your initial impressions of others occur in as precise and representative a fashion as possible. For a person to somehow be able to change that initial impression that others have had of them, it usually requires some kind of extreme evidence to the contrary, which rarely happens. Why is our mind this way? Efficiency. The sooner and easier that we can weed someone out or pursue them, the better we can determine where to direct out limited resources of time, energy, effort, and perhaps money as well. Therefore, we quickly categorize relationally and rarely does a person change from these categories. Even if our initial impressions are largely incorrect.
Getting a Truly Representative Initial Impression of Others:
*Looks: how a person impresses us with their looks in a positive or a negative fashion pretty much is what it is. Meaning, when we first see someone, we can tell immediately whether or not we are physically attracted to them immediately, as long as we can see them in a clear, accurate fashion. In other words, as soon as we can basically tell what a person really looks like in real life, we know where we put them on the physical looks continuum: attractive, so-so, or not attract to. The old fashioned assigning of them to a number between 1-10 is an illustration of this same principle. To become more familiar with and conscious of your own physical attraction traits, it may be useful to read my previous articles on the subject. See: https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/what-men-are-physically-attracted-to-314/ and https://www.ldsdimension.com/articles/what-women-are-physically-attracted-to-313/.
*Personality: Very quickly as you start a true discussion, you can tell how you feel about their personality. Does the conversation flow easily and comfortably? Or is it choppy, stressful, or pressured? Do you feel they are open minded or rigid? Aggressive, assertive, passive, and/or passive-aggressive? What is the general feel and flow of your conversation together? The feeling that you have with this communication creates a strong impression of what future interactions would be like as well.
Interestingly, when you have a negative interaction with another, that impression usually sticks in a stubborn fashion. However, if you have a positive interaction, you have a positive impression that will remain, but will move up and down on the continuum depending on how positively or negatively subsequent conversations go. This fluctuates includes the general degree of credibility the other person does or doesn’t have as a positive, easy-going person. In other words, negative impressions tend to remain, positive impressions fluctuate, be fragile, and relate to the most more strongly to recent interactions. Therefore, it becomes important to refine and improve your own personality, as well as be aware of the strong bias you and the other has according to how the most recent interactions have been lately.
*Practicalities: this relates to your idea of where someone exists with the many practical realities of life: income, kids, education, career, spirituality, schedules, disposable time, disposable money, and all other notable interests, responsibilities, and demands on a person’s life. As you begin to learn of these things, quickly the other person gets categorized in all of these ways, along with your overall impression of whether or not the other person will be considered acceptable or not. If any “deal breakers” exist notably in any of these ways—in addition to the looks and personality issues—this will quickly determine whether or not a person is or is not placed in the potential relationship category. If not, people are placed in the “friendzone” or even in a category of being cut out immediately altogether.
Being aware of what makes for your initial impressions is a great way to be aware of what drives you and your relational decision making. This self-awareness will help you to decide if you can and have a need to make any adjustment with your attractors where needed and possible. I have found that physical attraction pretty much is what it is. However, with the other factors of personality and other practicalities, there is a higher degree of flexibility and possible change. Therefore, it may be a good idea to examine and refine such traits one way or the other.
There may be a need to lessen being attracted to particular traits indicative of trouble, especially personality issues. Conversely, learning to be attracted to (appreciate) other healthy traits may be important, as these traits are indicative of later relational health and happiness. This includes such issues as levels of spirituality, positive communication and listening skills, or compatible education levels. Be aware and adjust what makes for your impressions of others accordingly, as possible. In general, that which is healthy is best and most desirable across the board. Learn to identify and have an attraction to healthy traits. Give people with the healthiest traits the best chance for relational opportunities in the future. And remember, “…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.”—1 Corinthians 11:1.
P.S. If you have any questions, comments, or a future article request for me, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
About the author
Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (www.dr-rg.com), practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at www.dr-rg.com/lds; email me questions to email@example.com).