Carolyn's Daily Posts: 2011

November 8, 2011

Seven Second First Impressions



     The woman looked old, appeared frail. She was missing all but her two front teeth.

     Not the characteristics that would place her in the top of a caretaking list to serve a nonagenarian. The first seven second impression.

     Yet, she performed her duties with skill, ability, and loyalty.


     It may not be fair. It may even seem unjust. But when someone meets you for the first time, they decide how they feel about you in 7 seconds.

     It’s been shown in a study that this is true. Columnist Andrea Kay was skeptical, however. That is, until she observed for herself how people responded to her in the first seven seconds.

     Did she make up her mind that quickly? she asked.

     Yep, I do. And you do, too. We can’t help ourselves.*


     In my own life, I’ve observed this phenomenon. While in Atlanta it took all of seven seconds (and most of the time less) for others to decide if they wanted to continue to talk to me when I was new in a social group. It was based on my answers to three questions: where I lived, what my husband did, and how I was employed. By mixing and matching my responses I could control how a person would respond to me, if they wanted to talk with me. It became a fun game.

     It’s a little less intense in rural communities. Perhaps it takes a little more than seven seconds. There is a slower social pace. Still, there is that rapid initial impression…


     Once people figure me out, I can get away with what I call eccentric behaviors. Initially, however, I try to present myself in a more traditional fashion.

     When you enter a new social or work group, be careful how you present yourself. First impressions do count, and can have a lasting effect.

     The bottom line: in doing so, remain true to who you are. Maintain your personal integrity.


Little fixes will help erase fear about age, Andrea Kay (career columnist),Greensburg Tribune-Review, November 9—2010, pp. B8




THE WRITING LIFE: There’s a World Out There?

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