This I Believe

December 5, 2010
By Anonymous

I am constantly meeting new people almost everyday and have just begun to realize that every little thing I do can leave an impression that lasts a lifetime. I am constantly being watched by others, so not losing control and staying strong is very important. Every action, whether unintentional or not, is being analyzed, helping others to form their first impression of me. Almost everyone in our world today prejudges one another. For example, I am constantly prejudged as a “goody-good” who is very smart, just because I’m quiet. One of my friends, Kayla Evans, told me “It takes about three seconds for the average human to develop their first impression of someone”, and I think that is incredibly unfair. How is it possible to tell who a person is from just one conversation?
In all honestly, I believe that it is highly unfair to prejudge someone based on a first impression. For example, I prejudged Caitlin, a girl I work with. I met her on my first day of my new job, and when I asked her for help, she slowly looked me up and down, rolled her eyes, and walked away. Later on that day, I heard her, not so nicely, mention how dumb the new hires were. Based upon that first, short-lived encounter, I had developed my first impression: she was a snob. I never stopped to think that maybe she was stressed out or having a bad day. I just went on assuming she was a snob by my first impression. As I began working more, I also heard stories about her excessive partying, many drunken days, and her ridiculous amount of hook-ups with our Associates. I never once stopped to think whether this gossip was true or not because I had already prejudged her. Why should I give a girl who was so mean to me a second glance? If she was rude then, when I barely even knew her, why would she be any different when I got to be around her more? As it turned out, I was very wrong. I later came to see that Caitlin was nothing like I thought she was. Sure, she partied and drank, but she was responsible about it, and it turned out she did not hook up with all those guys. She might have had a fling here and there, but nothing to be ashamed of. Now, we are pretty good friends, and I would be the first to admit that I prejudged her incorrectly. I soon found out that on our first day of meeting, it was during the middle of the lunch rush, our busiest time of the day, and others were relying on her to stay on top of things; so by me asking for help, she got sidetracked and didn’t know what to do. She didn’t mean to be a snob, she was just stressed out.
Ever since that day, I always make sure to give others the benefit of the doubt. First impressions are not very accurate and they lead to prejudgment. I believe that people deserve a second chance. You can’t tell a person’s personality or character by a short, three second meeting. You need to let things play out and allow time to develop an accurate opinion of someone.

The author's comments:
I realised that after going more than half my life judging others, It's much easier to just make friends and not judge people on the little things.

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