Memories of the first time you meet someone linger. Those initial moments create an emotion that sticks with us. Quite often, we then allow our mind to focus on that (good or bad) feeling, and it builds into an elaborate impression, reinforcing and rationalizing our first instinct.
I remember talking to the woman, Denise, who was fostering Grace when I called to ask about meeting this small, cute, lovable-looking dog I had found online. Before she even agreed to have me come over, she forewarned me that Grace would not be friendly, nor would she come to me; she would probably be very withdrawn from me. Now, if you’re thinking about adopting a dog, you hope the dog will like you, right? Yet, Denise did the right thing by giving me this information as it was a huge help to have that guidance; otherwise I can easily envision that my first impression of Grace would have been unfavorable.
How many times do we, as humans, have a guardian angel helping pave our way so that others can better understand us? Wouldn’t it be cool if we had someone ahead of us sharing our own personal quirks and preferences so that the exchange would go smoothly?
Since that’s not realistic, my thought is that we should remain open to any first impression we have. Good or bad. We just don’t have enough information to make a judgment that quickly. When we are open to the possibility that the person may be more than what we see at first, we expand our opportunity to see the hidden gems (or quirks!) of their personality.
It’s very important to notice what we experience so I’m not suggesting we disregard our intuition; however evaluating a pattern of behavior will lead us to a more accurate assessment. It will also result in a more constructive relationship in the long run, when we can openly acknowledge, build upon, and develop the strengths and challenges that we each bring to any interaction.