Bah Humbug to First Impressions!


This post all started when I was investigating some leadership development sites.  Various post kept pointing to programs like,  Dale Carnegie, How to Win & Influence People and another program about the importance of the first impression and how one most smile and be positive. Slowly, as I read on, I noticed my inner gremlin rising. So, I plugged in a request to Google, “images for a grumpy person’s self-development,” the cartoon above was what came up.

I loved it.

Truly, I have never had any desire to beat someone to death with a chair.  I think my most violent act was in a high school basketball game, delivering a elbow to the face of a overly-tight defender.  I do believe she got a bloody nose. So maybe I am prone to wild, erratic elbow gestures in the heat of competition.  Also, when I did play Rugby in college, I discovered that I love tackling, especially in the mud! So there is a bit of a wild, woman in me.

Really though, I don’t have a death wish for anyone.

I do have a strong personality, well…apparently.  I am fairly certain that I generally fail at making the best first impression.  I tend to forget to look people in the eye, or reach out my hand to shake, or even smile, and if I try to fake it, well, that is just scarey. Often, if I am busy, or on a tight time frame, I forget the importance of common social gestures like, “How are doing?” or “Are you excited about the holidays?” This is also true in email. CrisMarie often reminds me to start with something personal or nice,  before I launch into my request, comments, or reply.

It’s not that I am intentionally mean or disinterested.  No – that’s not it at all.  I simply imagine that whoever is on the other end of my conversation, be it in person or in an email, wants me to get to the point.

So when I read these books or posts that seem to imply that my face and my first impression is going to determine my success in life, business and/or relationships, well, I get grumpy and am more inclined to be aligned with the Tasmanian devil above!

I believe too many people, that know how to win and influence people, or make a great first impression, are NOT the ones that will sit with me in a fire, or love me even when I am sad, fearful, or grumpy.

I am not saying grumpy people are the best choice either.

I don’t think that a successful life and/or relationship are built by first impressions, and that my best friends, business partners, and long-lasting connections have more often come from those people that took me a little longer to get to know and appreciate.

Some of them, I may even have had a few violent thoughts about, or they have had some violent thoughts towards me. Yet, in our willingness to check things out, and be curious, have discovered that first impressions aren’t always accurate. Thank goodness.

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