I am a big believer in first impressions and I have often acted on connections with individuals that felt positive on a first meeting. I’ve rarely misled myself on this. However, I am more reluctant to follow my gut when my first impression is one of dislike. Instead, I have to ask myself, is this feeling of instant dislike more to do with me that it is with them?
I rarely find myself in the situation where my first impression of someone causes me to actually recoil from them, but it did happen to me last year for the first time in many years. I decided to withhold final judgement because I honestly could not understand why they had been so brusque toward me or why they felt speaking to me like a disapproving ageing aunt was in order. Perhaps I imagined it? If I hadn’t (and I hadn’t, I just tend to second guess myself and give people the benefit of the doubt) perhaps it was a bad day. I examined my own behaviour. I had actually not directly interacted with this person, there was just a general group conversation happening and they had decided to be – well, weird.
So fast forward 6 months or so and just before Christmas I find myself in this person’s company again. Not by choice, I hasten to add, however, there were other people there I wanted to spend time with that I do like and so I approached it with an open mind and equally openly spirited, only to find that for some reason I remain persona non grata as far as they are concerned.
However, on this occasion I was sober and they were not and it soon became more than apparent as to why this is the case. I have rarely met anyone so insecure, mainly with themselves but of course, that then extends out towards others around them including any significant other they may have. There was a lot of trying too hard, wanting to be the centre of attention and fending off non-existent ‘threats’ to this.
I think the reason I felt such an instant dislike to this person from the first time we met is simply that I totally relate to all of those emotions and I have behaved in similar ways myself in the past – although (I hope) not to that extent because some of the expressions of control that were aimed at their partner based, I presume, on their own fear of abandonment I found really difficult to watch. I know that in the past I could so easily have become that person.
So now I don’t feel quite so angsty about them, mainly because I recognise that those feelings are there because they are mirroring a potential aspect of my own personality I don’t like very much. I hope that they can develop a sense of their own self-worth and be happy with themselves and their loved one. It is hard – I should know – to learn to love yourself, to do that work and continue to do it because, frankly, you tend to backslide, or I do at least.
That said, I shall be trusting my first impression, I shan’t be totally avoiding them but I certainly will not be seeking them out!
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