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8 Swift Judgements That Are Made When People Meet You Within Seconds

8 Swift Judgements That Are Made When People Meet You Within Seconds

According to recent studies, people are inclined to form an impression of one another within just seven seconds of meeting them. So whether you are meeting a new boss, colleague or a potential buyer for your home, you have a limited amount of time in which to create a positive impression and influence favorable perceptions.

During this relatively brief period of time, people are likely to forge a number of important and specific judgements about your personality traits, values and level of success. Psychologists refer to this as “thin slicing,” and the impressions formed within nine to 10 seconds of meeting someone can be difficult to correct or override.

With this in mind, here are ten swift and initial judgements that individuals make when they first meet you.

1. If you’re trustworthy

Let’s start at the beginning, as research conducted at Princeton University has revealed that people determine the trustworthiness of others within a tenth of a second of meeting them.

This result was achieved by comparing two groups of students, one of which had 100 milliseconds to rate the competence, likeability, aggressiveness and trustworthiness of an actor based on their face. The second group had an open-ended amount of time to rate the same faces, and while the responses varied across three of these traits trustworthiness was ranked the same by both.

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These findings seem to confirm that the human brain automatically responds to visual stimulus when assessing trustworthiness, before an individual’s face has been consciously perceived.

2. If you’re confident

This is another of the eight unconscious impressions that are formed within seconds of meeting someone, and it is usually influenced by individual mannerisms and body language. Much of the data to support this was produced during a a famous communications study by UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian in 1971, with these findings remaining true to this day.

As human beings, we tend to evaluate confidence based on the way in which people walk and first initiate contact with others. Individuals who walk upright and with a purposeful gait give the impression of self-assuredness, for example, as do those who carry their head high and maintain eye contact.

Conversely, people who place their hands in their pockets or behind their back showcase a lack of confidence or certainty in their own ability.

3. If you’re high status

While it is well-known that the way we dress influences people’s perception of us, there has been less research into the precise impact that high-end, designer clothing has in the minds of others.

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This has been explored in a recent Dutch study, however, which found that people wearing brand name clothing were considered to be higher in status than those who wore non-designer attire. While this may not come as a huge surprise, it is interesting to note the difference in clothing did not impact the perceived attractiveness and kindness of the subjects.

This seems to suggest that the impression is formed simply from the visual impact of the clothing and the perceived link between wealth and social standing.

4. If you’re successful

On a similar note, the findings of a collaborative study between Britain and Turkey also draw a strong correlation between the clothes that we wear and our perceived success as individuals.

More specifically, it showed the participants images of men in tailored suits for just five seconds, before presenting the same individuals in off-the-peg garments. Despite the body shapes and faces of the individuals being the same, the group overwhelmingly rated those in tailored suits as being the more successful. These findings also seem to reaffirm the link between wealth, clothing, and our social standing.

For anyone with the financial means who is attending a job interview or an important business meeting, tailored suits therefore offer the most effective way of forging a positive impression.

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5. If you’re extroverted

While there are numerous physical factors that underpin body language, the handshake remains the most well-researched and discussed. Perhaps the most in-depth study was carried out at the University of Alabama, having been commissioned in 2000 and subsequently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

This study revealed that a confident and firm handshake correlated strongly with specific character traits, including “openness to new experiences” and, most tellingly, extroversion. So those with a strong and purposeful grip convey openness and an overt sense of confidence, whereas those who do not give off feelings such as anxiety, uncertainty, and in some extreme instances, neuroticism.

The importance of a firm handshake has also been discussed in research papers, with a study conducted at the University of Iowa revealing that this has a greater influence than dress or appearance when forging an impression.

6. If you’re smart

We have already referenced the importance of eye contact when giving the impression of strength and confidence, although this also influences the way in which your intelligence is perceived. According to a 2007 study conducted by Loyola Marymount University Professor Nora A. Murphy, the ability to look your conversation partner directly in the eye is a key indicator of mental aptitude and smartness.

In her research paper, she wrote, “Looking while speaking is a key behavior. It significantly correlated with IQ and contributed to higher perceived intelligence ratings.” Additional findings also revealed that the ability to speak clearly and expressively was also important, as was the use of grammatically sound language. It is also believed that it is easy to create a false impression of intelligence, simply by manipulating these proven metrics.

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7. If you’re dominant

Over time, popular culture has challenged the perception of baldness and afforded it a strong association with physical and mental fortitude. Bald Hollywood icons such as Bruce Willis and Vin Diesel have played a pivotal role in this transition, with their portrayal as tough, masculine, and physically dominant heroes extremely influential.

This is also supported by a number of modern day studies, which indicate that bald men (or more specifically those who have shaved their heads) are rated as more dominant than others with a full head of hair. These individuals are also seen as being taller and stronger than their authentic selves, enabling them to make a positive and potentially misleading first impression on others.

It is important to note that these findings highlighted a clear distinction between shaved heads and those who were naturally bald; however, anyone who is beginning to lose their hair may benefit from being proactive and removing it intentionally.

8. If you’re adventurous

There are a number of fascinating and unique travel experiences available in the modern age, from building igloos in the French Alps to Husky tours in Finland. These trips require a freedom of spirit and a keen sense of adventure, and according to research, it is possible to judge if others have these characteristics within seconds.

Thanks to the findings of a study conducted at Durham University, we can surmise that there is a strong link between the way in which people walk and their underlying sense of adventure. During the research, participants were shown brief video footage of 26 other students walking. Some of these had loose, fluid gaits, while other moved in tighter, less expressive movements.

After just a few seconds of viewing, the former were categorized as being slightly extrovert and adventurous, while the latter were labelled as anxious and potentially neurotic.

Featured photo credit: Greyer Baby – Pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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