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Last Updated on February 27, 2018

Others Judge You Even Before You Meet Them, Here’s Why

Others Judge You Even Before You Meet Them, Here’s Why

We all have that friend that we need to warn others of before they meet them. Before you meet them, your friend tells you to brace yourself because they can be kind of rude. He tends to make fun of people, but she’s known him for years so she’s used to him. But now before you’ve even met him, you have a negative impression of him.

This inclination to judge before you’ve even met someone is natural. They say that the first impression is important, but sometimes you can make an impression before even meeting someone.

A judgement call is made at light speed

Impressions are instant. It only takes 100 milliseconds to make an impression. When forming a first impression, two areas of the brain are utilized: the amygdala and the posterior cingulated cortex (PCC).

The amygdala is more practical, translating the data received by your senses and linking them to social signals. While the PCC is related to emotion and memory, linking your life experiences to your emotions. These two responses help you to quickly decide whether or not you approve the person you are meeting and want to keep them around.[1]

It’s a survival instinct to quickly assess a person to determine if they are a threat. Things such as how they dress or their initial behavior help you to make a quick judgment upon meeting a person. But hearing about their behavior without ever having even met them can cause you to form an opinion as well.

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    When presented with this information, your brain will try to draw a connection to a related memory. But if you don’t have any relevant memories, your brain will try to compensate for the lack of information.

    The reason why our brains try to connect this new information with previous experiences is so that you can quickly assess the value of this new person and if they are worthy of meeting again. Just the same, if someone that you are close to expresses their opinion of someone you’ve never met, it will cause you to form an opinion as well.

      Now that you have a vague impression of this person, your brain may start making up stories about them. This will give yourself a better idea of who they are with what little information that you have.

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      The instant judgement could be false

      Without meaning to, you now have a set bias against this person even though you really don’t know them. When you’ve formed a  negative opinion of someone you haven’t met, it can be difficult to change the way you feel. Your bias may even be apparent to the person without you meaning to.

      When you do finally meet them, everything they do and say will confirm your opinion of them. Any behavior to the contrary will be written off as an exception, because you think that you already know who they really are. This preemptive bias can possibly sabotage what could have been a good relationship.

      Contrarily, if someone that you are close to compliments an individual before you meet them, this will cause you to form a positive opinion of them prior to meeting them. This opinion of them will be difficult to sway, cause although it is a positive opinion, it’s still a bias opinion.

        A toxic person who is described to you as a good friend has an advantage because you are already accepting them. This will give them more opportunity to prove themselves as a good person despite their numerous displays of toxic behavior. This bias could cause you to potentially build a relationship with someone you probably don’t need in your life.

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        Others judge you the same way

        Many people may already have opinions of you without ever having met you. If your peers are told good things about you before meeting you, it will probably make it easier for you to mingle with them because they already have a good impression of you.

        The opposite applies if your peers were told negative stories before meeting you. Even if they weren’t intentionally badmouthing you, it can still cause a rift between you and your new acquaintances.

          To prevent falling into this trap of forming any toxic relationship, or setting anyone up for a bad impression which you don’t intend to, start with correcting the way you think.

          Think for yourself

          Although it is natural to form impressions based on the opinions of others, don’t. Our brains are hardwired to make these assessments. But you can choose to question them. Hold off on solidifying them. Give this new person a chance to prove you wrong.

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          Keep an open mind. You don’t know what other variables may influence their opinion. Attempt to objectively observe the person and their behavior. Not specifically just how they interact with you, but how they interact with other people as well.

          When you don’t let other opinions effect your own, you are more open to developing strong relationships with people you may have not given a chance. You are capable of forming your own opinions and deciding who is worthy of staying in your life.

          Watch what you say

          Don’t badmouth people. Not only is it unbecoming, but you are causing other people to form negative opinions about someone that you do actually like.

          For instance, people tend to complain about their lovers when they aren’t getting along. It isn’t that they don’t actually want to be with them, but they need to vent. But now everyone who has heard them complain thinks that their partner is no good for them and should get kicked to the curb.

          Notice how your words can effect and shape how others view reality. You can use this trick to your advantage by putting those you care for in a positive light before introducing them to people who are important to you.

          By helping to form a good impression of someone before introducing them, you are creating an opportunity for a postive bond between the two parties and you too.

          Reference

          More by this author

          Anna Chui

          Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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          Last Updated on September 17, 2018

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

          Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

          When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

          Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

          1. You’re depressed about your home life.

          No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

          However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

          If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

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          When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

          You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

          2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

          Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

          If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

          You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

          If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

          3. You can’t stop snooping.

          Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

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          I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

          Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

          So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

          It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

          If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

          4. You’re afraid of commitment.

          If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

          Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

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          No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

          If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

          Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

          5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

          If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

          Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

          Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

          Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

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          If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

          6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

          When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

          When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

          If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

          7. You chase past feelings.

          It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

          You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

          When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

          Final thoughts

          If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

          Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

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