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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 12, 2019

          12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

          12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

          Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

          While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

          What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

          Here are 12 things to remember:

          1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

          The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

          However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

          We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

          Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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          2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

          You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

          Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

          Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

          3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

          Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

          Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

          4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

          Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

          No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

          5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

          Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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          Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

          6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

          Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

          Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

          Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

          7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

          Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

          Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

          And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

          8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

          When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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          Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

          9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

          Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

          Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

          Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

          10. Journal During This Time

          Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

          This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

          11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

          It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

          The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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          Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

          12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

          The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

          Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

          When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

          Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

          Final Thoughts

          Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

          Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

          More About Finding Yourself

          Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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