Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

    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.

      Advertising

      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.

        Advertising

        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.

          Advertising

          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 Content Strategist of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

          Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life How Self-Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) 23 Books About Racism to Inspire You to Embrace Race and Do Good 50 Life Purpose Quotes to Give Meaning to Your Life

          Trending in Social Animal

          1 How to Use the Law of Reciprocity for Effective Persuasion 2 What Will Happen When You Surround Yourself With Positive People? 3 How to Surround Yourself With Positive People 4 How to Create Social Goals to Make an Impact in the World 5 The Lifehack Show: Improving Social Skills with Dr. Daniel Wendler

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising
          Advertising

          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.

          Advertising

          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.

          Advertising

          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.

          Advertising

          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

          Read Next