Skip to main content

You are in the: Poor Self Image article section        

I feel ugly when someone doesn’t take a good first impression of me

Often people are judged quickly and incorrectly based on the first impression a person takes of them. When this judgement is negative it can hurt their feelings …and in a lot of cases this can lead to feelings of being unattractive.

This is especially true if it is reinforcing negative feelings someone ALREADY has.

If someone has an emotional nerve about their looks (and it bothers them a lot), they can have a tendency to view the world through a specific set of glasses where they are subconsciously looking for proof that they are ugly.

When this type of person comes across someone who:

  • Doesn’t smile at them
  • Doesn’t reply back to them on a public bus
  • Or doesn’t salute them when they allow someone to cross the street in front of them

…they can take this as a sign that that person doesn’t like their looks (i.e. the one thing that bothers them the most).

Do looks play a role in first impression psychology?

Looks do play a role to a certain degree (Check out my article: How Important Is Physical Look When Trying To Make A Good First Impression). However, the role looks play is only a small part of how first impressions are made.

And in most cases it is one of the LEAST influential.

The psychology of first impressions is a complicated process that includes many factors unrelated to the actual person giving the impression. This means that even if you have been judged negatively based on a first impression …it may have nothing to do with you.

If you have ever been judged badly based on your first impression it is worth understanding the psychology of first impressions.

4 Factors Of First Impression Psychology …That Have NOTHING To Do With You

Below are several factors that can determine how others form their first impressions of you:

  • How Did You Make Them Feel? : People frequently associate the feelings they have in someone’s presence with the personality and character of that person. If during your first meeting with someone you were shy and quiet …then a person who already suffers from low self esteem might feel uneasy and view you as arrogant. The result is a negative first impression that had nothing to do with your true character or looks.
  • Social Exchange Theory: According to the Social Exchange Theory, people consider their own interests first when judging someone else and placing a value on them. For example, a woman who is financially insecure will assign a higher value to a rich man based on her first impression because his status dovetails with her self interest.
  • Individual Psychology Theory: This theory is similar to Social Exchange Theory. Individual Psychology Theory contends that people’s first impression of another person comes from their estimation of how the other person can help them meet their psychological goals. For example, if you play a particular sport and you want to excel in it …you’re likely to form a positive first impression of someone who also plays that sport if you feel you can learn from them and perhaps practise with them to increase your skill level. And this can happen, even if you don’t particularly connect well with that person on a personal level. It’s all about what your subconscious has deemed could be to your benefit by getting to know this particular person better.
  • The Circumstances Of Your Meeting: The circumstances of how (and when) you meet someone can greatly affect their impression of you. If someone has just had an argument with someone … they may inadvertently project those negative feelings onto you without realizing it …and as a result sour your first encounter together. And visa-versa. You may do the same to them. In such circumstances, failing to smile or project warmth onto the person …can result in them presuming your tired or blank facial expression is a sign that you are unfriendly or boring etc. Often times, rejection and poor impressions people form of you are a result of misperceptions …and not a problem with you at all.

Can first impressions be changed?

The good news about bad first impressions is that they can be changed …often very quickly. Researchers have found that as your personality begins to assert itself people re-orient their impression of you.

After people have gotten to know someone better their ideas about that person are informed more by the person’s personality and character …than their initial looks and presentation. This is the way our minds are built. Our minds constantly have to re-assess the people and circumstances around us.

Our perceptions about someone’s looks change when we get to know that person better. So the next time you agonize over the permanence of a bad first impression remember that according to psychology it is never too late to begin changing someone’s mind.


Report