The importance of the first impression

Some people are blessed with a razor-sharp sense of observation and based on someone’s outside, they can sense people well… ideal for a first impression and is often accompanied by a sharp intuitive ability. On the other hand, some people do not see it at all, not even after a conversation and we also have the more standard type description and the latter can be useful and justified in some cases, but usually not. Sometimes it is even disastrous for a sequel.

Why categorize?

Opinions vary as to why we like to frame people, especially within seconds of observing someone. On the one hand, a first impression takes us in one direction, on the other hand it can take away the open mind. But it is pleasant and especially useful for many people, because it helps in quickly scanning. There is also the aspect that not everyone dares to trust their intuition and/or their intuition is clouded, precisely because of stereotyping.

In any case, many people quickly seek a certain degree of certainty and in this way it provides a form of certainty, which is ultimately an illusion of certainty. After all, someone’s hair color doesn’t say much and yet we attach qualifications to it.

What kind of qualifications do we depend on?

Attributing qualifications to people without real substantiation is not really useful or useful. Even though we know this all too well, we do it anyway. For many people it seems like a kind of automatic process that is set in motion when they get to know each other. It’s actually strange how the mind deals with this and sometimes it only makes it more difficult to really understand someone.

Some common qualifications based on appearance, which we sometimes unconsciously apply and partly (even to a large extent) form the first impression:

  • The well-known hair color of women … after all, brunettes are seen more as mysterious and intelligent, while blonde women have to make do with less brain capacity. The only thing that has any underlying thoughts is the age linked to the hair color. As you get older, your hair turns darker (before it possibly turns gray), which is why blonde hair is more associated with youth. But yes, with the dozens of hair colors at the hairdresser and in the drugstore, there is now little to say about that. Furthermore, gray hair has a special status, because without the face looking old(er), one quickly gets the qualification “older”. This, while many people can already turn gray in their mid-thirties and being ,somewhere in their thirties, is not classified as ,old, if we look at age.
  • Moreover, hair color is tackled more strongly among women than among men, and hair length is tackled more strongly among men. A man with slightly longer hair than ,average,, where the average has moved up considerably over the years, is more likely to be seen as artistic and creative. A man in a suit with slightly longer hair makes many people unable to place it for the simple reason that it does not actually fit within the stereotyping.
  • The clothes make the man (or woman)… and we hang a lot on that. A costume exudes authority and is perceived positively by men, while by women the costume is also often referred to as “hard” or “bitchy”. But for both men and women, in business terms we are more likely to assume something of the man or woman in a suit. It is not without reason that the consultancy world largely wears a suit. As if it makes you more professional and you can’t deliver perfect advice in jeans. The fact that this is done out of respect is usually a clincher and in the vast majority of cases has to do with a greater chance of success.
  • Make-up is something that is seen as vulgar and stupid when used in large amounts and wearing no make-up at all is quickly seen as inferior personal care and sloppy. The best thing for the first impression is to wear subtle make-up, because in addition to being more beautiful, it also gets a positive health rating and your intelligence is rated higher, while you don’t have to do anything for it. The positive health qualification can be traced back, because a blush on the cheeks is more reminiscent of the healthy farmer’s daughter and some mascara makes the eyes just that little bit more expressive.


What are other aspects that color our image?

In addition to what we see, we are also colored by a number of other aspects within ourselves, namely:

  • How you feel is important in the interpretation of the person in front of you. If you have a positive attitude, you will be milder if someone is described as “positive” on the first impression. If someone is described as “negative”, then you are also more radical in your statements and it is difficult to change that image.
  • “As the innkeeper trusts his guests” is a proverb and this makes the man or woman who is also more likely to trust himself or herself more likely to call the other person as such. The chance that you think you recognize a part of your own personality in your first impression means that you are also more likely to give the person this classification(s). Of course, this also applies to negative aspects of your personality (assuming you know yourself well!).
  • We weigh personality traits more heavily than situational circumstances. So, for example, we are more likely to look at the person who hangs up his coat and it immediately falls off the coat rack, because then he must be a clumsy person. Then there is the fact that it may be an impossibly crooked hook or the hook may simply be loose and that is why the jacket falls straight to the floor.



Apart from the fact that the first impression does not have to be wrong at all, it is important that you remain open to the real overall picture of the person. Stereotyping has been around for centuries, but given the further individualization of people and the distinctiveness that we attach great importance to, these images and therefore also the standard picture we have of people is clouded. Delving into people from pure thoughts and objectively has never done anyone any harm.

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