We are told so often that people form initial impression of whoever they meet within the first few seconds. It’s been suggested that hiring managers decide whether they will hire a candidate shortly after a handshake, a jury decides who wins the case after the opening statements, and women decide whether they will sleep with a guy within a minute of meeting him—or less.

Indeed, we can’t help but assume certain things about the people we meet, but it is very important not let those first impressions mislead you. These first impressions are likely to be wrong all too often for at least two common but compelling reasons:

1. No Matter How Good Your Intuition Is, It’s Bound To Fail You Every Now And Then

crystal ball

How many times have you assumed that a person you just met was stuck up, to only later find out that he she was just shy and introverted? How often does your first impression tell you that the person you are dealing with is trustworthy and reliable, to only be disappointed with their lack of follow-through? How many times has someone said out of the blue that they don’t care about money, and you only later saw how cheap and petty he was?

When it comes to girls and game, the most frustrating experience that we have to deal with is going out with a girl who seems to really, really like us only to never return our calls and text messages the next day. Who know which one of the many reasons made her change her mind or send false sign of interest in the first place, but the bottom line is the same—we misread her behavior and assumed interest where it turned out simply not to be.

Although your intuition can certainly be helpful in linking certain behaviors to people’s qualities and you may be right more often than not, it’s far from being 100% reliable, no matter how experienced and perceptive you are.

2. Many Have Mastered How To Make The First Impression They Want You To Have

socks on suit

This is what spies and serial killers have been doing for generations in order to get what they want. It would be easy for anyone who has serious mental or anger issues to act nice and kind for an hour at a party or on a date, and no one will have any idea about how loudly they scream at their family member or partner or how many plates they have broken during domestic arguments?

The people who are aware of their undesirable qualities are often particularly good at overcompensating for them and putting up a social mask that’s a complete opposite of who they really are. For instance, a manager who is notoriously mean can be super nice while he is interviewing you for a job, but once you are on board, he will magically go back to being the abusive, micromanaging asshole that he is known to be with everyone else.

A person who struggles financially and who goes to a fancy party might put himself together better than the rest in order to make sure that he makes that first impression of doing as well as other attendees, however false that impression might be.

When getting to know who someone really is, there simply isn’t a substitute for letting time show their character. This applies to hiring an employee and meeting women as much as to any other are of life. It takes time and seeing people in action in certain situations in order to really know how trustworthy, generous, and reliable they are, and there is simply not shortcut to finding out the truth.

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