The importance of a great first impression cannot be stressed enough. A first impression is seen as the foundation for any relationship with any person. It is quite difficult to express your true persona when you’re meeting a person for the very first time. Often, people give in to their nerves and start saying things that they later wish they hadn’t. Lame jokes, a condescending mood, an overzealous attitude, social awkwardness or outright inappropriate remarks can all contribute to creating a bad first impression.
If you’ve already put yourself in such a situation then there’s no reason to feel too bad about it. A bad first impression is like a dent on your reputation that can be repaired and even entirely reversed. Here are 6 ways in which you can take a second bite at the cherry.
1) Don’t linger on your mistakes
When you make a mistake, the first thing you need to do is acknowledge it. For instance, if you’ve been rude to someone that you have just met, you should feel guilty about it. However, don’t let the guilt overshadow you. Just because you’ve misbehaved once doesn’t mean that you are a foul-mouthed redneck who doesn’t have a care in the world. In other words, there is a clear line between owning up to your mistakes and dwelling on them.
2) Take Immediate Action
Research tells us that it takes a fraction of a second for people to decide whether they like someone that they’ve just met. Hence, if you don’t want to end up on the wrong side of a person after creating a bad first impression, apologize immediately. If you put in an effort to correct yourself as soon as possible, the person is more likely to overlook your faulty behaviour.
Keep in mind that a simple “I’m sorry” won’t always cut it. Do a little extra to strengthen your apology. For example, you could offer to buy the person a drink if you’re at a party or you could simply provide a reasonable excuse for your earlier mistake.
3) Consistency is key
It’s not always easy to impress a person at first go. It takes time for you to reveal your true character to the person. If the first meeting went horribly wrong, there’s no reason to become upset or frustrated. Focus on how you can improve your behaviour the next time around and maintain a certain level of sincerity and courtesy in your words and gestures. Over time, the person will eventually begin to appreciate you for who you are and change his or her perception about you.
4) Mix it up
Sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you have created a bad first impression by going out of your comfort zone to impress someone. In such cases, try to divert the person’s mind from your earlier blunder by showing off a different and more favourable side of your personality. If your jokes didn’t work on the person, then steer your conversation towards topics that display your sincerity or integrity. Keep chipping away till the person actually finds interest in you.
5) Better late than never
It’s not the end of the world if you forgot or were reluctant to apologize the first time around. The sincerity of your apology is far more important the quickness. It’s never too late to be sorry. As a matter of fact, you may even reverse the initial damage done by being humble enough to be the bigger person and apologize. The other person is likely to appreciate your humility and change the way he or she sees you.
Sometimes it’s not necessary to respond to a bad first impression. It all depends upon who you were trying to impress. If it’s a random person you met in the streets or at a cocktail party then you don’t have to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of making the perfect first impression. On the other hand, you should always persevere to impress people who are important to you on a personal or business level.
Well if you have rubbed some people off in the wrong way with your unpleasant attitude then these aforementioned 6 strategies are bound to get you right back on the track. Don’t keep lying on the ground. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start walking forward with your head held high.