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February 7, 2004
First impressions can really change the way you perceive and think of someone. Personally, when I make a first impression about someone, I have an instant stereotype I associate him or her to. I make the stereotype judgment by looks alone when I first set eyes on someone. I don’t think of how they carry themselves or what they have to say. It may not seem fair, but physical appearance is all anyone needs to gauge a first impression even though it shouldn’t have that much impact on it. You might automatically start off with negative feelings about someone by judging them. This can lead to no communication between two people, or maybe even a new friendship.
The guessing game we played during class was a good example on how you can misperceive someone by looks alone. We had to guess certain things about the four volunteers with no other knowledge about them. We had to guess if they were messy, their favorite music, what kind of car they have, favorite foods, what they like to do on a night out, what radio station they listen to and were they shop for their clothes. One major shocker was with Dan. Every group in the class perceived that he was into rap music, because he had on baggy pants and a winter hat, which nowadays is a typical “rapper” look. We came to find out, he likes rock music and doesn’t like to listen to rap at all. This was a big surprise, which goes to show how much stereotyping and generalizing was done in making this judgment by clothes alone. A person that was less of a shocker was Sean. We guessed he like to sit around and listen to rock music instead of going out and partying. We made this assumption by noticing his “Keith Richards for president” t-shirt and laid back grungy look as opposed to the sleeker look the other three volunteers had. Clothes can be a big factor in generalizing someone, and generalizing can lead to stereotyping, which may lead to more or lack of communication.
Impression can impact communication on many levels. People like to talk to or interact with others that are much like themselves. If you think back to how life was in high school, you can see how this is implied. The jocks hung around with the jocks, the band people hung around with other band members and so on. This can lead to a lack of communication among two unlike people or groups. I am more likely to talk to and hang around with someone that is into the music I like and enjoys what I like to do on a night out. It is a little unfair that people put up walls and don’t communicate with others they don’t relate to. It takes time to get to really know someone and find out what their favorite food is, what radio they listen to or how messy they are. I have seen countless movies where two very unlike people meet and fall in love. However it took time for them to get to know one another, and break down the first initial visual barrier. The very unfair but true thing to think about is that people make up their minds to fast when first coming in contact with someone. They don’t pay enough attention to actions or words. Maybe people should use audible senses as opposed to only using visual senses to perceive someone.
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