Two Reasons First Impressions Aren’t As Important As You Think

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.

Read More: 5 Signs A Girl Has Daddy Issues

54 thoughts on “Two Reasons First Impressions Aren’t As Important As You Think”

  1. This is why I think job interviews are so fucking stupid.
    The fact is you may never really get to know someone. There have been old women who found out after their husbands died that the man was a murderer.

    1. Yes they are… when they start asking obvious questions like… “so why do you want to work for us?” I”m attempted to give them straight up honest answer like… “um because I need money”, I know it won’t “satisfy” them so in return I have to “lie” as well and say I would LOVE to work for this company… and then hope that I will be hired. I mean if we are going to sell ourselves to work for a big corporation company, I wouldn’t see any moral obligation to lie and get hired… I noticed the pattern of those companies putting more female HR to give interviews… Most of the time they don’t have qualifications themselves and have no understanding but yet they just give interviews… it’s like putting on a fake mask and getting “ahead” of other people… First impressions do matter but I can easily put up a fake act and win some people’s heart with hidden fake agenda. I work out and I can put a fake smile. First impressions do matter but it’s not all that end. If some sociopath decides to put up an act, it’s only matter of time before his/her agenda gets revealed.

      1. “Why do you want to work for this company?” When this question is being asked, they know you’ll be lying and yet they keep on asking it.
        How retarded can this shit be?..

        1. I ask that very question of people who apply to work for my company. And if the don’t give a shit, neither do I.

        2. If I’m asking it, it’s because you are so boring that I have nothing else to say to you. I’m asking because I have to fill time before the next interviewer arrives, not because I care about a bullshit answer. It’s a sign that the interview is going badly, and you probably aren’t getting the job.

      2. If I can’t have a pleasant conversation with you for 15 minutes, why would I want to sign up to spend 10+ hours per day with you? If you are being asked these types of questions, it is a sign that the interview is going badly.
        My goal in every interview is to make sure I never hear a question like this. I do this by taking the lead, politely steering the conversation to things I want to talk about, and speaking more than the interviewer.
        You approach an interview like you approach a woman. If you expect to sit there while she asks all the questions and you give generic responses, you’ll be spending lots of time with your hand. If you do this in an interview, you’ll have lots of time to spend with your hand.

    2. So hire someone flat out with no interview and test them out for a while to determine they are an unworkable, unlikeable disaster, that you are now stuck with because of our fucked up employment laws? Let us know how that works out.

      1. Give them a one or two week trail kinda like they do with a probation period but only shorter, if they do a good job keep them on and if not fire them and move on.
        This makes a hell of alot more sense then just hiring the guy that talks a good game but in the end is a bum.

        1. Skilled interviewers can draw out the well dressed “bum” in short order though. Given as any good job can have hundreds of applicants it is absolutely infeasible to spend 2 weeks worth of salary “interviewing” each one as you suggest.

        2. What you’re talking about is incredibly expensive. Some bums may slip through the interview, but most do not. And the interview is a much more economical way of weeding them out. But even if you believe that someone can fake it through an interview, what makes you think they can’t fake it through a two week trial period? Is it really efficient to have everyone else essentially on alert to observe this person in try-out mode and trying to catch him slacking rather than have them focused on their jobs? You could spend a lot more money and effort to get the same result – a bum.

        3. The bottom line is you’re not going to know how well somone performs a particular job until you actually witness how they perform that job.
          This cannot be faked, either they know what they are doing or they don’t.
          Talking with someone for 20 minutes is not a substitute for this.

        4. I actually agree with you, but I think you are missing my point. There are various estimates of the cost of hiring a new employee. The low end places it at 1.5 times the employee’s first year cost. Let’s low ball it even more and say that the cost to hire – excluding the interview – could be done for .5 times the employee’s first year salary.
          If you have a company with a job opening for a $50,000 job, that means you will spend $25,000 on whomever fills that position – this covers the recruiting (without an interview), the initial in-processing (collecting administrative information, financial information, contact information, taxes, etc…), initial training, initial equipment, etc…. Now suppose for this one opening, you have 1,000 applicants. How are you going to determine which one of them to try out in the role?
          Remember that this trial period will likely cause you to incur most, if not all, of those $25,000 costs. Also remember that the 999 folks you don’t try out aren’t going to sit on the bench waiting for you to discover them, and if they are more talented than the guy you try out, you probably lose out on the opportunity to hire the best person.
          My point is that the only realistic way to find the right people for the job is to interview first. Interviewing is not the end-all, be-all solution. But it is an efficient way to try to weed out the obvious rejects and narrow it down to a small pool of better qualified applicants. Sure it doesn’t work all the time, but it is a much more cost effective way to hire than to simply take the first resume off the pile, and spend all the money necessary to give someone a trial period that they may fail at – with all of the attendant disruption and impact to productivity that this entails.
          Job interviews have been happening for centuries. There is a reason that they happen – people have determined they are a good way to narrow the pool of applicants. You are free to disagree with that assessment, start your own business and try a different approach, but you will find it financially ruinous.

        5. You could have part of the interview be an actual demonstration of their ability in whatever job it is that they are applying for. This could be 30 minutes or so depending on how long that particular task takes.
          This would be a much more significant piece of data to use when making your selection for the job than what kind of tie they are wearing or if they didn’t smile enough.

        6. In my profession, that’s simply not feasible. Perhaps this works somewhere that there are random tasks to perform, but in general, most professional office jobs do not work in a way that would make this feasible.
          At the end of the day, this is just semantics. You’re conceding that an interview is necessary, but disputing what should be covered by the interviewer. I have no quarrel with an interviewer asking about relevant topics, or asking for a demonstration of your knowledge or skills. My main point is that if you show up to an interview unprepared and clueless, it will be very apparent, very quickly, that you are out of your depth. In this case, the generic questions come out to fill the time until the interview is over. I have to interview people from time to time at my firm. If the applicant can talk about other things, that is ideal. If not, I will ask generic questions. At this point, it is still possible for the interviewee to salvage things and make a favorable impression, but with each new generic question I have to ask without you showing some sign of life or ability, you are trending further negative.

        7. One other follow up thought – the demonstration you propose is also not perfect in weeding out shitheads. For example, if you wanted to find a welder, you could make him demonstrate that he can competently weld something. Fine. But what you haven’t learned is whether this person is a complete prick to deal with on a daily basis. Is this person a moron? Can this person speak and understand English? Is this person someone with whom you have anything in common that you would enjoy working with? Does this person ask intelligent questions when he is unsure what to do? Etc… These are the types of things an interview gets at that a demonstration does not.

    3. Some questions might be stupid, and many HR interviewers are *horrible* at interviewing, but the primary purpose of an interview is quite sound. It’s not hard to ferret out that a person is, or isn’t, what his resume claims. This is especially important in the tech and other STEM fields where you probably don’t want to just take the word of the applicant that he’s what he claims.

  2. I’ve found first impressions are overrated as well. Mainly because your opinion of someone changes over time. And once you’ve known someone long enough, you forget the first impression. Sometimes I can’t even recall the first time I’ve met some of the people who I know.

    1. That’s not the point though, you likely got to know them that long because they gave you a good first impression, or you were around them long enough to overcome that first impression. In an interview setting, they aren’t going to see you long enough to change from their first impression, which is why it is important. If you come across like a loser, you won’t have time to change their minds.

    2. Irrelevant because the reason you know them at all is precisely because of that first impression. They gave you something appealing that made you want to continue your relationship with them.

      1. Some of the guys that turned out to be the best friends I ever had were guys that I didn’t like much at first. One guy I had actually fought and beat up later turned out to be my most trustable friend.

        1. Well and fine. But we’re not talking about making friends in real life, we’re talking about interviewers and interviewees during a typical job interview.

  3. Well maybe the author doesn’t think first impressions are important.
    I wonder what he believes of last impressions?

  4. “Many Have Mastered How To Make The First Impression They Want You To Have”
    Mastered with who? It all depends on context.
    Are you a
    Sibling’s friend?
    First date?
    Person in a dark alley?
    Person at my door?
    When you get to my age, ain’t many rodeos new.

  5. I think you have the wrong idea of first impressions. It isn’t about getting the wrong idea about others but understanding what is going on around you. If a person is very appealing to you, odds are high they want something from you. Attention, sex, power, money, same difference. They want you to relinquish something to them. Does this mean you should be pessimistic? No!! Take it with a grain of salt and keep your eyes open. As sophisticated as some people like to think they are, most are pretty stupid and have predictable patterns. The best thing to do with someone you are worried about doing something harmful to you would be to take them into an uncontrolled environment where the reaction can only be natural. This works especially well for anyone whom you don’t trust their intentions. People have a hard time keeping facades under duress and without social pillars (good friends or worshippers) near by. And for the ones you think have mastered this just pay attention to their personal life. How many people do they know or are friends with who aren’t kissing their ass at this time? If their status and achievements were downgraded, how many associates would they lose.
    First impressions are wonderful but still, you must follow the golden rule: assess your situation wisely, take account of variables, and stay divorced from the end result. Besides with women, you never owned any of that interaction to begin with other than you. Whatever extra you get, make out, sex, threesome, are all bonuses.

    1. Additionally, when we say “first impressions count” we generally mean the impression you have on someone else, not what your interpretation of someone else’s personality or their motives based on an entire evening spent with them.
      By first impression we refer to what people unconsciously and immediate feel about you when you walk into a room. So for example, the immediate impression a hiring manager has when you show up to an interview wearing a tracksuit instead of a suit. That will be a tough one to overcome.

  6. Someone saying “I don’t care about money” isn’t part of the first impression.
    I have become pretty freaking good at sizing someone up from the first few seconds after I meet them. I’ll admit I have had some huge mistakes, but a majority of them are spot on. First impressions aren’t meant to be 100% accurate, they are supposed to give a general idea of their character.
    If the first thing someone says to you is I don’t care about money, my first impression isn’t going to be that this guy doesn’t care about money. I can tell you that.

  7. These are applicable to your own impressions of others, with a caveat in a moment, but these do nothing to lessen the necessity of making a good first impression yourself. It may be bullshit that the hiring manager catches you on a bad day and fucks you over, but that’s the way the world works. Expecting the world to change to suit you is the kind of bullshit mentality SJWs have. Fuck that.
    Now for the caveat – I’ll acknowledge that sometimes I have been wrong about someone, but more often than not, my initial assessment is accurate. But even assuming it wasn’t, so what? First impressions are a mark of respect. If some woman shows up on a date looking like a slob, she has already nexted herself because she is not respectful. She can have the heart of a saint and a tight pussy that feels like silk, but at the end of the day, she did not care enough to present her best self to me. She started me with a shit test. Similarly, if some dipshit millenial shows up to interview dressed unprofessionally, ungroomed, with piercings in his face and gives me an entitled attitude, he can kiss his prospects goodbye. That’s disrespectful to me, to my firm, and to the profession. Sure he may be a genuis with an iron work ethic, but is he going to piss off our best client so he leaves? Is he going to be disrespectful to a judge and lose an important case (yes it’s bullshit, but it happens, and I can’t take that chance). He may be a nice guy, but my impression of him tells me he’ll be insufferable to be cooped up with in an office for 12+ hours per day.
    I am willing to acknowledge when people have recovered from an initial deficit, but you determine whether you put yourself there in the first place. This site preaches seeing people for what they are, not what we wish they were. I see my first impressions as an extension of this. Proove me wrong, sure, but it’s better not to get on my shitlist in the first place.

    1. A girl showing up looking a mess is very very bad. That is her basically showing you one of two things: she doesn’t want to be there or she is “comfortable” around you now and this is what you’ll have to put up with as long as you date her.

    2. You single handedly saved this thread from one of my 10,000 word diatribes. heh
      Well said, agree 100%.

    3. ” Similarly, if some dipshit millenial shows up to interview dressed
      unprofessionally, ungroomed, with piercings in his face and gives me an
      entitled attitude, he can kiss his prospects goodbye.”
      That attitude must have spread like a disease when this group was growing up. The bar has been lowered so much these days. I hear many younger people talking about how certain jobs are not worth it, etc, etc, etc….you have to start somewhere, you fuckers.
      Many of these younger people, today, can’t keep one job. Over the years, I’ve gone to school full time, worked full time (same time) or I’ve worked a couple of jobs. They weren’t great jobs (or careers) at the time…they were jobs (a.k.a work). I didn’t go to them thinking “well, they don’t pay enough so I might as well not go”…it was work, you lazy fuckers. You have to start somewhere.
      And just so many of younger people are aware…the minimum wage in the 80s was about 3.35 an hour. It hasn’t adjusted much since then but like I said…it was work (no entitled attitude required….just show up for work).
      Many, today, can’t even do that one without fucking it up.

      1. Participation trophies sent the very clear message that it doesn’t matter what you do, you should win. Parents who demanded participation trophies are the same ones that fostered that exact attitude for their spawn’s entire life.
        I honestly believe that.

        1. I agree. It sends the wrong message “just be average and you too can win”.
          No, you win when you are the best and you need to improve if you didn’t win.
          I think one of the real problems in our society is how our society (at least in the U.S.) worships at the church of ATM (money). Once big money gets involved, it’s usually all over (you have no idea what the outcome could be at that point). I’ve seen this play out, countless times, in professional sports.

        2. ‘just be average?’ whoa whoa whoa, slow down gunner! the ‘average’ person smack dab in the middle doesn’t qualify for all of those juicy freebies in the ussa! gotta shoot for far LESS than average in order to rack-up those freebies!

  8. Typically I find people that have good self images of themselves tend overall to leave better impressions, regardless of what # the encounter is.
    It’s most important to leave interactions on a non-awkward note. It doesn’t matter if you’re pissed, happy, content, sad, or confused, just that there is some clear emotional state upon ending the interaction. I’ll admit to being a bit awkward, and was through high school somewhat.. Must have been the drugs. Regardless, and this applies especially to women, the last feeling she left feeling with you is the one she’ll carry for a while until you meet again.

  9. Typically, I find that lawyers are the opposite of what they think they are.
    One screwed me over…..and then speaks in front of his congregation about jesus.
    One says they are “for the people”, and tries to corner the market on medicinial maryjane.
    One told me how the justice system needs to be revamped and reformed….but when I explained to him that the BAR is a foreign entity that has power over its members he gave me a C in my “law” class.
    Another told me he wanted to see my problems worked on….but he over charged me and denies that we could solve them by doing the right thing.
    This article is a testament on how lawyers and legalese (lying) has been taken to an artform by you shysters.
    All we need is a cop writer in here telling us how wonderful all cops are and how we should not see them for the pathetic tools that they are.
    Sort of like you.

    1. As for lawyers:

      “All we need is a cop writer in here telling us how wonderful all cops
      are and how we should not see them for the pathetic tools that they
      People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. -George Orwell

    2. I explained to a lawyer teaching my business law class that I common law copyrighted my name as a trade name/trade mark, and he denied it’s possible. I explained since he thinks “names” are not copyrightable, the fact its a “trade mark” as well means it is.
      I also explained that the “bar association” in each state have mostly no traceable business entity filings within the U.S., thus supporting the fact you don’t need to be part of the “bar association” to practice law and that yes, in fact one non-bar-registered citizen CAN represent another person as counsel in the court room. He denied that too. I got a B that semester, even though I had a middle A on all my exams and projects.

      1. Laughable!
        I had a high B! He gave me a freaking C!
        They are all scum.
        Don’t trust them.

      2. You cannot trademark your name the lawyer is correct. You can trade mark something like Alexis Lichine Selections® if your name is Alexis Lichine and these are your wine selections (this was an actual person) after doing a trademark search and no one else is already using it. You would also have to use the trademark for it to be valid and can’t just get a trademark and sit on it. Levi may have been the name of the guy who made jeans but the actual trademark is levi’s® and since no one else was using it it became his by custom and registration a 100 years+ ago.It would be silly to think you could register your own name because there may be a million other people who had the same name so now they can’t use their own name? lol You can’t copy-write a title of a book or film etc either.If I wanted to call my book Gone With The Wind I could legally do so. Of course I couldn’t just copy the contents of the book lol
        State licensing determines who gets a medical or law licence, not some Medical Society or Bar Assoc. although they may have some influence if they make a complaint with licensing about a crooked or incompetent doctor or lawyer (individuals can do this too but coming from a bar assoc. it has more validity)
        And btw, a business law class means nothing anymore than taking a bookkeeping class makes you a CPA.

  10. Roosh and everyone on ROK,
    Certain internet service providers are now starting to block access to Return of Kings. This is complete censorship in play, and is proof that there is no more freedom on the internet.

    1. I mentioned this before. Good that you also bring this up. Something needs to be done here before none of us can get access.

    2. Can you give examples please, as in company/provider names and any other information you can find? This needs to be nipped in the bud before it becomes common practice.

    3. Yea man, give examples, that’s crazy bullshit. Roosh needs to jump on this shit if it’s true.

  11. I disagree with the premise of the article.
    First impressions do count. That said, the sociopath can project a fantastic image up front yet be a lying bastard thief underneath. The key for the honest man is trust your gut, then continue to verify over the course of your relationship to ensure that the first impression was correct.

    1. “First impression” is just another word for “instinct.” It is retarded to tell people to ignore their instincts. They exist for a reason. Sure, your instinct is wrong sometimes, but it’s accurate far more often. That has developed biologically for a reason. Ignore it at your peril.

    2. Manipulate other’s first impression of you.
      Don’t allow your first impression of others to fuck you.

    3. Reminds me of the book Blink: The Power Think without Thinking
      They found that the people who essentially “thought” they could spot a liar the best, were actually the worst at spotting actual lies and liars. I’ll take the middle road here and postulate first impressions count some of the time, but there is room for redemption in many cases. But like undoing a negative, it takes 2-9x the effort to “un-do” a bad first impression.
      In business they most definitely count. In dating they count as well. Mind you, there’s levels of impressionable behavior, and many colors to paint with, but you’ve got more leeway in a date versus business.
      I trust my gut a lot re. people, and the last dozen times I was right 100% of the time, and that’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy agenda on my behalf. It doesn’t mean I act properly on my gut feeling. I still carry some hopeful stupidity about people, women included, that who they really are (at least the manipulative act they put on) to me anyways, might not be who I perceive..but they almost always are.

    4. I have dealt with enough sociopaths and functional losers that these days the better the impression the more suspicious I get.

      1. I thought everyone in America today was either a sociopath or a functional loser…

  12. 1. You can not read minds, and no amount of rationalism will make it so. Think empirically, watch people when they think you aren’t looking.
    2. Put on a mask for everyone you meet based on what you want to accomplish. The focus on reading their behavior and being critical of your own will improve your social skills, get you what you want and if you are intelligent, reduce your arrogance and improve your productivity through self-honesty. You will meet 1-2 people you can be candid with, maybe, if you are lucky.
    Good article, needs to be said; some people are under the delusion they are unsuccessful because they made a bad first impression.

    1. Your last sentence is very true. And many do not understand that this is over the course of your entire life.

      1. They wake up 50 and still renting, still in the same place they have always been and think 2 minutes have passed; the stupidity is almost enough to warrant incredulous laughter.

  13. First impressions are important. It’s your brain instinctively picking up on visual and audio clues you may not be conciously aware of.
    Most times I overthink things and ignore my first impression, I seem to regret it afterwards.
    I’d rather trust my instincts and be wrong, then go against them and regret it. The latter seems to happen far more often than the former.

  14. Quite true! And that’s why it’s always best having friend’s you grew up with or went to school with. You’ll know all their vices (through growing up), and pros and cons. But when you meet people later in life, they’ve homed their skills to be deceptive and

  15. Great examples and true, so true. I have neighbors, seemingly happy. The woman is the majority bread winner, an accountant. Everyone’s always smiling. Red pill tells me the guy’s smile is fake. I smile back trying to see beyond his smile with my third eye. It sure would be handy to see behind a person’s mask. Even when you live with someone long term, they know how heavy a mask to put on to prevent your senses from being alerted or your response buttons from being pushed. I know, you have to wear a mask of sorts sometimes just to keep things rolling or going smoothly.

  16. Yes, it’s good to be aware of false first impressions, but I have an eye for spotting raw personalities (people who are who they say they are), and those are the people I like the best, even if their raw personality is to tell me I’m a dumb cunt. It’s all about congruence, it’s very attractive (sexually/non sexually).

  17. First impressions always mean visual impressions because that is our primary way of judging things both in the male and the female.That first impression is so strong that it may take 5 years for the person to entirely forget it even when he knows that he was wrong in his impression.
    When it comes to females that first visual impression is almost impossible to trump. A female just from the corner of her eye without even looking at you can make a decision and remember that the female is always in rejection mode. Just from a fraction of a second side glance she’ll reject on too short, too old, too young, too poor looking, too fat, black etc etc A positive reaction is not very common where she is just attracted to the guy so to get a neutral reaction where she’s not already rejecting you is actually good.The female has a lot more at stake, her pussy which is the most valuable asset she has and any sexual encounter can mean pregnancy especially in the 99.9% of human existence before birth control and abortion and it’s hardwired in her brain. A man is not as selective because he can just walk away without suffering any consequences. It’s only in the last generation where they can match him up with DNA and that’s assuming she even knows who he is.

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