Toronto’s Globe & Mail reporter, Michael Kesterton, writes today about new research on first impressions at University of California, Berkeley. I just LIVE for these studies. (strange but true…) It seems that we can accurately sense whether a stranger is genetically inclined to be kind or trustworthy. How mind blowing is that? I suspect that manners and social customs are a kind of code that reinforces this message. So if you meet someone who seems cool and then he smiles, shakes your hand, and makes eye contact, you confirm your gut reaction. “Yes, he IS cool! I knew it.” The tiny relationship start before the first words even begin; the social ritual cements the gut reaction. Can it work the other way around? Does a gut reaction of “weird! weird! weird!” match up with odd or absent etiquette? Just sitting here waiting for a study….
Unlike you these studies scare me, and seem to confirm I am truly twisted. So many times my first gut impressions are so so wrong. I meet someone and think dweeb alert, and months later dweeb and I have become good buds. If my initial take on a person is WOW, Cool, usually what they do is coloured by that positive first take, and it may take weeks to destroy that positive first impression, bad etiquette or not. Is my sensor broken beyond repair?