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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Fear & The First Impression

     Welcome to The Road to a Dream. A Recent Newsletter/Blog Post by Marcy Kennedy got me to thinking. And that is a good thing, right? Keep the ol’ gray matter from becoming sluggish! Her post was titled Do You Trust In First Impressions? 
      In her post she mentioned A) how she had relied on first impressions before, B) how doing so almost cost her what turned out to be a great friendship, and C) how another person’s first impression of her had been negative based on a minute amount of information. This is me paraphrasing, so please be sure to check out the original source. 
     As I said, this post got me to thinking because I, too, have been the subject/victim of a less-than-favorable first impression…many times, in fact. I’ve known this about myself for many years now. It isn’t a surprise to me. More times than not, when I meet a person for the first time a negative impression can be made for a number of reasons:
  • Some folks will assume I am lazy since I am overweight
  • Some folks think I can be “bitchy” because I am not a smiley person
  • Some folks assume I hold generic stereotype impressions of THEM based on the fact that I fit the role of middle-class-white-American
     We all know that there are stereotypes for just about everything and everyone…right? And even if someone doesn’t verbalize their opinion, the way they treat you speaks volumes. For me, I may be slowing down at my age, but I am not lazy. While I couldn’t run from a mugger if I had to, I’m not exactly a slug either. I’m always doing something, even while watching television.

     The “bitchy” aspect can be harder to overcome. I have to remind myself to smile more when I am in social situations that are unfamiliar to me. Not because I am a negative person. But I just am not wired that way. There is nothing wrong with not being a “smiley” person. I may not have laugh lines, but I don’t have frown wrinkles either!

     The third point I mentioned is much more prevalent than I ever thought. I also believe this is regional. Where I live now, persons of color are pretty rare. When the Other Half was in the Navy, we were in a community of people that covered the gamut of race/color/creed. And since Other Half and I grew up in the Army community, we had the same exposure as children, so never thought about it.

     What does this have to do with first impressions? Bear with me; I’m getting there. I recently went into a store and purchased a food item (a specific type of noodle) used in Filipino cooking. The person at the register looked at me and even went so far as to voice her confusion. She asked me if I knew what to do with them. I politely explained that I did know how to make pancit, a Filipino dish taught to me by a Filipino neighbor many years ago.

     How is all this related, you ask? Well, on this Road that I am traveling, I have decided to try and form a group for local writers. When the idea first came to me I was excited. Then the fear hit. My old buddy…Fear and his cousin Fear-of-Failure. My ability to have a not so great first impression upon folks almost had me tossing this idea out the window.

      It took me about two days to fight out of the negative loop that was spinning in my mind.

  • What if I made an idiot of myself?
  • What if I make a horrible first impression?
  • What if I advertise for the group and no one shows up?
  • What if I run out of things to do for the group?
  • What if I can’t hold the attention of these strangers?
  • What if I can’t afford to keep it going?
  • Ad nauseum
     See what I mean? Self-defeating questions that have the ability to bring me to a screeching halt before I even attempt to try this idea. The old me might have given in to Fear. The “new” me, however…she kicked the Fear (and his nasty cousin) to the curb. Yeah, it took me two days. But I choose to think of it as “at least it didn’t take two weeks/months/years.” 
      To borrow from Marcy’s post… “Do you trust in first impressions? Have your first impressions always been right? Why do you think so many of us do trust in first impressions?” And I will add one other question…Does our fear cause us to judge/evaluate too quickly?
      What do you think? Please leave a comment below if you would like. Each commenter will be entered into July’s drawing for a prize! If you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for new postings on The Road to a Dream.


This week I will Spotlight 2 vendors at my favorite online shopping destination. If anyone knows of an Etsy Anonymous 12-step program, let me know. I’m addicted to Etsy!


deVreeseskincare … This shop makes the absolute BEST Goat Milk Soap you will ever find, in my humble opinion. I have very sensitive skin and I am prone to migraines induced by many fragrances. It is wonderful to find a product that doesn’t cause me an issue with either of these areas. She offers many fragrances for her products, but personally I love lavender. I’m positive Patricia de Vreese could find a fragrance that you would love, too.


SunflowerTieDyes … I have learned something new about myself, thanks to this vendor! I’m a hippie at heart. OK, maybe I just love tie-dye clothing. Who knows for sure? I have purchased several items from Theresa Foti, the shop owner. She even took the effort and time to acquire the correct size materials so I could have two tie-dye dresses! They are so cute. And she makes the cutest tie-dyed t-shirt with a cat on it. Most of you know how much I love cats!


  1. I found myself struggling with this same issue often until I decided I needed to be comfortable in my won skin. My struggle came in the form of not wanting to be "mis-represented". This is now something I don't concern myself with as much unless the situation really calls for it (generally at work). Great post! Keep up the great work!