Personality and Impression

Personality is not constant.  Depending on my mood, I will have a different personality, therefore giving people different impressions of me.  One day I might be very inquisitive, leading the conversation with new questions or asking follow-up questions to dive deeper.  Another day I might feel like letting other people take control of the conversation, and just comment on bits and pieces here and there.  I might be in the mood for light conversation sometimes, and serious ones other times.  Or I might just not talk and just listen.

Personality influences people around you unequally.  By going to a lot of social events, I have developed separate personalities based on my mood and the situation I am in, and by becoming more self-conscious about these moods, I’ve started to notice the same moods and personalities in other people.  This lets me see from a 3rd party perspective, what the impression on the group such a personality has, and it has been very informative.  What I learned is that some personalities cause certain kinds of people to instantly gravitate toward you, and others to instantly begin avoiding you.  What this means is that the age old saying that you can’t please everyone holds true.  Also, now that you don’t have to worry about pleasing everyone since it’s impossible, you can focus your attention on what you should be doing all along: being yourself, and not what you think others want you to be.

How impressions are made: people are consciously or sub-consciously judging all the time, and in the end what they think and remember about you is a combination of the impression you give with how long you give it (impression X duration) and how interested they are in it (impression X interest).  If they get the impression that you are not talkative, and that impression lasts for an hour, then their impression is that you are not talkative.  If you follow up with an impression of 3 hours of talking, they may change their impression to believe you are talkative.  If during these 3 hours you mention liking Hamburgers, and the person you’re talking to loves hamburgers, that piece of information is going to stick out more because it’s a common interest.  An impression is strengthened by time, or by interest.

However, the longer they hang out with you, the more opportunities you have to show them who you really are, and the more likely you two can become comfortable friends.  Read more about Getting Comfortable With a Friend.

More on Friendship and Social Skills

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