Ever since the book came out, I've received feedback about how it's made women think about friendships throughout their lives, as well as who is in their lives now. The goal of this blog is to open up and create a dialogue about friendships: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Each week I will post my thoughts, experiences, as well as various articles, topics or quotes that I feel are important when examining female friendships. Please feel free to leave comments; I look forward to hearing from you!

Email me: survivingfemalefriendships@gmail.com

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Friendships and First Impressions

I was recently talking with a friend I’ve known since college about my first impression of her; I told her I was intimidated by her strong personality, but as I got to know her, we connected on our similar backgrounds (both from the east coast) and career aspirations (both psychology majors).  Her strong personality became a trait that I admired and no longer found intimidating.  That conversation led me to think about other long-time friendships, what my first impression was, and how I met that friend.  Many of my first impressions ended up being totally wrong, which I now find quite humorous.

The idea of first impressions makes me curious about how we present ourselves to potential friends, and why we may not show our true selves in the beginning.  Fear may play a role, which leads us to hold back and test out this person, which is what I refer to in the book as our “emotional baggage” (past painful friendship experiences).  We may act more tough or confident than we actually feel; or we may act shy or seem insecure depending on our level of comfort in these new, often awkward situations.  

It also could be about timing – for example, you’ve had a horrible day and have plans to attend a friends’ birthday dinner party.  Your friend wants you to meet some of her friends, so you smile and introduce yourself, but inside, you’re feeling as though you want to crawl under a table.  How does that present to the people you’ve met?  Or perhaps you’ve had the best day ever, and you’re happier than a person who just won the lottery; how does that present to others?  Pompous?  Or someone who seems energetic?  (Frankly, people who are always happy kind of scare me, but that’s another issue…)  Depending on the mood we’re in on that particular day, hour or even minute, it’s interesting how we portray ourselves and how we perceive others.

Think for a second about how and under what circumstances you’ve met some of your friends and what you thought about them during that first interaction.  Try to remember what was going on in your life at that time.  All of these factors most likely played more into your perceptions of each other than you think – and all it took was a few seconds.

Makes you think twice about the next time you meet someone, and what that first impression is truly based on: possibly fear or nerves, your past, your mood in that moment, what’s going on in your life...not such a simple thing!

1 comment:

  1. I often reminisce with my closest friends about the time when we first met. With me it always seamed to be a connection with my children. Now that I am writing, it is for each one of my children that I have a long lasting friendship with each women. So I meet each women at a different time in my life, when the children were young. (9 mo., 3 yrs., and 6 yrs. old.)
    Anna-Maria now 22, found me Gail, Herb Jr. now 19, found me Kathy, and Nathaniel now 17, found me Lisa. It seams like each one of these women have been a part of my life in such a special way, and I them. Here’s another coincidence, their birthdays are very close to each other in the spring.