“First impressions matter. Experts say we size up new people in somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes.” – Elliott Abrams
Typically when we think of first impressions we think about people. While we should try and get to know people before we judge them, the truth is we do exactly what the quote says above. We meet people, and then decide who they are in about 2 minutes. I experience this every year with students and parents at the beginning of the year. They typically size me up on parent-teacher nights at the beginning of the year. I have to be honest; I do the same thing. While the goal for all of us should be to get to know one another first, our brains typically start making decisions for us right away. We have to take these first impressions, and allow them to be changed while we get to know people. I read a book recently called Talking to Strangers. It talked about why we often misread strangers, and how it can lead to issues. He used famous examples from history to show what can happen when we misread strangers. From Hitler to Amanda Knox, we see what can happen if we allow a first impression to dominate how we feel about someone can destroy how we should truly view a person.
When I visited Catawba Falls on spring break, these images above are the first impression I received of this place. When we pulled up we saw that the parking lot was closed, but several people were parked on the side of the road at the entrance. We decided to join those people, and we parked on the side of the road with them. As soon as we stepped out of the car we took in all of the amazing sights and sounds. We paused and smelled the clean mountain air. We walked over to the stream at the base and listened to the sound of the stream. The first impression I had of this place was that it was going to be amazing. This was one time when the first impression was spot on!