Thursday, November 25, 2021


By Dan Matthews

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The holiday season can be an interesting blend of exciting and stressful. Between family gatherings, work events, and parties with friends, you’re probably going to end up meeting a lot of new people. While that’s always fun, it’s important to remember that first impressions matter.

It only takes a matter of seconds for someone to evaluate you upon your first meeting. The nerve-racking part about that is you never know exactly what they’re looking for or how they might be “judging” you.

So, doing a complete overhaul of how you might come across to others can benefit you this holiday season. From the way you dress to the way you act, you can master first impressions to land “that” job, hit it off with the in-laws, or even meet someone new who could end up being your date for New Year’s Eve. Whoever you’re trying to impress, you can do it with these first impression suggestions.

Clothes Make the Man (or Woman)

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Appearances are more important than most people want to admit. When you start talking to someone, you can let your personality shine through. But, before either of you says a word, a person’s first impression of you will be based on how you look – including what you’re wearing. If you’re attending an ugly sweater party, that’s one thing. But, taking pride in your wardrobe can make a big difference in how you’re viewed.

Some helpful tips to keep in mind as you try to choose the right outfit for your next event include:

Your clothing should be a reflection of your personality. If you’re wearing something that doesn’t feel like “you,” you’re likely to be uncomfortable, and that can affect your conversations. Set the tone with pieces that make you feel good, and use color psychology to your advantage. Wearing white can make you look clean and put together, while black can give off a strong and serious vibe. Think about the “feel” you want to give up when choosing what to wear.

Be Authentic

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While you might get a little nervous about making first impressions, it’s crucial to be yourself and let your true personality shine through. Most people can tell fairly easily if someone is being disingenuous. That can rub them the wrong way and your best efforts can lead to everyone thinking you’re inauthentic.

One way to make sure you always feel like your best self is to set boundaries. The holidays can be busy and stressful, which is why self-care is so necessary. You can’t control everything that happens, but you can choose what you will and won’t do. Some examples of how to put healthy boundaries in place include:

  • Saying “no thanks” to things that make you uncomfortable
  • Communicating reasonable expectations
  • Learning to say “no” without guilt

Setting boundaries will give you more time to take care of yourself, so you’ll be well-rested and focused for every event. That will always make it easier to be your true self and let your personality and sense of humor shine through. You might be surprised by how refreshing most people will find your authenticity.

Avoid Common Pitfalls

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Knowing what to avoid when making first impressions is an important component to mastering them. By avoiding some common pitfalls, you can feel more confident in your approach, no matter who you’re trying to impress.

First, give as many people your full attention as possible. At a bustling event, it might be difficult to focus on one conversation at a time – especially if you want to meet a lot of people. But, even speaking with someone for five minutes, don’t let your eyes wander or let yourself seem disengaged in the conversation. Maintaining eye contact will make a big difference in how each person sees you.

A major problem to avoid is talking too much. While keeping a conversation going is never a bad thing, it shouldn’t be a one-sided conversation.

Being an active listener should always be a top priority, no matter who you’re talking to. Remember, listening and hearing are two very different things. Show genuine interest in what someone is saying, ask questions, and make sure they know you’re paying attention without taking over the conversation.

Finally, don’t try too hard. Not only can your efforts come off as disingenuous, but they can make those around you feel uncomfortable and “stiff”. Even if you’re being yourself, your nerves can get the best of you if you’re trying to be perfect, and you might say or do something you wouldn't, under normal circumstances.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

The holidays are stressful enough. By keeping these ideas in mind, you can take away the stress of mastering first impressions. Instead, you can feel confident in your approach, meet some great people, and reach goals to help you start the new year off on the right foot.

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