There. I said it. First impressions are overrated. Now that’s twice. However, there’s a catch.
What we choose to focus on when first meeting someone makes all the difference. In other words, because people often pay attention to the flash during first encounters, what they glean is kind of useless.
This is why the whole focus on “chemistry” above all else approach to dating is big trouble. Because wanting hot attraction with someone who is a stranger nearly always leads to overlooking the more subtle aspects of the other person.
Which leads you to overrate your connection, and overrate the potential for a relationship to really work over the long run.
But that’s what happens when your focus is on the more superficial aspects of life and relationships. You hear something that sounds like a connection, and then in your mind turn it into a “deep connection,” an oh my god this person is my soul mate kind of connection.
It’s pretty silly if you think about it, and I don’t know anyone who hasn’t done a bit of this in their lives. However, for some people, this mode of operation is the only one they ever do..
- Mutahi Ngunyi: I want to mentor Miguna Miguna and Martha Karua
- Nyoro: Kenya would have been Somalia if Uhuru was President in 2002
- Millicent Omanga has flown out her dog to Germany for treatment
- Nyota Ndogo reveals she is struggling to have children with Mzungu hubby
When you choose to focus on the more subtle, but I’d argue deeper aspects of a person in the beginning, it’s much more likely that a first impression will be more useful. Here are some things I look for, just to give some examples:
- Good listening skills.
- Basic Kindness.
- A sense of compassion. Like if she’s describing a difficult situation at work, what do the comments about particular co-workers sound like? How much blame and criticism is directed at any particular person?
- Values compatibility. For example, as I hinted at above, it’s really important to me to be with someone who cares about social issues, and feels compelled to do something that might make the world a better place. In other words, social engagement.
- Sense of humor. This one might seem shallow, but actually I think it’s pretty key. People who can’t laugh at life, at least a little bit, are pretty miserable partners. (Unless you also have no sense of humor, in which case, misery loves company, right?)
So, what do you think? What do you look for on a first date?