They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I think that’s true, but I’m starting to wonder why…
A couple of weeks ago, I saw an online ad someone had placed looking for guests on his podcast. The ad didn’t really give any clues about what the subject matter would be — only that the host was looking to have 50 conversations with total strangers. I found this intriguing.
I replied to the ad, saying that I’d be happy to come on his show to discuss some of my personal philosophies. He replied, saying that he was more interested in the person behind the philosophies.
“What a jerk,” I thought to myself.
I immediately walked myself back. Why did I assume that he was being dismissive or ugly toward me? Did I actually have good reason to get wound up over his response?
I’d like to say that I did a quick attitude check, and moved on. That’s not exactly how it played out, though.
“Fine, if he wants to brush me off, I’ll show him!” I thought to myself. “I’ll be an even bigger jerk but I’ll do it in a way that makes me look like the nice guy!”
“I’d be happy to talk about anything you like,” I typed. “The philosophy isn’t very interesting without the person behind it anyway.”
We arranged a date and time for the conversation. As the date drew closer, I decided to check out one of his episodes to see what kind of moron I’d be dealing with. It turns out that the moron in question was me. This guy seemed genuinely nice!
In this case, the first impression was totally unfair. I own that. The person I had misjudged because of my garbage attitude didn’t deserve to be in a position where a second chance was even necessary!
The ironic thing is that the first impression I made on him was really good. That wasn’t really deserved either. I had been so ugly in the privacy of my own head.
The conversation actually went really well. So well that I made a wonderful new friend. It almost didn’t play out that way, though.
Listen to the podcast version of this (and other) stories at www.acfischerpod.com