First impression.

First impression. People tend to think they get off on the wrong foot with strangers. Why is this happening and how do our new friends or dating partners actually perceive us?

It went better than you think

When we meet someone for the first time, we try to impress them and we are always concerned whether this person likes us. A group of scientists from Cornell University conducted a study on meta-perception – the process of trying to figure out how others see us.

The researchers wanted to know whether our own assessment of our behavior during the first conversation coincides with the one of the other person, Science Daily reports.

Meta-perception is complicated and does not provide an accurate picture of what is going on inside the head of the new friend. Still, people are wondering how others see them: attentive or careless, smart or ridiculous, stylish or tasteless.

Though it is an essential part of life in a community, people always overthink and tend to end up with the worst-case scenario in their heads. Actually, the way others perceive us is definitely not as poor as we think.

Our low expectations are the reason why we may face trouble making new contacts, one of the authors of the study, Margaret Clark, believes. A series of experiments had proven that people see us mainly in a positive light.

First date.

Wondering about that first date? It’s likely you’ve made a much better impression than you think.

Psychology of the ‘Liking Gap’

A difference between the partner’s thoughts and our own assessment of how did we go is called the ‘Liking Gap,’ and this peculiarity may hinder our chances of making friends or finding lovers.

In one of the experiments, the authors of the research made two strangers talk to each other for a couple of minutes. After that, each participant shared his or her impressions and tried to predict how much the other person liked him or her. The ‘Liking Gap’ appeared to be quite wide: A lot of people assumed their partners didn’t quite like them, but they were wrong. The participants were too busy trying to be nice and they didn’t notice signs of interest and enjoyment from their interlocutor.

Another experiment showed that we underestimate ourselves. The participants were asked to describe their feelings about a conversation they’d just had. People believed that negative moments were what their partners noticed, and that’s why the first impression was not as great. At the same time, they themselves had mostly positive thoughts about the interaction and liked person they chatted with.

The point is, we should give up trying to find out what a new friend thinks of the first meeting. People tend to underestimate themselves and it can hinder their relationships. Just keep in mind that your partner, most likely, liked you more than you expected. And most importantly, simply try to enjoy the date!

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