1) We tend to judge others in terms of our own self-image 

When you’re measuring somebody else, who are you using as a measuring rod? Yourself, most of the time. Our image of ourselves becomes the personal yardstick. It colors and tempers everything we do. We tend to judge other people on the basis of our strengths. We often tend to praise them on the basis of our weaknesses too. When we judge other people we usually don’t judge correctly because we use our own self-image.

2) An impression based on a single contact is unfair.
A fast conclusion based on just one contact is unfair. Would you judge a baseball player by one time at bat? No. Would you judge a cook on one meal? You might. This last week, I got a first impression card from a visitor. “Service was full of high energy but we doubt that you ever teachrepentance.” Why would anybody ever make that judgment on the basis of a single visit? That’s prejudice. It’s human behavior that we do not understand how much first impressions influence us.  Alex Owens said, “Some people get their exercise by jumping to conclusions.” The failure to take time in developing evaluation is going to be costly in the long run.

3) Focusing on one trait often blinds us to the complete person.
It’s so easy for us to concentrate on just one characteristic. We like it or we don’t like it. Then when you see people in terms of only one characteristic, that’s not the person. It’s a charactiture. Have you ever seen a cartoon of the president how they’ll always emphasize the ears, the nose, the lips. That’s a charactiture when you exaggerate one particular aspect of a person’s life. We need to learn to evaluate by looking at the total person not just one particular area.

4) In many situations both people have put their best foot forward.
It’s funny about people when they’re dating and then get married later. They said, “He/she’s not the same person.” Of course not. What did you expect? When you go out on a date, if you’re a lady, do you go out with curlers in your hair? Absolutely not. You’re on your best behavior. You look your best. Often first impressions are wrong because you’re not seeing the worst side, you’re seeing the absolute best side of a person. They come in for an interview or something like that and they can shine you on. I’ve had people come in for counseling and the way they’d make their life partner, you’d think they were living with Dracula. When I’d meet their husband/wife, it’s this little mousy person who wouldn’t harm a flea. You have to be aware. Never make snap judgments because people often people their best foot forward.

5) Unfair conditions cause unfair impressions.
Sometimes guys come in and they’re just tired from a flight or they’ve had an upset stomach. I’ve learned that people will say things to me on the patio that if I were sensitive I’d think, “They must not like me.” But that wasn’t it at all. They were simply unloading because they had a fight onthe way to church. Or they were upset by something else. There are many factors you need to take into account. Somebody comes in and they’ve had a hard day and they’re irritable – that doesn’t mean that they are irritable all the time. It means they were irritable right then.

6) We are highly influenced by people’s external appearance.
But we can be fooled by the outside appearance and then go no further to inquire what the person’s really like.

7) You may be prejudiced by reports from others so don’t make a judgement on first impressions.
We’re often advised or warned about a person before he/she makes an appearance. At the office, a friend or spouse has told you something about this person. Then after you’ve met them, you think, “This person isn’t at all what I thought they would be.” We set ourselves up sometimes.

8) Impressions are colored by a person’s relationships.
The fact that this person may be your new boss may make a difference on how well you like him or not. Or the position that they hold or the power that they exert. Your relationship to them makes a big difference.

9) Our expectations are often set up by our needs and our wants.
Many times you’ll have a ministry and you’ll say, “What kind of person do we need for this position? We need a bright young person who’s well dressed, with a college degree.” Then when somebody shows up, you turn them in to that whether they’re that or not. Because you want them to be that.

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