You Can Only Make A First Impression Once
Going back from Kiev I was pondering on the first impressions you make and whether or not you can change the image of you that was created in the girl’s mind.
That of course was prompted by a quick scan of the invaluable Thinking, Fast and Slow that I’ve already mentioned when discussing dating tips. There is a lot to this book even though it never discuss dating or picking up girls.
Making First Impression – Daygame Edition
Let’s dissect the first impression you make during your daygame approach. At first she’s obviously going to see how you’re dressed, what is your body type and facial features (namely are you standing straight and smiling). That happens before you even open your mouth to destroy that great first impression of you.
When you start to talk you’re not going to jump right into all those boring things about yourself. You’ll be flirting trying to find out whether the two of you are compatible. That’s going to be her initial idea of your personality, character and wit. At this point, she will also like you or not.
If the things are going well you’ll jump into rapport and you’ll learn some facts about each other. As we’ll learn in a moment the order in which she learns about those things do matter.
Every individual piece of information will be added to your physical image and personality. After you get the number and say “bye” everything you’ve said is going to be processed and shaped into a memory.
And that’s it. You won’t be able to dramatically change what is not only the first impression but your whole persona in her head. You’ll have better luck trying different things on a new girl than trying to change other people’s idea of you.
Won’t she learn more about you on the first date? What the hell! She already knows you! She’s built a whole idea of you in her head. If she finds out about something that doesn’t fit that idea you’ll be regarded as fake and she won’t like you. Don’t be worried though, as we humans are excellent at lying to ourselves and rationalizing many things. If she can – and in most cases she will – she’ll explain it to herself. If she can’t – bad luck.
The Halo Effect
Let’s bring Science™ back into business. One of the chapters in Thinking, Fast and Slow is named “A Machine For Jumping To Conclusions” and it’s about the part of our brain that takes care of all the decisions when we’re not actively thinking, which is basically all the time. You don’t analyze every trivial thing that happens in your life and a chat with a stranger is certainly a minor one.
The premise is that we tend to view the world as coherent and logical even if in reality it’s far away from that. That’s why when we like someone we ascribe to him other positive traits. Someone you know is hard working? Then automatically you’ll think of him as generous and reliable. That thinking manifests itself as halo effect.
Whatever you don’t tell her during your initial interaction is going to be filled by extrapolating whatever is known. So you better make sure she knows all the important things about you and specifically your attractive traits. That way she’s going to fill the void with equally attractive attributes.
The alternative is to not tell her anything at all and build that first impression on a date. However, as we all know you won’t have a chance to do that because when she knows nothing about you she won’t meet with you. She’ll flake.
You Can Only Enhance Your First Impression
Imagine a guy, named Andrew who is a stockbroker who works a lot and for a year was living in Japan. He owns a motorcycle and in his free time, he likes to play an electric guitar. Imagine him, how he looks like, who he is. Got it?
Now think about a different guy, Bob. Bob likes riding motorbikes and enjoys plaing guitar. For twelve months he has been living in Japan and he happens to work as a broker. He enjoys his occupation and works hard.
Those descriptions that I’ve just made up are the same but they differ in order of the things you’ve learned about those guys. Put Andrew next to Bob in your mind. Are they exactly the same? Probably not. That’s why the first big thing she learns about you is so crucial. It becomes the defining characteristic. All the things that follow will just enhance that image.
The original research cited in TFaS was based on the descriptions below. Participants in this study (Solomon Asch) were asked to form opinions on personalities of Alan and Ben:
Alan: intelligent — industrious — impulsive — critical — stubborn — envious
Ben: envious — stubborn — critical — impulsive — industrious — intelligent
Most people view Allan far more favorably than Ben.
There are many variations of this study, some with very interesting conclusions but they all agree that we form our opinions not only fast but we also try to make them as coherent as possible. That’s why Andrew appear to us as a broker with mid-life crisis (because of the motorcycle and guitar) while Bob is a cool guy who just happens to work at brokerage firm (and he probably got tattoos). And that’s why first impression is so damn important.
With that mental exercise in mind, ask yourself what is the impression the girl gets when she sees you and learns the defining thing? How all those other things enhance that image? In what order you’re displaying your high value and who do you want to appear as? Is she going to meet with you? Is she thinking about having sex with you?
Well, is she?