When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you?

We’re always meeting new people in our lives. It doesn’t matter what kind of lifestyle you have, you’re bound to meet new people. It’s a part of the human experience. We can’t get much done in this world as individuals. We depend on other people to develop the world around us. So if you’re an introvert that hates meeting new people, you’ll have to accept that it’s going to happen. And for the extroverts that look forward to meeting new people, you’re already a few steps ahead of the game. Meeting new people can be kind of tense. There’s a lot of different verbal and non-verbal communications going on. And it’s hard to keep up with it all.

It’s especially intense when it’s someone we want to have a good first impression on. This happens when I meet important business connections for the first time. Or maybe you’re meeting your significant other’s parents and want to come across as likeable. But most people have a general idea of how they want everybody to see them. We view ourselves in a certain light based on who we feel we are deep within our hearts. And often we want most people to see us in a way we feel most aligns with our self image. But it’s hard to come across a certain way when meeting new people if you don’t know what exactly that image is. You have to be clear on who you believe you are and what you want to portray to new people. So when you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you?

Here’s a short story on what I want people to think about me when I meet someone for the very first time.

I was overthinking the whole situation. It was simple in nature and I’ve done it many times before. But I wanted this dinner to go over as buttery smooth as possible. It was crucial to my future success with these people. And I knew I would be seeing them many more times in my life. So I read as many books as I could on social etiquette. They had all these old unspoken rules and guidelines of what to do when. I couldn’t remember half of it and it all felt a little too cheesy. I read articles and blogs online on how to best approach first time meetings. There were some good tips like researching the business guest beforehand so you’d have things to speak on. The only problem was the almost universal assumption these writers made that it was always a business guest.

I wasn’t meeting anyone about business so it all fell on deaf ears. I couldn’t find any solid advice from any book or blog. I was destined to fail. Then I got an amazing idea. I had a secret trump card that I never used up until this point. My bestfriend. I grabbed my phone and gave Dwayne a call. When he picked up I tried playing it cool talking about classes, America’s Got Talent, and business ideas. But he heard the tremble in my voice and knew something was up. I came clean and told him that I was going to meet her parents. He immediately started laughing and telling me to calm down. I didn’t know what was so funny to him. I explained to him that I had never met a girl’s parents and I didn’t know what to say or do. He just told me I needed to stay calm and not overthink it.

I left the call even more anxious than I was before we talked. I couldn’t stay calm because I was panicking. I didn’t know why he was laughing and what was funny. I had this crazy blue mohawk that everyone thought was wild and way over the top. I was bound to give off a horrible first impression to her parents. And it wasn’t just one parent. Her mom and her dad were going to be there. I started thinking of all the different reasons I could flake on her. But I knew it wouldn’t change anything except the day and time. I was bound to meet them eventually so I had to face my fears. I thought to myself on how Dwayne could be so calm about something like this. Then I remembered he had met many parents before and mom’s seemed to love him automatically. I had to get him to coach me through it.

Then before I fell asleep two nights before the meeting, I came up with an even better idea. Instead of Dwayne pre-coaching me through the whole meeting, what if he was just there? I immediately called DeAsia and told her to tell her parents Dwayne and I both would be meeting with them. They quickly agreed and then I was all set to go. All I had to do was let Dwayne know he was my plus one to the dinner. It took a few hours of back and forth arguing but I eventually explained to him how much I needed his presence there. He reluctantly agreed and we were set to go. The day came around and we drove to her parents house. We sat in the car and went over the game plan a couple more times. Dwayne would be his chill normal self winning over the mom. I would be the high-level intelligent Tim, winning over the Dad.

We walked up to the door and rang the bell. We waited patiently while fiddling with our hands and laughing uncontrollably. The door quickly opened and DeAsia greeted us with a big smile and hugged me. We put our shoes down and walked over to the kitchen. We shook hands with her dad and mom and sat down at the dinner table. I put my book on the table and asked what they were eating. They said fish and rice and I complimented the mom’s cooking. We declined to eat because we were already full. The parents drank their glasses of wine while asking us questions about how we met, how we knew DeAsia, and our goals in life. I was being very professional and trying to come across as important. I reached over to grab the book I was reading to show it off to the parents. But my arm clipped the glass and knocked the wine down all over the table and floor. I ruined their dinner!

I was so embarrassed in that moment. I was trying to be all professional and cool. Instead I ruined their dinner and created a huge mess. It was immediately awkward and I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and hide somewhere. I learned that night that I shouldn’t try to be any thing or person that I’m not. When I meet new people I want to be the best version of myself. The only thing I hope for people to think of me after meeting someone is, “That guy is genuine.” I look to be myself when meeting new people. When I’m myself I can be accepted or rejected for who I truly am. And it makes my life a whole lot easier when I don’t have to put on a front. So forget impressing people. I want my impression to be genuine and nothing else.

Sorry I knocked over your precious wine Jessinia and Dwayne. And thanks for being a great sport. I’ll have to buy you both a new one day! 🙂

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