Hari's Corner

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Circumstances show people up

Filed under: People and society by Hari
Posted on Sun, Aug 12, 2007 at 07:19 IST (last updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2008 @ 21:13 IST)

If there's one maxim I hate more than anything, it's "first impressions are the best impressions." Time and again, my experiences have shown me that it's a patently false statement. In fact over a period of time, I've realized that it's fatal to judge a person based on casual acquaintance.

Because it's so easy for most people to mask their true behaviour over a period of time, but there will inevitably be the occasion which rips the mask off to shreds and exposes the true nature of that person to the rest of the world. The intent of "behaviour-masking" might not always be deliberately dishonest. For instance a naturally shy, reserved individual might actually be working hard to be more friendly and outgoing by smiling and talking a lot and yet that behaviour can be extremely misleading because it doesn't reveal the inner nature of that person. A dishonest man can easily put on a mask of sincerity and trustworthiness to fool people around him. A lazy individual can mask his laziness by giving an impression of being busy and hardworking. An emotional person can supress those emotions for the sake of appearing to be balanced and cool-headed. Sometimes it's a deliberate attempt to fool others, but I think that most people who put up an exterior pose to the outside world do so because they believe that their inner nature is something to be hidden and protected from society at large either because it's something to be ashamed of or because it is unsuitable or inconvenient for interaction with society. And unfortunately the demands of society often encourage this duality. Peer pressure, a desire to be acceptable and accepted by people, social norms, work-related issues, family life: all these factors contribute to it.

I think those who believe that they're great judges of "character" and can read another human being's character within a short period of time are seriously kidding themselves. Nothing is more dangerous than judging people without knowing them over a period of time. Instinct can be as falsely misleading as it can be useful on occasions. But there is one thing I've noticed time and again. Inevitably something or the other happens which reveals the true nature of a person, no matter how hard they try to hide it. It can take a few days, a few months or even years, but it happens and happens in a way which leaves no room for doubt. The greater the deceit, the harder the fall from grace. And after that, it is hard to regain trust. It is much, much more difficult to re-build a destroyed reputation than it is to create a reputation from scratch. People who are true to themselves and don't hide from their true self from others will inevitably be happier and more relaxed than people who create a fake personality, either deliberately or otherwise. I also think that being true to oneself is a great way to develop a better understanding of other people and avoid being cynical and judgmental at the same time.

Yes. Circumstances show people up for what they are and not what they pose to be and often in the harshest and cruellest manner possible. Self-improvement should be a natural and genuine inner process, not a show. Hiding oneself from the world at large might seem to pay off in the short run, but inevitably reality will catch up. It always does.

14 comment(s)

  1. The word of advice I've heard is You never get a second chance to make a first impression, which is itself a spur, for those who follow the advice, to falsehood.If you believe people will get to know you, you will just be yourself. If you are keeping in mind that first impressions are important, you will put on a degree of falsehood, whether it's over-emphasizing an existing part of your personality or putting on a non-existent part.

    Comment by aysiu (visitor) on Sun, Aug 12, 2007 @ 10:46 IST #
  2. You're right aysiu. Keeping up appearances can be very stressful too. That's a part I didn't mention in my article, but wanted to.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sun, Aug 12, 2007 @ 11:02 IST #
  3. "Always tell the truth: Then you can't be caught out" :wink:I think you missed out, or at least glossed over, the fact that often it's feelings of vulnerability or insecurity that makes people put on a facade: It's not always about trying to hide something sinister..

    Comment by Dominic (visitor) on Sun, Aug 12, 2007 @ 22:02 IST #
  4. yes.. wat u say is true..but..if this is the fact.. all the recruiters who select a person thru attitude and behaviour, go wrong?

    Comment by Logesh TamilSelvan (visitor) on Sun, Aug 12, 2007 @ 23:54 IST #
  5. Dominic, I did mention it here. Maybe I didn't emphasize it thoughThe intent of "behaviour-masking" might not always be deliberately dishonest.Logesh, everybody takes a chance. Interviews are only an indicator - nobody can be judged within an hour or two purely in an interview. If anything thinks so, they are fools.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Mon, Aug 13, 2007 @ 06:07 IST #
  6. Hari, there're situations where you'll never get second chance. For example, in an interview process, you can go to next stage if and only if you clear the previous one, so giving our best at each stage is critical...

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Tue, Aug 14, 2007 @ 22:56 IST #
  7. Very true --- but then we do get these vibes from certain people at times, and that is exactly what they are!

    Comment by Sudipta Chatterjee (visitor) on Wed, Aug 15, 2007 @ 02:20 IST #
  8. Hari, you're not feeling well or something? Not responding to comment since 4-5days..Busy or something?

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Fri, Aug 17, 2007 @ 14:11 IST #
  9. Shri, I'm just back from a trip to Singapore. Will respond to comments shortly. :)

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sat, Aug 18, 2007 @ 13:46 IST #
  10. Oh. ok. Assume you had a great trip...Waiting for next post..

    Comment by Shrinidhi Hande (visitor) on Sat, Aug 18, 2007 @ 19:59 IST #
  11. Whatever one might say, looks always have a certain degree of importance.

    Comment by Mohamed (visitor) on Sat, Aug 18, 2007 @ 22:49 IST #
  12. To reply to all comments, my point is exactly that! Looks are given importance and undue importance in my opinion. My case is really that if people judge others by looks, then they should be prepared to be proved wrong.Looks are important only because we give them importance. Nothing more or less."First impressions" are our own creation. If people started paying less importance to first impressions maybe we would all be more honest about ourselves rather than living in a world of false images.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Sun, Aug 19, 2007 @ 07:32 IST #
  13. I often rely on my first impression about people, and it rarely lets me down. Maybe, it is a kind of serendipity?

    Comment by Jessica Persinger (visitor) on Tue, Oct 16, 2007 @ 16:11 IST #
  14. It might be, Jessica. All I ask is that people don't rely on first impressions as a judge of character.

    Nobody's character is shallow enough to be deduced in a few minutes.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Oct 17, 2007 @ 08:09 IST #

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