Various Ways We Misinterpret First Impressions

The complimenter

It’s hard not to like the person who pays you a lot of compliments. No matter how much you’ve tamed your ego, it is bound to light up when somebody tells you how gorgeous you are, how brilliant you are, and what a great sense of humor you have. How could you not take a good first impression from them?

Flattery is a distraction

Think of the times you’ve been overly nice to somebody—you were probably trying to cover up something. Something like the fact that you had a crush on their fiancé, or were vying for the job they had, or really didn’t like them and wanted to stop yourself from getting into an argument.

The questioner

It’s not uncommon for someone to leave a party and remember their favorite person as the person who asked them the most questions about themselves. We are often our own favorite topic.

Questions are also a distraction

Often, when someone asks a lot of questions about others, it’s a way for them to gain control. Sociopaths usually ask people so many questions about themselves that they don’t even notice they learned nothing about the sociopath. There are, of course, genuine and kind people who are just curious about others. But if someone only asks about you and deflects when you try to ask about them, they could be hiding something.

The non-conformist

It can seem a little rude if one person doesn’t make a sound when the rest of the group bursts out laughing at a story or joke somebody told. Are they too good to laugh? Is this party below them and are these people too simple for them?

That person might just be honest

If you think about it, that individual didn’t say or do anything insulting; they just didn’t put on airs or fake a compliment (in the form of laughter). Some of the most transparent people in the world can’t laugh if they don’t find something funny simply because they aren’t well-versed in the art of faking an emotion. That may not be such a bad thing.

The great debater 

Sure, parties are nice when everybody gets along. Sometimes, if one person disagrees with something somebody else says and starts a debate, it can feel like they’re ruining the fun. People who don’t just go along with everything being said at a dinner party might seem like they’re trying to rock the boat.

Disagreeing is caring

So long as this person isn’t rude in the way they bring up their opinion, they are probably just a passionate person. They see the value in looking at two sides of every coin and seeing everyone’s perspective. Maybe they’re too “combative” at dinner parties, but in real life, they’ll actually give a damn and be invested when you talk to them about a real issue, rather than just try to brush over the subject because it’s “not fun.”

The storyteller

Some people are full of anecdotes—anecdotes about their travels, their ancestors, their coworkers and articles they’ve read. One might describe these people as “fascinating” and “knowledgeable.” They’re certainly entertaining at parties

Stories aren’t intimate

The person who is always telling a story to the group is usually never involved in an intimate, one-on-one conversation. Telling stories is their way of avoiding more personal conversations. There could be a dozen reasons why they want to avoid these, but none of those reasons

The money thrower

The guy who buys a round for everybody or secretly picks up the dinner check seems so generous, so carrying, so thoughtful yadda-yadda. How could you dislike that guy?

Sometimes it’s a power move

Keep in mind that there were probably other men at that table who are a bit embarrassed that another man just bought their wife or girlfriend dinner. And remember that picking up the tab is a way of saying, “I’m rich—just so you know.” It depends on the circumstances, of course, but if someone does this, look out for signs that they use their money as a bargaining tool in relationships.