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Our son is unhappy about his sullen roommate. Our first impressions when we moved him into his dorm and met his roommate, were not cheerful. My husband and I tried to dissuade Jake from judging him to quickly. We probably overdid it when Jake complained about his disposition. He says they don’t talk and stay out of each other’s way.
How do we handle this problem politely?
- According to Alexander Todorov, in his new book FACE VALUE: THE IRRESISTIBLE INFLUENCE OF FIRST IMPRESSIONS, it only takes 30 milliseconds (or one-tenth of a second), for our brain to form snap character judgements from a first impression. In particular the person's level of attractiveness, politeness, trustworthiness, and powerfulness. "These impressions," Todorov writes, "are closer to perception than to thinking. We don't need to think, we see." He says that impressions register on our senses. Senses are based on past experiences.
- University life is largely about having new experiences and learning not to base a person's character on a first impression.
- In some cultures, making eye contact is a breach of etiquette, but a simple smile is universally accepted.