How To Find The One Thing That Really Works For You

So let’s start with the obvious. Let’s have a look at the results of the largest, most accurate survey of its kind in the history of psychology.

Most people would agree that the right things will work for them. And though the best advice we’ll get on this topic is sometimes a little more abstract and less concrete than getting a great first impression, we should at least take solace in the fact that at least, sometimes, great things happen.

With the caveat that we often don’t get the results we’re really looking for, let’s examine a couple of surveys that were carried out (the most recent in 2011 to be specific) in the course of an investigation into how to improve a first impression.

The first is a survey I’ve seen many times before (perhaps from The New York Times, or in a blog post):

There are tons of interesting facts on this front, such as that the survey is conducted by Nielsen for Discover magazine, while Discover is in fact the parent company of both  The New York Times , and  CNNMoney.

But the most interesting fact about this particular survey is that it suggests that people who get a first impression from you might be doing a pretty good job of it themselves. A whopping 79% of the respondents rate the following as one of the best things about you:

Being friendly/caring/caring

Being outgoing/funny/dorky/fun

Being confident/confident/introspectable/dumb

Having a smile/lack of a personality

Being an expert at something

The survey also suggested that one of the strongest ways to achieve good first impressions might actually be just to avoid those things you don’t like/trust. The researchers themselves note that “most respondents say that the things that make an impression on the person who encounters them are, in effect, the opposite of what they don’t like and distrust.”

So if we think we have a very strong first impression and we’re worried we might have to convince someone to like us, there’s no time like the present to get over any concerns. Of course, if we’re in a tight spot we also have a good excuse. In addition to not liking a particular character or personality we don’t trust, we had a few other things in mind:

Being loud/arrogant

Having a lot of money

Being overweight

If we’d like to avoid all of these for the sake of a solid first impression, there are certain things that many people suggest we avoid as well. These include:

Being drunk/drunk/sociopathic

Being fat/looking fat


So if you’re going to have a strong first impression, and you want people to feel okay with trusting and liking you, here are a couple of suggestions on what to avoid (from a list of suggestions by two different authors [1, 2]:

Being arrogant . Being arrogant means that you think that you know more than other people. But when it comes to having a confident first impression, there’s little doubt what’s going to work better: being genuine . If we have an open, trusting attitude toward people, it’s much less likely that we’ll be seen as cocky or arrogant. And being honest about our shortcomings is generally a much better strategy than pretending people have all the answers. Don’t be a jerk . If you ever feel it’s necessary to defend yourself to someone, remember that’s just going to make you look even more like a jerk. Being a jerk is a way of looking down on another person without being held to account for it.