Have you ever given someone a really bad first impression of you? I have, and I wished that I could do it over. But, as everyone knows, you don’t get a second chance at a first impression. First impressions are the kickstarters of a relationship, for better or for worse.
Some relationships, like acquaintances, never move past the first impression. However, the knowledge that comes with true friendship allows you to get a chance to change someone’s perception of you. Friendships are really just long term do overs. People will come to understand each other better over time. A beautiful and absolutely necessary part of friendship is that the relationship is constantly changing.
Most friendships fall apart because the participants are holding onto a false perception of each other — a previous impression. The other person had changed, but we continue to judge them based on past experiences.
Keeping an open mind and acknowledging that the person is bound to change will keep you (and them) happier. When I find out that I am wrong about something, I get pretty upset. So why would I set myself up for the trouble of learning that I didn’t know someone inside out? Accepting that everyone grows is an important step of being emotionally healthy — for you and the people that you care for.
Trying to put a person in a box of past definitions will only stunt their growth.
Having an evolving view of a person can make it easier to accept an apology from them. It is amazingly hard to forgive if you decline to even attempt to forget. Forgetting how a person was bad to you before and moving on to a better tomorrow is a no-brainer when building a successful relationship.
If you hold tightly to a previous impression of a person, then they lose the ability to impress you. If they do something new and awesome, then you will be stuck feeling sour that you were wrong about them instead of being happy for their accomplishments.These skills are especially important in long term relationships, like with family members. These are the people that you will see the most overall change in. Many friendships can become faulty because you thought you knew someone, and now they have angered you by changing and proving you wrong.
The good news is that despite the saying about first impressions, a well developed relationship lets us continue to discover each other.
People change and grow, and relationships should follow suit. They key to successfully getting to know someone is accepting that you will never completely finish.
Chloe Kincaid is a student at Soldotna High School.