Tuesday, 3 June 2008

First impressions

I was just wondering what to blog about today when I read Bold.Blue.Adventure and got some inspiration! At the bottom of the a post about first impressions she said "so how about you? Any good stories about first impressions either online or in person?".

Normally my first instinct would be to put something in the comments of that post, but I as I thought that this was too good an opportunity I am going to write about it myself!! (How else am I going to get some inspiration!?)

We all know just how important first impressions can be, in fact I try very hard not to dislike someone just because of a first impression as I could be wrong! Although sometimes I just know that I am never going to like someone! (For instance, there is a male cleaner where I work and he just....ewgh...gets all my hackles up and I know that this is not going to change!).

Sometimes however, you get to find out what other people's first impression of you was! Fortunately, despite the first impression, Mandy is now one of my closest friends even though I don't see much of her these days as I have moved about two hundred miles away! Anyway, I don't know how the conversation came about but she said that her first impression of me was of someone who blew hot and cold - friendly one day and stand-offish the next.

Of course, you have to know me to understand why as Mandy found out - when she found out the reason she said it was like a light bulb went on in her head! The reason that I appear friendly one day and snooty the next is because I am deaf - if Mandy was speaking to me and I could see her then I would be all friendly and chatty like I usually am, but if Mandy was talking to me while my attention was on something else then I would appear to ignore her because I hadn't realised that she was talking to me! This often happened if there was a large group conversation going on and I was trying to make sure that I knew what was going on!

If you didn't know that I was deaf then I can quite understand how that impression could be made, and it horrifies me to think that I appear rude sometimes!! These days when I am giving presentations to large groups I tend to state up front that I am deaf and make a bit of a joke about ignoring people! Having said that, I am not about to introduce myself as "Hi, my name is Sam and I am deaf" because being deaf is not something that everybody needs to know, particularly if I am never likely to meet them again!

But sometimes, I have to be more upfront than usual - just this afternoon there was someone in the ladies loo brushing her hair (probably for an interview or something) and as I was washing my hands, she said something. So, I did what I normally do and said pardon and made sure that I was looking at her, but as she was brushing her hair it was a bit awkward, so I said straight out that I was deaf and then we had a short conversation about the horrible rain that we've been having! Now, I am never likely to meet this woman again, but it was one of those situations where I had to say something or look like the bitch from hell!!

As you can see, this is waaaay too long a comment to inflict on the Bold.Blue.Adventure blog! But do go and have a look at where it all started and I do plan to leave a comment on that blog telling her to come and have a look-see!


Grannymar said...

First impression, I think you are great! If people don't like you saying you are deaf, THEY are the ones with a problem not you!

Kim L said...

sam-what an interesting point, and it illustrates perfectly what I was talking about before. Communication is all about perception. Without that essential piece of information, your friend had a mistaken perception of you. And I thought it was interesting that you mentioned in your post that you don't normally like to immediately share with people the fact that you are deaf, but at the same time, you were willing to share that great story on your blog. I've been mulling over why it is I feel free to share more personal information that I don't when I first meet someone. I might tell people I know better about my obession with reading and blogging, but usually not right off the bat. But when you visit my blog, that's the first thing you learn about me. Great post!

DC said...

What a great post! People rely so much on non-verbal communication, and much of that can be misleading. Thanks for sharing this valuable lesson!

Sassy said...

I think it's great your so proactive about it. One of my husband's friends is deaf and she hates telling people so she it's not unusual to find her in one sided conversations with people she hasn't met before. It's so frustrating as she ends up coming across really rude when she's a really sweet girl.

Really, I think most people would appreciate you telling them instead of feeling ignored or rejected when that's not your intention at all.

Briggie said...

what a great post! and yes, you are right, too long a comment for their site. i haven't checked them out yet, did you leave a little comment to let them know their post inspired you to write your own? i always try to leave a comment on a blog whenever i visit just to give the writer some feedback, which is why I am here - you stopped by my blog and left me a comment about not having an RSS feeder link. i left you a comment on my feedback page offering you a booklet as my way of saying thanks. i look forward to reading more of your site, take care and God bless you.

hairyfarmerfamily said...

Gosh, it must be particularly frustrating for you to keep track of a big group conversation - having to pay attention to everyone at once! I have tinnitus which has knocked out some of my hearing frequencies, and I tend to stand in noisy environments clutching my drink with a hopeful expression, nodding and smiling... hoping like hell that it's an appropriate reaction, because I can make out virtually nothing of what anyone says to me unless they lean close and bellow.
I'm afraid I went to one too many rock concerts as a teenager.

Samantha said...

You are so correct in that first impressions can quickly cause people to jump to incorrect conclusions. I can understand why you don't feel like telling every person on the street you're deaf, but also see the dilemma that can put you in. You're a strong person to deal with that.

Dreams Come True said...

You've highlighted a really important point here, that so much of our first impressions of people are based on our own perceptions of them - without knowing anything about them at all. I can understand you not telling everyone you meet, first thing... but can definitely see how it would affect people's perceptions of you. I give you a lot of credit for having the strength to deal with that knowledge.

*here from nclm*

alison said...

Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Steal the Random Thought Bubble Tuesday away, I certainly don't care. You don't have to change the name on my account. :)