When you’re sitting on a train or on a ‘plane, or eating on your own in a restaurant, you can’t help but look at the people around you. I think humans are innately social beings rather than solitary. You can only glance at them for a second otherwise people start to shift in their seats, because they feel that you are starting to invade their personal space. How often have you imagined what people are like just from that brief observation? If I am bored on a long journey I will often do this. We may use certain clues to help us in this quest, what they are wearing for example, and I have blogged on this before.
We might make assumptions based on what they are eating, or maybe reading; an English classic novel, a certain high-brow newspaper or magazine or a tabloid. We might modify our thoughts based on what they are carrying with them, a bag, a rucksac, a briefcase. Are they carrying or wearing their coat or hat or jacket? Are they on their own or with a companion? How often has a person then spoken to you and you realise that you had either totally misjudged them or actually guessed correctly.
We set a lot of store on first impressions, love at first sight, our first instincts, but it is a skill you need to hone and even then you might not always get it right!
The Dalai Lama is reputed to have said that “Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.” Truly wise words!