[color=red]Some people trust their first impressions about a person’s character because they believe these judgments are generally correct. Other people do not judge a person’s character quickly because they believe first impressions are often wrong. Compare these two attitudes. Which attitude do you agree with? Support your choice with specific examples.
[i][color=green]Our impressions reflect our perceptions on others. When we meet a person for the first time, we often tend not only to observe his behavior but also to assess his personality and character. While sometimes these impressions turn out to be accurate predictions, quite often, we end up being on the wrong side.
It is true that analyzing a person’s character beforehand or in the first glance help us in deciding how to deal with him. External appearance reflects one’s thoughts and feelings, and his body language showcases his self confidence. For instance, those people who are smiling and jubilant, more often, create an impression that they are friendly. Hence we get a gutsy feeling that we can talk to them informally rather than professionally or formally. So, first impression about a person undoubtedly guide us how to behave with him and how to talk to him, and gives us a better understanding of the person which helps us to plan our due course of action.
On the other hand, more often than usual, first impressions are deceptive. In an effort to attract others, people may intentionally try to suppress their natural tendencies and deliberately exhibit some other characteristics. Is it wise to confirm that a person is cheerful and jovial just because he had a smiling face in our first meeting? Moreover, accurately judging a person’s character in just one meeting is almost impossible. We should have sufficient time to analyze his behavior and to observe his attitude. First meeting hardly gives any time for us to do so.
I never prefer to judge a person’s character in my first meeting. Most of the times, I was deceived by my first impressions. Once, I went to a shopping mall along with my family. By the time we are done with our shopping, all our shopping bags were so full that I couldn’t carry all of them to my car. Then, a neatly dressed person came to my rescue and offered his hand. I thanked him for his help and drove back home. Unfortunately, not until I came back home, I realized that few groceries in those bags were missing. His external appearance mislead me to think that he is actually helping me, while the fact he deceived me and took away few of my groceries.
In another occasion, last month I chaired an interview panel in my office. Although my first impression on a candidate was not that sound, I had to change my mind by the time we are done with our interview. In the beginning he appeared to be rugged and incompetent for the position. However, his performance in the beginning of the interview was abysmal because of his interview phobia. Once he got acclimatized to the environment, he slowly grew in confidence and performed really well . Again, my first impression, which was driven by his external appearance and his timid nature, of him is wrong.
I always feel it is immature and imprudent to judge a person’s character in first meeting. We should take more time to observe the person, to assess his behavior and then come to a conclusion based on what our heart says. Decisions taken after a thorough observation and careful analysis are more accurate and useful than premature and incompetent first impressions. Our eyes may deceive us but not our heart.[/i]
TOEFL listening discussions: A conversation between two students at their university cafeteria