When you meet new people through an already existing relationship, your initial impression of your new acquaintance will be (and I would suggest, in most cases, should be) affected by your impression of the person who introduced you.
For example, if you are my good friend, and you introduce me to a friend of yours, my initial impression of that friend will be strongly affected by my impressions of you. If you’re a deep, shallow, sporty, academic, goofy, party-ish, etc., I am quite likely to start with the base assumption that your friend is at least somewhat similar.
Now, of course, that friend can change that initial impression VERY quickly! But the fact is that they start off, in my mind (and I expect in most people’s minds, if we were honest with ourselves), similar to the mutual friend who introduced us.
[I feel obliged to insert here that I’m not talking about being prejudiced or judgemental; rather, I’m simply observing a likelihood in initial impressions. Initial impressions are not a problem – permanently judging someone based on those initial impressions is where the problem is.]
I was recently in a situation where I met a friend of a friend and found myself quite amazed, as we got to know each other better, at how different they were from our mutual acquaintance. As I listened to the conversation around me, I mulled over how interesting it was that within a few short moments, my opinion of my new acquaintance had changed dramatically from my initial reaction, which was based on my impression of our mutual friend.
Then, I was struck with the realization that I was in the same position. I was introduced as a friend of a friend, and the person I’d just met only knew me (at first) by the impression they had of our mutual friend. I wondered what their impression of their friend was, and how that affected their impression of me.
Did I start off already behind? Or did I start off strong?
Either way, of course, it averages out as I be myself and estabish my own impressions.
However, it is an interesting train of thought. How do the people in my circle affect the way I am perceived by new people I meet?
Now, I’m sure most people are expecting this to turn into a “watch who your friends are” sermon, but that’s not where I’m going. While I absolutely advocate for passionate integrity, I don’t think hanging out with only likeminded people is Biblical.
The point of these musings is not to suggest you need to pick friends that start you out on a positive foot. Rather, if you take the train of thought one step further, you end up with an interesting thought to mull over and pray about…
I can’t do much about the situation when other people introduce me to new people – I can’t make sure that I only get introduced by people with stellar reputations, etc.
I CAN do my best to make sure that the people I introduce start off on a good note!
When I thought further about the affect other people’s reputations have on me when introduced, I got to wondering – when I introduce someone, do I start them off on a positive note? Or do they start off already behind?
See, THAT is the part of the equation I have some influence over.
There. Just a thought I’ve been mulling over recently… 🙂
Hope you have a great day! 🙂