The Myth of the First ImpressionJob interview? First date? New job? First day of school? You hear so much advice on how to make a great first impression. Maybe some of it is true. But is the first impression more important than giving an honest impression? A first impression may get you a second interview or a second date, but is the impression a fair representation of who you are?

Some of my favorite people are people I did not like all that much at our first meeting. And there are people who impressed me then disappointed sooner or later. I may be a bad judge of character, but first impressions are only all-important if you get just one meeting. If that’s the case, be genuine.

I know I do not always seem confident. My specialty at a first meeting is putting my foot in my mouth. But some people like me anyway. Some don’t. And there are those on whom I have grown. That’s how we are as people. You’re not going to be everyone’s cup of tea and vice versa.

So it’s pointless to worry about whether everyone will like you. If it’s a job interview or a meeting with a potential client, you will want to be as competent as possible. Don’t worry about seeming nervous or lacking confidence, or any of that other psyching-out psychology. Just be yourself. Unless you’re a jerk, then maybe you should just be nice. But that’s not really fair to those you may trick, so maybe you should be yourself. Either way, the firmness of your handshake will eventually be forgotten, having given way to how you make a person feel. Saying the right thing is not nearly as important as what you contribute.

Don’t let the so-called experts scare you into worrying about making a good first impression. It is easier to be yourself. No studying required. And your new acquaintances will not be let down when the real you shows up. Your mom was right about some things. If someone doesn’t like you, who needs them?