As they spent more time together, Belinda would frequently express her disbelief that Eric would like her. Eric would get irritated hearing these disparaging remarks and kept telling Belinda how pretty, how smart, and how kind and thoughtful she was. But Belinda was not so easily convinced that Eric’s view of her was more accurate, and her inability to believe him was a constant source of stress in their relationship.
If Belinda could see it, she would recognize the sign she was wearing on her shirt said, “I’m unworthy and undeserving of your attention and love.”
These examples demonstrate how first impressions have the potential to provide an accurate clue into someone’s personality and style. First impressions can be powerful forces to attract or repel others. For singles looking to find and create a life partner relationship, it supports the importance of knowing yourself, liking yourself, and knowing what you have to give in a relationship. Without that self-knowledge, one would be hard pressed to control the first impressions they convey.
Consequently, the dating problems experienced by Cindy, Jack and Belinda began with their beliefs about themselves – Cindy’s fear of getting close, Jack’s arrogance, and Belinda’s poor self-esteem – and the obstacles they encountered to reaching their relationship goals were due to being oblivious that they were communicating these beliefs. . . . and on their shirts, no less.
Contrast the previous scenarios with this one:
Emily was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner party by her married friend Annette. Annette’s husband Kirk invited other single men, hoping that some of their friends might meet someone special. Emily was not feeling very happy that day, as she was unable to fly home to be with her own family for Thanksgiving. However, she decided to be grateful for Annette’s invitation, and made the effort to be friendly to the other guests during the dinner party.
What sign is Emily wearing? Because she understood herself well enough to know she might feel homesick, she made the conscious effort to wear a sign that said, “I’m happy to be here. Come meet me!”
Tim was invited to Annette and Kirk’s as well, but had plans to join a friend to watch the football games after the meal. Arriving at the party around the same time, Emily noticed Tim was attractive and outgoing, but he seemed to be distracted by his Blackberry’s beeping of football scores. When they all sat down to eat, the conversation eventually turned to football, and Tim found himself interested in Emily’s stories of her childhood experiences going to professional football games with her father, and the football games she went to in college. Tim eventually noticed that he was only talking about football, so he initiated conversations about other topics during the meal, focusing most of his attention however, on Emily. After the meal, Tim decided not to meet his friend, and instead he and Emily went into Annette & Kirk’s family room to continue talking and to watch the football games together.
What sign might Tim have been wearing? Because he noticed he was distracted by his interest in football that day, his sign might have said, “I love football, but I’m happy to talk about other things. Just ask me!”
Emily and Tim had the self-knowledge and the motivation to make themselves available to others, even though they may have been distracted by other feelings (homesickness) or interests (football).