This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
When you’re meeting someone for the first time, you cannot know if the person will be just an acquaintance or someone who’ll have a profound impact on your life. There are many factors that may influence how you perceive this person and whether you wish to get to know them better.
And how do first impressions affect a romantic relationship? Why do people find it hard to let go of them further down the road? Discover the importance of first impressions and potentially learn to overcome them in a reliable relationship coaching retreat for singles.
Does First Impression Matter In A Relationship?
Since this initial opinion of the new person determines whether or not you decide to pursue a closer relationship with them, it is often crucial. First impressions are typically tough to override, so people may only have this one chance to form the basis for a future relationship. While it is no guarantee, if you establish rapport with the new person, a fulfilling bond may develop from there.
How Important Are First Impressions In A Relationship?
Unless you have other reliable information about the person, you base your whole perception of them on your first impression. Unsurprisingly, it’ll be the deciding factor in whether or not you decide to get closer to them. This means that these early opinions have a huge impact on the start of the relationship. However, they also go beyond this.
They may also have far-reaching consequences if a person comes to realize that their partner didn’t measure up to their original expectations. Sometimes, a partner’s failure to live up to this idealized image may lead to the end of the relationship.
How Are First Impressions Formed?
People typically form their first impressions in a matter of seconds and without thinking about it. Although they may not realize it, their inner judge of character is on call, detecting subtle signals and forming opinions of the new people they meet.
Many factors play into forming first impressions, including societal, cultural, and personal influences. Apart from paying attention to what they’re saying, non-verbal cues play a huge part in forming an opinion of someone. For example, someone who is smiling and exhibiting open body language (uncrossed arms and legs), is more likely to make a good impression. People often have a positive bias toward those who are conventionally attractive and well-dressed too.
There’s also a tendency to form positive perceptions of those that share a certain commonality with us. For example, people can bond over their taste in music or movies, their similar sense of style, or another shared interest or trait.
Why Do We Hold Onto Our First Impressions In A Relationship?
As the relationship progresses and partners get to know each other more, they often realize that their first impressions of each other were wrong. Since they’re often idealized images of the partner, they aren’t sustainable in the long run.
For example, a person may be drawn to their partner’s determined and outspoken nature at first. Then, over time, they may start to think of them as a pushy know-it-all. Or, someone could initially admire their partner’s easy going personality only to get disappointed with their lack of responsibility.
This creates cognitive dissonance. This is a sense of discomfort that happens when someone realizes something that clashes with their existing beliefs. It’s usually difficult to accept that they misjudged the other person and people employ different tactics to deal with this realization.
One strategy that people use is denial. They may simply refuse to accept the truth and hold onto the image of their partner as strong-willed instead of forceful for as long as they can. Another way to deal with the dissonance is placing blame. The person will accuse the partner of disappointing them. Finally, some people will acknowledge the realization they’ve made and determine if it’s a deal breaker or something they can live with. This is the healthiest strategy to adopt.
Are Our First Impressions Of A Potential Partner Right?
They may or may not be, depending on the particular situation. However, most people do tend to put on rose-colored glasses in the very beginning of their relationship.
These idealized views of your partner are fueled by the novelty and excitement of a new relationship. When these feelings wear off, you can come to a deeper understanding of their partner as a person. While this will shatter some illusions about your partner, it’s also an opportunity for you to grow closer, understand each other better, and strengthen as a couple.
It’s all about being honest with yourself and trusting your feelings and thoughts. If you notice that there’s something that rubs you the wrong way in your relationship, it’s a good idea to acknowledge and explore this. You may realize that even though your partner doesn’t live up to your initial expectations, they may be able to work on it or provide you with something even more valuable. Alternatively, you may decide to move on and seek romantic fulfillment with another person.
Where Can I Join A Couples Workshop for Deepening a Relationship?
PIVOT offers a comprehensive curriculum that will guide you through the process of growing into a Healthy Adult. Our dedicated relationship advocates will help you develop greater self-awareness and find the inner strength to overcome challenges in your relationship and other areas of life.
By working through your early painful experiences, you’ll get to know yourself better and adopt healthy strategies for coping with psychological challenges. You’ll also discover how to communicate with your partner more effectively, form a mutually fulfilling connection, and protect your relationship from external pressures. Sign up for one of our healing individual coaching sessions to break away from harmful patterns. We’ll provide you with the tools and resources that will aid your personal journey. We also recommend a rejuvenating stay at our Glass House retreat. Give us a call to get started.