13 snap judgements people make within seconds of meeting you

We’ve all experienced the snap judgment at one point or another. You meet someone for the first time, and within a mere matter of seconds, they’ve already formed a set of beliefs about who you are. Rude!

No one appreciates the snap judgment. In fact, it can easily offend the most self-assured of us.

These immediate conclusions people draw about us without knowing us can be based on superficial cues or even stereotypes. That’s why they truly suck.

Have you fallen victim to this? I know I have. If you’re not quite sure, here are the top 13 snap judgments people commonly make.

1) Your confidence

People will sometimes gauge your level of confidence upon meeting you.

They’ll observe the way you stand, walk, and hold yourself because they believe it tells a tale. And while body language can tell people a lot about you, there are always other circumstances at play. It’s not always a fair observation.

People might even say, “She seems so confident just by the way she carries herself.”

Being conscious of your body language or even what you wear can help emit an aura of self-assuredness. However, remember to balance it out, as an excess might come off as arrogance.

And, you should always just be yourself and not pretend you’re someone you’re not.

2) Friendliness

If you smile a lot, people will automatically think you’re friendly.

“His smile was genuinely warm. He seems like a friendly person.” A heartfelt smile is inviting, setting a positive tone for the encounter.

However, a lack of one—say, if you suffer from “resting bitch face” (also known as, RBF)—may paint you as aloof, even if you’re simply shy or reserved.

I’m guilty of this. I’m not naturally smile-y, so people who have gotten to know me better will sometimes tell me, “I had no idea you were this sweet and friendly.” I could be offended by it, but I get it.

Take note: get to know people and see if it changes those snap judgments for the better!

3) Trustworthiness

People often associate trustworthiness with eye contact. If someone does not look you straight in the eye, you might think they’re lying or are not giving you a complete picture.

A statement like, “She can’t seem to hold my gaze. Is she hiding something?” is common.

Maintaining appropriate eye contact can help establish trust from the get-go. But be careful not to overdo it, as intense staring could make others uncomfortable.

4) Intelligence

Your intelligence can sometimes be assessed based on how you speak. Not always accurate, if you are well-read and have a strong vocabulary, people will automatically think you’re smart.

However, many smart people aren’t exactly this way.

“He uses a rich vocabulary and speaks articulately. He must be intelligent.” may be a quick assumption.

Expressing your thoughts clearly can demonstrate intelligence, but be wary of not coming off as pompous or condescending. And on the flipside of the coin, don’t underestimate the person who doesn’t use big fancy words.

5) Socioeconomic Status

Unfortunately, people will make snap judgements about your socioeconomic status based on your attire and accessories.

“Her designer bag and branded attire hint towards a wealthy background,” they might infer. Bear in mind, there are plenty of people in debt who spend countless dollars on labels.

Case in point, I used to actually wear fancier, more expensive things when I made less money. Now that I’m older and making more money, I’m more protective of my budget.

What you wear is not an indication of how much money you have.

Although it’s generally a good idea to dress appropriately for the occasion, don’t feel pressured to wear expensive items to impress others.

6) Success

Your grooming and neatness could be interpreted as markers of success. “His crisp suit and well-groomed look give off an aura of success,” might be someone’s thought.

Regardless of your career status, presenting yourself in a tidy, well-groomed manner can boost your perceived success.

7) Competence

Body language is a silent communicator of your competence.

Someone might think, “She slouches and avoids eye contact. She doesn’t seem very competent.” To show competence, be mindful of your posture and display an open, positive body language.

8) Approachability

Your approachability is often judged by your openness and relaxed demeanor.

An observation like, “His relaxed posture and open facial expressions make him seem approachable,” is common.

Of all the snap judgments, this one makes the most sense. If you are approachable, you’ll likely be more open and relaxed. That defines approachability, in fact.

To appear approachable, maintain an open posture and make sure your facial expressions match the situation.

9) Organizational skills

People often associate neatness and being put-together with organizational skills.

“He’s so well-dressed and neat. He must be organized,” people will assume.

But quite honestly, I know a lot of people who look super buttoned up IRL, but when you visit their home, you see a totally different situation.

While your appearance can indicate your organizational skills, remember it’s just one aspect of you. You can be neat externally and a mess internally, and vice versa.

10) Emotional stability

So are you calm in stressful situations or are you all over the place?

Your emotional stability can be perceived by how you handle unexpected events. “He was so calm during that commotion, he must be emotionally stable,” might be a common perception.

But this assessment may not be entirely fair. For instance, someone who might act anxious upon experiencing something might actually be the more sane of people.

They might understand what’s happening better than anyone else, which caused the anxiety in the first place. This just shows just how emotionally stable they are.

While it’s important to stay composed during unforeseen circumstances, the most cognizant of people might be those who react genuinely.

11) Ambition

Some will assume that your ambition can be deduced from your passion and the way you discuss your goals. But some people—those who aren’t great about bragging—are just as ambitious. You just don’t know about it.

It’s okay not to be obvious about your drive. It’s your journey after all and no one has to know what you’re working towards if you want to work and celebrate quietly and privately.

You do you!

12) Open-mindedness

How open-minded you are is not always obvious upon meeting someone, so this landed on our list.

It’s hard to tell how open-minded (or how close-minded) someone really is when you first meet them.

Some people harbor unconscious bias, as a matter of fact. Others merely hide their bigotry too.

To display your open-mindedness, make sure you show your receptivity to new ideas or perceptions you might not necessarily hold.

13) Dependability

Your dependability can be guessed by how committed you seem to your promises and plans.

If you happen to be really busy one week and you say no to invites or helping others for your own sanity, people might say, “that person isn’t dependable.”

You’d beg to differ, but your inconsistency might make someone question your reliable nature.

It sucks, but you may have to boost people’s trust in you by being available next time. Just make sure it doesn’t come at the cost of your own mental wellness.

Remember, while these snap judgements can impact first impressions, they do not define who you are as a person. It’s important to stay true to yourself and let your authentic personality shine through.

After all, we are all so much more than a mere first impression.

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Ysolt Usigan Schmidt

Ysolt Usigan Schmidt

Ysolt Usigan is a lifestyle writer and editor with 15+ years of experience working in digital media. She has created share-worthy content for publishers WomansDay.com, Shape, WhatToExpect, CafeMom, TODAY, CBSNews, HuffingtonPost, TheBump, Health Magazine, and AskMen. A working mom of two, her editorial expertise in relationships, spirituality, mental wellness, shopping, and home are rooted in her everyday life.

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