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Go Beyond First Impressions

A group of friends

Getting to know someone means getting past first impressions. Ashley reminds us it’s worth the effort…and how we can make the effort.


“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” 

John 7:24


I was at a coffee shop with a close friend last week and asked her to tell me what she thought when we first met. She laughed and proceeded to tell me she was a little intimidated and I seemed thoroughly disinterested in meeting her.

This was totally contrary to what I was actually thinking at the time; I remember being excited to get to know her. In recent years I’ve really worked on this, but typically I don’t give a great first impression and I’m not naturally “smiley”. Thankfully my friend didn’t hold this against me and now we can laugh about it.

A series of experiments by Princeton psychologists Willis & Todorov reveal it only takes a tenth of a second to form an impression of a stranger from their face (Read about it in this article.). WHOA! It is too easy to judge someone based on a first impression!

A little effort goes a long way in the value of knowing someone beyond the “first impression”. Here are a few simple ways we can encourage effort to be made to truly get to know someone.

  1. Let go of expectations. It is easy to look at someone and decide for yourself what they believe, what hobbies they might have, or what kind of people they will hang out with. Set aside those initial thoughts and let that person show you who they really are. “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.” John 7:24
  2. Ask questions. When we let someone else do the talking we put the focus on getting to know them. Ask them about their family, their passions, their interests…we will learn more about that person and serve them well by being interested in them. You might even learn something you never would have guessed!
  3. Be an encourager. When you are getting to know someone it goes a long way to praise their accomplishments and support their interests. Did you meet a new friend who plays soccer? Go cheer them on at their game. Maybe they are going through a hard time…you can write them a note to let them know you’re praying for them. “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17:17

Are you showing other people God’s love in getting to know them?

Are you showing your kids what it looks like to make the effort?

I’m thankful my friend gave me a second chance at a first impression. I’m also thankful for a God who loves me despite a first impression. Take the time and make the effort to get to know someone, you could be the only Jesus they see today.

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