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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

First Impressions


When meeting people for the first time (in real life) I have the tendency to come across as a bit reserved. I'm an introvert by nature. I can be silly and outgoing, but usually only around people I know. I've been thinking lately how first impressions in real life can contrast with first impressions online. Because of the virtual nature of contact between people online, I may have made a completely different impression on you as a reader of my blog than I would have had we met in real life. I sometimes share personal thoughts and opinions with the world on my blog that I probably wouldn't were we meeting for the first time in person (although if you met me in person, I'd introduce myself by my full name, not an internet moniker). I've been thinking about why that is. The social norms are simply different between introductions online and in person, I suppose.

That said, the person writing the blog is still me, Kim L. I love reading, my puppy, and my husband (although not necessarily in that exact order, lol). The person I present to you on this blog is what I want you to know about me. When I post, I always keep at the back of my mind that future employers, not to mention my parents (oh horror) might stumble across my webpage sometime.

My Strangest First Impression

There is a story about first impressions that simply cracks me up. This is a story about a person who I managed to make a significant first impression on. This person would happen to be my husband's boss. The story starts with the trouble I was having with a bill from our internet provider. Our internet had been turned off because of the ISP's incompetence. I was sick and tired of sitting on hold, then talking forever to a customer service rep on the phone only to have them fail to help me. Finally I decided to write a letter of complaint. I had kept dates and times of conversations I'd had with the customer service reps, and I was going to let 'er rip. I wrote the most scathing letter you can imagine. No, I wasn't rude, but I let them know that they were not living up to their tagline "Our Spirit of Service". I told them who I'd talked to and what exactly they had or hadn't done. I told them exactly what had happened and in no uncertain terms exactly what I wanted them to do about it to fix the problem.

I wanted to fax the letter, so I emailed it to my husband, who was in the midst of printing it at work when his boss happened to pick up the letter and read it. He had not met me in person at the time, so this was his very first impression of me. My scathing letter left a deep imprint, because the first time he met me, he said, "We use (unnamed internet provider). Don't kill me!" In fact, when my husband is annoyed about something at work, he threatens to have his wife write a letter. This tends to get the desired response.

So how about you? Any good stories about first impressions either online or in person?


Alice Teh said...

Hi Kim! Interesting thoughts there. I don't have any stories to share but when I attended PA conference last week, the speakers did speak on that topic. While first impressions are important, they are often wrong too. But still, it's important for us to form a good first impression.

I hope you're having a good day. :D

DesLily said...

Lesse what I can remember (crs).. once friends and I were dressed and made up as clowns doing volunteer stuff.. a police officer happened over and was talking to someone..he must have been "Italian" because he talked with his hands a lot.. so when his arms were out I jumped into his arms....... I never did ask what he thought about that.. heh.

Nymeth said...

I could have written the first paragraph of your post. It's exactly the same with me, and I often think about those things. I don't have any particularly interesting first impressions story to share, I'm afraid. I agree with alice teh - first impressions are important, but they can often be misleading.

Sam said...

Hi, my first impressions comment is waaaay too long to leave on your blog, so I wrote a post about it myself!! Do go and have a look - here!

Kim L said...

alice-thank you! And I agree, first impressions are important, which is why, to my chagrin, I am not as good at them as I'd like to be.

deslily-heehee, I love your story. I bet he was a bit surprised.

nymeth-its interesting, isn't it, how very different communication is from online to in person? I try to be more outgoing, but I will always be an extravert at heart.

sam-loved your post :-)

Melody said...

What an interesting post, Kim! I think first impression do counts...a lot, but sometimes they can be wrong and misleading, especially when a person is very shy and quiet around people he/she don't know. In this case, it's the personality instead of the intention.

Debi said...

You know, I really think that many, many people who blog are just like you. I'm seriously lucky to get much past "hello" meeting someone in person. It's not that I don't like people, honest. I just get so anxious that I clam right up. Blogging gives me a chance to have a social life, as horribly pathetic as that sounds.

Briggie said...

aaahhhh, a woman after my own heart. i too enjoy writing a "scathing" letter when the matter at hand warrants it. in fact, recently i had a problem with a vendor at the mall and my family started singing, "mom's gonna write a letter, and we're gonna get some free stuff" to the tune of the conga line dance. too funny.

Kim L said...

debi-I know how you feel. When I'm around lots of people I don't know at all, I get so anxious, I hardly know what to say. But when I'm relaxed, I can be much more social. The dilemma of an introvert!

briggie-so your reputation preceded you there, huh? :-) Sometimes crappy service like that can only be solved by the direct method. I didn't mention in my post, but I later got an apology from someone at the company and a month free because of my letter.