First impressions

Perception can rely on one moment of one day. If it were another day, another time, another era, another person, another situation, the variables would be different. When people automatically judge a person by just their appearance or just their personality you’re losing the story of which made them, them. This person standing in front of you today, right here and right now.
In my opinion the way people act stems from the way they have been treated. It comes from their upbringing. It comes from what they have learned from what they have lost, and what they have gained. No one in the world is just “simple”.

In terms of language – rarely does a word in a foreign language simply translate to another word. Instead there’s mulitiple definitions and interpretations depending on concept. I believe the same with people.

To some people I am blunt. I am a person who doesn’t sugar-coat things and can hurt people’s feelings by being contemptuous, cold, callous, cynical or cutting.

To some people I am honest. I will give you my honest opinion and I will expect the same from you. I believe it is better and nicer to tell the truth than hide behind the fence of indifference. I never mean to hurt people’s feelings and my perceived cynicism and coldness is because I’ve had to become hardened.

To some people I am friendly and loyal. I take a real interest in people’s lives and what made them who they are and go the extra mile to make someone feel happy and appreciated.

To other people I am polite but not warm, and while loyal, can cut people off very quickly. Some people may think that I care about the people closest to me but I am very hesitant about letting new people in.

I am none and I am all of these things. People aren’t just a few character traits which form our favourite one dimensional tv characters. People change and develop. Would Hermione and Ron really have got together? As much as I hated Jo in Little Women I liked that the author didn’t just put her with the man everyone wanted her to be with. (Laurie?). You can’t just expect someone you knew at 16 to have much in common with who they were at 26, 36 or 96. There was once an aspiring art student who really wasn’t very good at it, who later became an evil and fascist dictator. There was once a man who committed terrorist acts, spent years in prison, and then became a symbol of peace of South Africa. There was once a beautiful, charitable Princess who was taken far too young in a car crash. But to some people she was jealous, scorned and troubled, and to two others she was their mum.

While we’re not all Hitler or Mandela or Princess Diana we are who we are today whether we like it or not. If we have such a need to judge other people on the first handshake and what they’re wearing that one particular day then we’re limiting our imagination. As I learned  last week in my Austrian History exam, you’ll only find the most basic of definitions if you’re looking at the smallest dictionary.

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