Monday, March 10, 2008

living and dying on first impressions

For the first time after about 5 years, I met Judy Almoquira, former JPIA President-Adamson University chapter (1999-2000). It was such a nice experience. Actually, back in our days as RSO (Recognized Student Organization) people, I never chat with Judy in an informal manner. Most of the times, we’ll talk to discuss organization stuff and things similar to that. Oh well, I have to admit, I was quite shy to talk with her. Back then, she’s quite popular in Adamson. She has a smooth, tanned skin (nowadays, I started to call her “mocha girl”). Not to mention that she’s quite good looking. During those times, even back in school year 1998-1999, she exudes confidence. The first time I saw her is when they had a seminar on parliamentary procedures. My, she speaks like a debater (and she is a debater). Because of that, she’s always one of the students being tapped to be an emcee in pageants, contests, competitions, etc.

Fast forward 2008. I got her number via her friend, who happens to be one of the department heads in Adamson. I started to be honest how shy I was back then to have an informal conversation with her. You know what? She said that she’s also quite shy to approach me in an informal manner. She thought that I’m a walking almanac! Hehehehehe. Our assumptions cost us 9 years of friendship time. Still, it’s never too late to make friends with this witty gal. She’s now a CISA. Indeed, an auditor. She’s now chubbier than before (just like me). She’s single (meaning, no boyfriend). Honestly, looking back 9 years ago and then moving fast forward today, I didn’t expect having a friendly date with her.

Why did I share these things anyway? It’s not about dating, you rumor-monger and indifferent bozos. My main point is about assumptions. Our assumptions cost us things, one way or another. I remember a Pastor/Mentor/Friend, Pastor Abel Bernardo said to me, “the only accurate assumption that I know is that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo graduated from that college (Assumption College)”. Assumptions can be either right or wrong. However, because we tend to live on assumptions, we tend to be judgmental. At times, we live and die on first impressions. For example, you saw a person, and he sounds cocky or loud. Especially girls, they’ll accuse the guy of being childish or a jerk or Mr. Personality (sometimes, I started to think that when a girl doesn’t like an extrovert guy, she will say that the guy is immature and not really because of the shallowness of a guy’s persona).

I am quite disappointed with people who are so called graduates of “fine schools”, or schools that epitomize intelligence (please forgive the stereotype for now…do the beating later). I am also disappointed with people who always brag their “old age” in a direct or a subtle form (just to show how superior they are, although at times maybe this is just a defense mechanism of some girls to get rid of guys). In what way am I disappointed with some people of these types? Because some of these types of people live and die on their first impression. They live on assumptions. When they have seen the first impression, they’ll begin to say things negatively. The next time you met, expect that you’ll be given a cold shoulder or a one word answer to your “many word” question. Yes, I am guilty at that also sometimes. Yes, I believe that first impression lasts longer. However, if you’re with a person on a weekly or occasional manner (like events), will you give a person a cold shoulder just because you had a bad impression? Yes, first impressions last, but whatever happened to Matthew 7:1? Whatever happened to their so-called intelligence? Whatever happened to the so-called maturity because of old age? I believe that intelligent person go beyond first impressions (unless he or she is too busy to do that. If he or she’s too busy to do that, then why assume or judge a person?). I also believe that if you’re boasting maturity, then your mindset is broad enough to accommodate the old AND the young. After all, even in science and research courses, even if we have our hypothesis, the hypothesis is still subject for testing. Jumping into conclusion is a bad move.

I was shy because I assumed Judy’s too famous in Adamson to have a date with an ordinary guy like me. She was shy back then because she assumed that I’m too nerdy to have a chat with. Both of us are wrong and our assumptions cost us 8 years of what could had been good, closer friendship. Good thing it was not too late for us to be good friends. Don’t get me wrong.

What if I found out that my assumptions happened to be true (because I have proven it)? That’s the only time you can go to the conclusion.

Oh well, maybe there are people who are too busy to dig deeper to a person. Thus, they rely on first impressions and pre-conceived judgments. I received rejections, rude treatment, indifferent action, etc, just because I try to dig a person, despite a bad impression. Why am I still digging a person despite having a bad impression or despite sensing something’s wrong with him/her? I don’t want to be judgmental. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Even if it is risky, at least I have proven if my assumptions are right or wrong.

I understand that reality bites; we lose good things (or lose the opportunity to get the best things) one way or another because we tend to stick to our assumptions and pre-conceived judgments (which happened to be wrong). One will never be perfect on this area. However, as a human being who is claiming to be sane, “normal” and accusing the geeks, the “isolated ones”, and MENSA-like people as “batang mental/weirdo/psychopathic/eccentric/nerd”, God has given us a thinking brain in order to go beyond first impressions. It may sound sarcastic, but this is true: we don’t use our head sometimes. First impression and that’s it. Isn’t it strange how we tend to talk about different societal issues with critical thinking skills in practice, yet never go beyond our first impression when we encounter a cocky looking guy or a loud gal?

I know I’m starting to sound like a perfectionist. Don’t worry, reality is still intact in me. Hehehehe. My point is just this: because of our wrong assumptions to a person, sometimes (even most of the times), we lose the chance of knowing the person well. We lost the opportunity of having a good, loyal, trust worthy friend. All because we assumed the person wrong.

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