Do you pay attention to first impressions?

There's a reason why Jane Austen titled her first draft of Pride and Prejudice as First Impressions.  It is so very easy to misinterpret the intentions of others.

First impressions are all about people interacting with each other, so a novel called First Impressions puts the idea of people meeting and interacting with other people front and center. The focus is on manners, behavior, and outward appearance.

First impressions matter. Not just because some one else told you they do, but because they just do.  Think back on the last person you met.  Truly.  Think about it.

What was this person wearing?
What was the first word this person said to you?
How did the person leave the room/area/vicinity?

Chances are you can answer at least one of the questions above.  Even if you didn't actively try to remember those minute details, you still did.  This is because it is human nature to pay attention to first impressions, even if we have no intention of actively doing so.

Here's the thing about meeting people: in order to actually meet them, you have to be involved.  Even if just a little bit.  It's quite a lot different in our day than in Jane's.  There are not strict, set regimental rules regarding the approach to society as there were in Jane's time. Back then, you wouldn't even THINK to approach a stranger and introduce yourself (ahem, Mr. Collins addressing Mr. Darcy at the Netherfield ball. AHEM) without someone else paving the way for you.  Nowadays, we forge relationships with strangers all over the world online, regularly mix social circles at work, school, home, etc., and we share so much of our lives on social media. The first impressions we make nowadays often occur without us even knowing we've made an impression or whom we've made an impression on.

I don't think Jane could have had the ability to have the foresight to understand just how connected we would be in the future as we are now. Nowadays, everyone either knows everyone or knows someone who knows someone... there is no anonymity.  It's actually 1 part comforting and 1 part terrifying.

I guess it's a good thing she decided to call her novel 'Pride and Prejudice' instead of 'First Impressions'.... we're all better for it.

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