First Impression Is The Last Impression

Do you think that a first impression is the last impression? Why?

Do you think that a first impression is the last impression? Why?

Expert Answers
Lorraine Caplan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not agree with this statement, although there are no doubt situations in which it might be true. And I guess I would have to say I sincerely hope it is an untrue statement. 

Think about this for a moment.  You are painting your living room and run out of paint.  You need to go to the store to get one more gallon.  Of course, you are dressed in your absolutely grubbiest clothes and have paint splattered all over you.  At the Home Depot, you run into a friend, who is with someone in a position to hire you for your next job.  You are introduced to this person, and you return home to finish your painting.  A few weeks later, you apply for a job, and there he is, that fellow you were introduced to at Home Depot.  What do you suppose his impression of you was?  Do you think he is capable of forming a new one?  I certainly hope so, for your sake, my sake, and everyone else's, too! 

If we are only capable of going with our first impressions, that suggests that we are incapable of evaluating new evidence, and the implications for that are frightening.  Once upon a time, it was our impression that the sun revolved around the earth, that the earth was flat, that aboriginal peoples were stupid, that life could exist through spontaneous generation, and so on.

Now having said all of that, I should include some evidence to the contrary. Have you read Malcolm Gladwell's Blink?  In this book, he evaluates various processes that we use to make snap judgments and finds them to be valid, for the most part.  One example he offers is from a researcher who is able to predict what marriages will break up on the basis of the body language of the husband and wife, behavior observed for approximately half an hour.  The researcher's predictions had a high rate of success.  I should also mention that I frequently will sneak a peak at the book title of a person who is reading, making an immediate judgment on the basis of one book.  Sometimes I am right; sometimes I am not.  But I hope that when I make a judgment based on my observation of a person reading Danielle Steele, whom I later see reading Steven Pinker, that I am able to change my mind! 

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Certainly, the previous posts have explored this notion quite completely.  I think that something might have to be commented on is the idea of how we, as a society, do place an emphasis on first impressions and if this right.  If we examine the thought process of discrimination, it is primarily based on first impressions.  It seems that there should be some level of social reconfiguration of understanding how our first impressions are always going to be there, but ensuring that a process of reflection to make sure that our first impressions do not constitute the whole of judgment on a person is a critical piece that should be undertaken by as many as possible.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

First impressions are last impressions--when time proves that they were accurate to begin with. First impressions can be wrong, of course, but when they are negative impressions of character, I think they are most usually correct. For example, a dishonest person can fool others for a while and appear to be an honest one, but a truly honest person will never behave as a dishonest one. That would never be part of his or her character. Appearances can be deceiving, but the first impression will always be the last impression when we meet someone with real integrity or when we meet someone whose lack of integrity is obvious.


amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with Post #3.  The longer you know someone, the more opportunities you have to change your perception of that person (and vice versa).  However, if the first impression is a particularly unpleasant one, it is extremely difficult to completely erase that impression.  It is rather like putting your footprint or handprint in wet cement.  After the cement is dry, you aren't likely to smooth the edges or change the shape of those imprints.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think if anyone goes by the premise that the first is the last then the person is limiting the process of getting to know humans, as complex as we are. I know that 've caught myself judging people from what I perceive and then proving myself wrong. Also, some people are prone to judge others based on their own prejudices not even letting the person take a shot at giving the right impression. Its all in the eye of the beholder.

drmonica eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If a strong negative first impression is made, it can be difficult to replace. It takes commitment on the part of the sender and the receiver to reexamine the situation in light of later events that unfold in the relationship, if a relationship does develop. If a relationship does NOT develop, then I think it is nearly impossible for a strong negative first impression to be changed.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do not think that a first impression is the lasting one. I have met people in my life when at first they seem to be very shy and timid. After getting to know them, I found it just wasn't the case. I think it could be wrong to judge someone based on the first meeting. You never know what that person could be experiencing at that particular moment. People are very complex.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
First impressions are important, but they are not everything. Whether the initial impression is good or bad, knowing a person is what forms an opinion. Day to day interaction, choices you make and personality are more important. A good or bad first impression can be quickly eviscerated by these.
krishna-agrawala | Student

I will not say that first impression is the last impression, but it is very true that it is rather difficult to change the first impression. First impression is like a picture drawn on a clean slate. If subsequent impression change this first impression rather than reinforce it, then first the original impression need to be erased or obliterated. This process of erasing impressions already formed, are more difficult than forming new impression. Some faint lines of old impression remain even when these have been apparently erased. It is this difficulty in erasing old impressions that makes prejudices so difficult to counter.