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Simply Awesome Tips to Bounce Back from a Bad First Impression

Tips to Bounce Back from a Bad First Impression
Unfavorable first impressions can be turned into favorable ones provided you take efforts in that direction. Though it seems unachievable, consistent strategic actions can turn a bad impression into a good one. MissionSelf will give you some valuable tips to bounce back from a bad first impression.
Madhushree Kelkar
Last Updated: Mar 2, 2018
No matter how long we have traveled on the wrong road, we can always turn around. ~ Unknown
While the first impression is usually the last impression, it is not necessary that it should be a lasting one. Even more so if the first impression was a bad one. People may lose out on a good life-partner, career opportunity, networking platform, social group, etc., because of forming a negative first impression or influence on the other person. Just imagine, if you come across as an irresponsible and immature person in the first interview with a company, will they hire you for the job? The answer is self-explanatory, the company will not consider you as a strong candidate for the position unless you take efforts to have a positive impact on the interviewers.

As you know, many people still believe in the concept of 'there are no second chances' for having a first impression. However, if you want you can definitely recover from the initial bad impression you left on someone. Here are a few tips to bounce back from a bad first impression.
Confirm That You Have Had a Bad Impression
First and foremost, you must ensure that you have made a bad impression on someone. Don't assume that you have left a negative impression on the other person. Imagine the other person's reaction if you send a sorry note and the person does not even realize why you are sending it. Many times, because of spotlight illusion during social situations, we tend to feel that everyone's attention is focused on us. However, the reality is quite constraint where no one seems to notice your behavior. You can get easy indications that you have offended someone through their gestures, body language, facial expression, behavior, and the way they speak. So confirm that your behavior has indeed left a 'not so favorable' impression on someone.
Admit Mistakes and Apologize
Once you know that your impression has not been received well by others, you should honestly admit the mistake and apologize for the same. If you are apologizing to the person after your first meeting, you should apologize in very formal language. For example, "I must have come across as a impudent person, however, I had no intention of behaving in the fashion that I did." This will have a positive impact on the other person. Merely seeing that you realized your mistake and are apologizing for the same, will reflect you in a good light. Sometimes, it is difficult to say sorry when you come face-to-face with a person; you can send him or her an email, SMS, or a note and let them know about how you feel.
Start Afresh and Assure Others
There are two approaches that you can take, one is to initiate a conversation directly after the apology, or ask them to forget everything and start afresh. For example, you can initiate a conversation by saying, "I hope we can leave all that happened last time behind and make a fresh start". This will help the person let go of your initial image and build a new one. You can have a light-hearted conversation about your interests. Avoid talking about controversial topics like sex, war, politics, religion, race, etc., as they can make the situation go back to square one. If it helps, assure them that you are a different individual than what they experienced earlier and you will not behave in a similar manner again. This kind of transparency helps in gaining the trust and confidence of the other person.
Start a Series of Good Interactions
If you lose the chance of making a good impression in the first meeting, then you will have to toil hard to erase the earlier image and create a new positive one. This means that merely sending a 'sorry note' or apologizing face-to-face is not going to help unless you prove that you have truly changed. Though it sounds difficult, you will have to ensure that you have a series of good interactions with the person you offended during the first meeting. It means that you will have to 'walk your talk' and be on your 'best behavior' throughout your interactions. This will help the person to regain the confidence in you. It will also mean that you will be alert and avoid creating the same problems again. Maintain the positive interactions throughout; even a small lapse on your part will tarnish your image once again.
Humor Can Do Wonders
Being funny not only makes you likable, but it also gives an advantage in influencing people the right way. Wit and humor are often attributed to intelligence. Hence, if you are trying to recover from a bad first impression, then humor will act as an important communication tool to break the preconceived notions of the other person. However, ensure that the humor is light-hearted and is not mocking the other person. Some sort of harmless self-deprecating humor will be able to add sparkle to your conversation. For example, you may tell your child's friend's mother, whom you snapped at during your first meeting, "I always thought I would get the competitive mom syndrome sooner or later, it runs in our family. I am so sorry for behaving the way I did the other day." But ensure that you do not go overboard in making fun of your setbacks as it can aggravate the situation and end up making your impression go from bad to worse.
Disaster Management and Restoring Favor
As I mentioned earlier, spoiling your image will take a second, while rebuilding it is going to take consistent strategic efforts over a period of time. For example, you went to your colleague's place for a party and ended up drunk and in your drunken stupor attributed various expletives to the hosts. In such a situation, it will take more than an apology note or bouquet to regain their trust. In this case, you will have to take up every chance to interact positively with them. Not only this, you will have to call them to your place for a party, and show that you are a clean and sober person who got drunk at an one-off incident. People take a lot of time to forget the negative things spoken about them. Since you have hurt the sentiments of your colleague and his wife, apart from apologizing you will have to be courteous, kind, and friendly with the couple.
Be Genuine and Sincere
Merely putting up a facade of bringing about a genuine change or being a different person is not going to help you. You will have to be genuine and sincere in portraying yourself as a better person. Take efforts to make up for the losses that may have occurred because of you. If you had a tiff with your new neighbor when he was moving in with his furniture, apologize and take a cheesecake for him. This will make him feel that you are a genuinely nice person and the tiff was caused due to some misunderstanding. If you are dishonest or are only pretending to be genuine and sincere, your mask will come off in a matter of few days and you will continue to have a bad impression.
Watch Your Manners
Disaster control will take double the efforts than what you took while creating the first impression. You will have to watch every aspect of your personality as your behavior will be closely scrutinized before forming a good impression. This means that you have to be aware about what you speak, your body language, gestures, facial expression, etc. If you took a girl on a date for the first time, but were continuously busy on your cell phone, you will have to ensure that you do not repeat the same mistake the second time. Gathering from the second positive date, the girl will infer that you were genuinely busy during the first date and change the negative opinion she had for you. Every small detail will matter, whether you pulled the chair for her, whether you paid the bill, etc. So watch your manners to create a favorable impression.
Dress to Impress
Okay, so when you first met your 'perfect to a T' would be mom-in-law accidentally, you were lazing around the house of your fiancé in the tiniest shorts ever, and a tank top. I can imagine the horror on the face of your mom-in-law. She must be already drawing mental comparisons about your suitability for her son. However, this was an accident and timely disaster management can save your reputation and create a positive impression. The next time you go to meet her, dress smartly as you always do, style your hair, and dab a little make-up. This will definitely re-introduce her to the 'actual you'. Whatever misconceptions she must have had about you based on your dressing style will go away. Strike a confident conversation with her. This will convince her that your behavior is as good as you look.
Learn Your Lesson and Get Over It
Just because you were able to bounce back from a bad impression in one case doesn't mean that you go ahead and indulge in another first impression disaster. In a job interview, it may so happen that you may not even get a second opportunity to prove yourself otherwise. If you came across as a rude person or a snob who likes to throw his weight around, your application will be rejected immediately and you will not even make it to the next round. Hence, it is important that you learn from your mistakes
and do not repeat them at any cost. In such circumstances, there is no point in pushing yourself against the odds to create a positive second impression. It would rather be better to look for another opportunity and avoid committing the same mistakes again.
Not everyone gets a second chance, so make the most of it. Try to create a positive self-presentation, always be confident, and have a cheerful disposition. Where on one hand it is essential that you apologize for your behavior, on the other you should not act overcompensating. Don't go out of your way and beyond your individuality to do something for bouncing back from a bad first impression. Realize that everyone makes mistakes and learn to let go if nothing works out irrespective of your efforts. However, do not forget the valuable lessons you learn during recovering from a negative first impression and turning it into a positive one.
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