I give off a bad first impression. I always have, I suspect I always will. If you were ever to somehow source my school reports then they all follow the same pattern, teachers generally thought I sucked and was lazy in the first half of the year but by the end of the year they would lax lyrical (well maybe not that far) but they would say I was much better than they had written a few months before.
Why this is I have no idea but I have always been slightly individual. I have rarely cared how I come across as I’ve been pigheaded and thought that how I come across shouldn’t matter. What clothes I wear shouldn’t matter and the like, of course the reality is significantly different. How you look and how you come across in those first few moments is actually really important. Not just in the dating scene or a work scene but in every day life.
On Saturday I was down in Guildford doing some politics stuff but I would only do delivery and I wouldn’t canvass. The main reason is ideally I want to help get Lib Dems elected and not vice versa and if I knocked on a strangers door, dressed in a hoodie, with orange headphones around my neck and what some would say garish (I wouldn’t, they are awesome) sunset coloured trainers then I think people would straight away go on the defensive and think that I was there for reasons other than what I was. As an aside to this I noticed how many stickers from Surrey Police were on doors in Guildford telling people that they wouldn’t buy anything off of cold callers and if they came twice then they were breaking the law, I thought this was a good idea. Anyway I digress.
Being defensive is not going to be a good start to any potential conversation about who someone is going to vote for so I remove myself from that situation. I get some stick in some quarters because I don’t canvass and that means that I apparently don’t know anything but we all have different strengths and weaknesses.
So because of how I come across I limit myself. Many moons ago my mum said I’d never get anywhere in life if I didn’t drive or if I refused to wear a shirt and tie/suit. Well here we are, I’m in my 30s and my clothing choices are still pretty bum like. I don’t own a coat and haven’t for a decade or more. I do own a pair of shoes but I only ever war them to walk over to my local shops (as they are slip on so its quicker and easier than putting on my trainers). I wear what have been described as ‘tatty’ jeans when the need arises but I’m very much a jogging bottom guy. I wear glitter in my hair. Basically I look like a strange combination of a bum and a weirdo. I think that sums it up rather nicely.
This is why I’ll never make it as a Liberal Democrat politician to any significant level. To be a success you have to not only work hard, be passionate, be all around amazing but you also have to be impressive and I’ll say this about me – I’m not an impressive individual. Give me time and I can impress but you often only have a few seconds to make a first impression and the current version of me doesn’t have that. It would need quite the turnaround to be able to project this.
I’d like to think in this era that we live in that first impressions aren’t as important as they were in bygone days but I think that is very much not the case. We are more impatient as a society. We make snap decisions and don’t give others as time as we might in previous generations. So giving off a good first impression is going to be all the more important for our children and our children’s children.
I’ve said all this but yet in previous guises I have done shop work where people said I gave off a good first impression. I used to volunteer at Hospital Radio where I’d interact well (I thought although others apparently disagreed) with patients and staff but politics and interviews are a different scenario entirely. You have to project a version of yourself that you want the other person/people to see and not the real you and that my friends is the key.
That is why all my political endeavours these days are done behind the scenes and come election day I’ll be holed up somewhere with a computer helping to coordinate that side of things. Sometimes you have to play to your strengths but even more importantly whilst working on your weaknesses as a person is all well and good, when you are doing things for other people and your weaknesses could affect them, then you have to avoid your weaknesses instead of working on them, at least in the short-term.
I would love to meet strangers and impress them within a few minutes of meeting them but alas that just isn’t my forte at this very moment (nor indeed has it ever). Will it ever change? Who knows but whilst it doesn’t cause me any real issues in my life, if I could go back and tell my teenage self to adjust how he thought about these things then I would. I know I could change now. I could buy a suit, I could wear shirts, I could wear proper shoes. I could go glitterless but you know what, that just isn’t me. It is hard to reinvent who you are and would I really want to at this point?
So the bum/weirdo hybrid combo will stay. No doubt the slight awkwardness will as well. I make myself sound awesome don’t I? Well give me time and you may well be impressed but make a decision early and I’ll just be a person you’ll forget about without blinking.
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