Thursday, May 16, 2013

People Covers

'Don't judge a book by it's cover." We all do this- I do this all the time with books. I think a better way to say this would be, 'Give books a chance even if they have a terrible cover.'

I do this with people all the time, judge them by their covers. It might sound bad, but it's actual a natural function to survive. We have to make snap judgements, or snap decisions, about people. Does that person look safe? Is it okay to walk by that person? Will that person be nice to me? Do I feel like I can ask that person a question?

Most of the time these snap decisions happen so quickly and naturally that we don't consciously think we are doing it. It's not wrong to make snap decisions because it's your mind's way of protecting you- a fight or flight reaction.

What's wrong is to carry the snap decisions of their character past an initial glance or meeting. People have different covers. Some things they can't help, some things they can. People who are cleanly dressed and groomed seem more approachable. People who are dressed in unusual clothes or are not clean seem more unapproachable. There's also a myriad of people in between those two opposites.

Learning to keep an open mind when meeting people will help you be more friendly and approachable. People will feel more comfortable with you. Make your decisions on their character based on their words and actions to you, not how they look.

I had a roommate that would make snap judgements about people all the time. She claimed that she had a sixth sense about people. She could just tell what people were like from the moment she met them. Sadly she was wrong a lot of the time. She judged people based on the crazy criteria in her head, then assigned people a character and would never let them vary from it in her mind. She had a very fake 'friendly' personality she would put on, but it's was easy to tell she wasn't being sincere. To sum it up- don't be like that!

Understand that we all have to make snap decisions about people to survive, but give people a chance to show you who they really are. If they're bad, leave them. If they are good, hold on to them for all they are worth, which is a lot. Understand though that people can hide parts of themselves. They can make mistakes and need forgiveness. They can change. If someone needs you to let them change, be flexible and let them change.

The world would be a better place if we could all teach ourselves, probably by trial and error, to look past people's covers and read their true stories.

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