How Do People Perceive You When They See You?

“It made me think. What do people think when they see me?”

“You look like the kind of woman that just sits around and does nothing all day. Like you really don’t get out there and work or really have to.”

I’m in a Facebook group and the discussion was about relationships- of course. I can’t even remember what it was that I said that led to the above comment. But when it was made, by a male, and it left me feeling confused. I thought that he was joking, but he never came back with a smiley face or laughing emoji or a ‘just kidding’.

It made me think. What do people think when they see me? This man simply made a snap judgement based on some of my comments in the group chats and my profile picture. I had no clue what would make him say something like that. Normally, I don’t really care about things like that. Although, I’m always open to constructive criticism, I’m big on energy. I wondered what my energy said about me and how people read me.

me pic

This is my Facebook profile pic. To me, it’s pretty unassuming. But I know how I view myself. I do me daily, and don’t really worry about what other people think. Nothing about the pic says to me that I don’t work or I sit around all day long doing nothing.

As a matter of fact, that was a day that my friend treated me to a day out. She is my hairdresser and she came to my house and did my hair and makeup because I’ve had so much on my plate, I had not had much leisure time. Neither of us had. So we went to hang out, get a drink, some food, and some time out from work. I do not work a 9-5. I work for myself, therefore, I have to do the work on my plate, plus go out and find the clients that pay me for the work that I do. I’m always working.

Obviously his comment had no merit. This man doesn’t know me or what goes on in my life at all.  I can be pretty aloof, and sometimes standoffish. It does cause people to read me wrong initially. In this picture, I don’t see that at all. What his comment did do is make me think as well about how many times we may be making snap judgments about people. How many times do we take one look and think that we have the full scope of who this person is? Social media certainly makes it simple for us to feel like we know people. Sometimes you spend months in online groups, chatting on threads and sharing opinions, giving people a small sense of who you are. They feel like that is enough to actually know who you are. That with your picture makes them feel like they have a general idea about your life and who you truly are.

Interesting.

So while I racked my brain trying to figure out this guy’s angle, it was all for nothing. He doesn’t know who I am or what I struggle with because of my picture. He does not know my greatest triumphs or the things that motivate me. Even if he’s paying attention to my responses in the group, he still does not completely know what makes me tick.

I challenge you to do two things.

Be aware of your own energy. Make sure the image that you put forth is one that you want people to see. It’s pretty common for misconceptions to form. Knowing what your energy says when you step in the room, or acknowledging some social flaws could be helpful all of that way around.

Don’t make snap judgments about people based on what you see initially.  You could simply be catching someone on a bad day or you could be completely off base on what you think you are seeing and perceiving.

You could be missing out on a pretty amazing person because your perceptions are in the way.

~Tamara

Follow me on IG @bmorepeach

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