People Judge You Based on These Two Things, According to a Harvard Psychologist

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December 31, 2017

You already know that making a good first impression can go a long way. But forget all the advice you’ve received about dressing to impress or putting on a cheesy smile. Turns out, the true secret to building a lasting connection reaches much deeper than what you wear.

December 31, 2017

You already know that making a good first impression can go a long way. But forget all the advice you’ve received about dressing to impress or putting on a cheesy smile. Turns out, the true secret to building a lasting connection reaches much deeper than what you wear.

According to Amy Cuddy, a Harvard Business School professor who has researched first impressions for more than 15 years, everyone (consciously or subconsciously) asks two questions when they meeting someone new: Can I trust this person? And can I respect this person?

Both questions help you measure a person’s warmth and competence, respectively. But, Cuddy says, you should put gaining your peers’ trust over winning their respect—even in a workplace setting. “If someone you’re trying to influence doesn’t trust you, you’re not going to get very far; in fact, you might even elicit suspicion because you come across as manipulative,” Cuddy wrote in her book Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges. “A warm, trustworthy person who is also strong elicits admiration, but only after you’ve established trust does your strength become a gift rather than a threat.”

It's hard to say exactly why you like someone. Maybe it's their goofy smile; maybe it's their razor-sharp wit; or maybe it's simply that they're easy to be around. You just like them. But scientists generally aren't satisfied with answers like that, and they've spent years trying to pinpoint the exact factors that draw one person to another. Below, we've rounded up some of their most intriguing findings. Read on for insights that will cast your current friendships in a new light – and will help you form better relationships, faster.

 But that’s not the only way you can start off on the right foot with a stranger. Your physical appearance matters, too. A 2017 study by psychologist Leslie Zebrowitz of Brandeis University found that people use four cues to judge your face: babyfacedness, familiarity, fitness, and emotional resemblance. While you can’t control all of these factors, you can improve your “emotional resemblance” by using body language that builds trust naturally.

The bottom line: The next time you meet someone new, focus on gaining their trust—not winning them over with a firm handshake. You’ll want to know the other unexpected ways people are judging you, too.


Courtesy/Source: Reader's Digest

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