One of my classes for school involves taking public transportation where you live and writing a paper about the experience and the community.
I was nervous. Jacksonville is known to have a lot of crime in the city...
I was on a bus headed towards the downtown area of the city. On the bus I was looking around at the different people, wandering about their lives, and wondering what they might be thinking of me. After exiting the bus at a busy downtown bus stop I heard someone call out “Excuse me, ma'am!” At first I thought someone was going to ask for money or try to follow me, but my mind quickly changed-
A young man was holding out my wallet! I guess it may have slipped out of my purse as I was getting off of the bus! I felt a bit guilty that I had been so scared about riding the bus. This guy could have easily taken my wallet or it could have been left on the bus-and he returned it to me!
This experience causes me to think about first impressions and the way we look at each other.
I think first impressions are certainly important. People are driven so much by image. People can change hairstyles, clothes, and even behavior based on what is seen. However, would I always want to be judge based on MY first impression to other people? I don't think so!
I've seen coworkers that I thought would act a certain way-and then was shocked as I interacted with them more that they were different than I first assumed.
The same goes for the guy on the bus. If presented with a visual of the situation before it happened I might have thought he would be likely to take my wallet! How often do we do this? Do we see an individual with a certain title or certain hairstyle and form judgments on how they might behave?
What would happen if we stop casting so many quick assumptions when we meet people?
I encourage you to talk to those you come in contact with, view their behavior-and you too might be surprised at what you really see.