Sharing stories with someone you have never met before can be fun or terrifying depending on how the discussion transpires. Everyone wants to make a positive impression when we meet someone for the first time. We always go into a first meeting with the right intentions. Unfortunately, there are certain things we might do or not do that can put the other person off and create a bad first impression. The good news is that you are probably reading this article because you want to avoid the faux pas of impression management. Be on the lookout for the following signs:

  1. You are talking without listening

If you are completely dominating the conversation throughout your first interaction with someone, odds are you are leaving a bad first impression. Sometimes, we get nervous when speaking to someone for the first time because we want to say the “right thing”. In our endeavor to say the right thing, we control the conversation and stop listening.

The problem with talking too much during your first interaction is that you give the other person the impression that what you have to say is more important. On the other hand, taking time to listen to the other person shows them that you are interested in what they have to say. You must say what you have to say efficiently and effectively and give the other person time to speak; in essence, finding the right balance between talking and not talking. Keep in mind that a “discussion” is a two-way street and a good conversationalist is a good listener.

  1. Constantly checking your phone during the conversation

Have you ever thought about the number of times you check your phone during a 24-hour period? According to research by global tech care company Asurion, on average, Americans check their phones 96 times a day. This means that on average, Americans check their phone once every 10 minutes, which probably means that they are checking their phones when they are in social and non-social settings.

Because most people have a phone in their hand for most of the day, it has become the preferred way of communication. The issue that has arisen is that people are still prone to using their phone even when communicating with someone who is physically present (i.e., standing right in front of them). This has become known as “phubbing”, which basically means snubbing someone in favor of your mobile phone. Using your phone when someone is sharing stories with you, is an indirect way of telling the person that you find him or her boring or their message is not important. Unless you are responding to an emergency (in which case you should excuse yourself), you should not be using your phone while having a face-to-face conversation with someone – particularly if it’s your first interaction with the person. Think of this as the ultimate faux pas of impression management.

  1. You are not looking people in the eye

We already know that eye contact plays a significant role in social interactions, making it all the more important when trying to create a good first impression. Unfortunately, this might be easier said than done, especially when we meet people for the first time.

A first meetup is often tense and uncomfortable, making it more difficult to maintain eye contact. In such situations, you might be tempted to focus more on the floor or the ceiling when the other person is sharing stories. But, this will only make you appear to be uninterested and it will also make the conversation more awkward. Maintaining eye contact during a conversation shows that you are engaged, attentive and interested in what the other person is saying. However, be careful not to maintain eye contact for too long, because extended, continuous eye contact can make the other person nervous. You can practice your eye contact skills with your friends and family members. This will help you be more comfortable when doing it with strangers.

The list presented above is not exhaustive, but these are some of the most common signs that you are making a bad first impression. Being cognizant of and working on these troublesome habits will surely help you make better first impressions.

Categories: Sharing


Amara Kone · May 29, 2020 at 1:30 am

I think all of us get a bit self-conscious when we meet someone for the first time. Everybody wants to make a good impression. I know that when I am in this situation, I talk too much and too fast. In fact, I can hear myself talking too much, but it’s hard to stop myself. Luckily, this only happens for the first few minutes, then I calm down and everything is okay – at least this is how I interpret it.

    duppydomTEAM · May 29, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    Amara, thank you very much for your comments. Getting nervous when meeting someone for the first time is not uncommon. One thing we can all practice (if it’s a scheduled meeting) is calming ourselves prior to meeting the person. If you hear yourself speaking quickly (your interpretation), try to gauge the other person’s facial expressions. Other people’s expressions can give us hints in terms of how they are perceiving us 😧

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:46 pm


      Amara Kone · June 6, 2020 at 12:16 am

      Thank you.

Adaego M. Azi · May 29, 2020 at 5:48 am

duppydomTEAM – I really appreciate the tips. I tend to get nervous when I am speaking to anyone of authority, whether I know them or not, so this can help. I never really thought about practicing these things with anyone. There are some things in life you don’t really ever think about as being a skill or something you have to work on. By the way, I found the Asurion article unbelievable – who would have thought that “texting is now king across all age groups, even among Baby Boomers”. Thanks, duppydomTEAM.

    duppydomTEAM · May 29, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Adaego, we appreciate your comments. You are right, we sometimes think that some behaviors come naturally. But even something like giving a good first impression is a learned skill. And those who believe it is not a learned skill, make some of the faux pas mentioned in the article. If you want to get better at this, there is nothing wrong with practicing this skill at home or even with coworkers in a more formal setting. Yes, some of the details in the Asurion article were surprising. Particularly the information about Baby Boomers, who everyone presumed hated texting ☎📱

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm


D'Gauntlett · May 29, 2020 at 4:51 pm

This is a nice reminder for anyone planning to go on a date in the near future. I haven’t been on one for so long I would probably make a bad impression by smiling the whole time, trying to look CUTE. Anyway, I remember the days, way back when, I would come home from a dinner or a party and think “HELL NO” once is enough. A one way conversation about his life, his misdeeds along the path and failed loves. None of which inspire or impress me. I often wonder if people really believe trying to impress others by hogging the conversation is a deal maker. No, not for everyone. Those who see nothing wrong with it in the beginning later on have lots to complains while in a relationship with that person. You’ll hear them lament “I cant get a word in edgewise” the signs were there, they chose to ignore them. And yes, on the flip side, the beloved phone. I can’t tell you how many times I see two people seated waiting for the waitress to come, one making eye contact with the phone while the other looking very uncomfortable and feeling pretty foolish. Without meaningful two way interaction we really wont anything worthwhile about each other. Thanks duppydom team, always an interesting topic.

    duppydomTEAM · May 31, 2020 at 3:37 am

    D’Gauntlett – thank you for your interesting insights. Yes, making a good first impression on a first date 🥂, is something most in that situation think about. By the way, the lengthy one-way conversation about “himself”, is something a lot of women lament. What’s interesting about phubbing; is that one person doesn’t have to be talking on their phone to upset the other person, just the fact that s/he keeps looking at their phone is insulting enough. By the way, do people think they are invisible? If you are at a restaurant and your phone is on the table, are you not aware that the other people can see you looking at your phone 👀? Glad to know you found the article interesting.

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:49 pm


    Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:48 pm


Bruce Peters · May 29, 2020 at 9:23 pm

Another interesting article. This is something I take very seriously. In the business world, people make decisions based solely on their impression of someone after just one handshake – so it is very important to make a good first impression. I think your tips are very useful, particularly not dominating the conversation (and modulating your voice) and maintaining eye contact; and I would say maintaining eye contact is the most important.

    duppydomTEAM · May 29, 2020 at 11:27 pm

    Bruce, thank you for sharing your comments. Bruce you are so right. It is interesting to think about what nonverbal cues people use to make instant decisions about us. And because we don’t know, thinking about it and deliberately trying to make a good first impression is critical. Your comment about voice modulation is important (and thanks for mentioning this); there is nothing more distracting when speaking to someone than speaking to someone who speaks in a monotone voice 🗣

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:50 pm


S. Jakes · May 30, 2020 at 12:36 am

duppydomTEAM – this is interesting. Being a teacher, this is something I think about all the time. On the first day of class, all eyes are on me and the students are waiting for me to say something. I try to make a very specific first impression – firm, but kind and supporting. What’s interesting about teaching is that I am making an impression pretty much every class – it never ends. Students are always trying to push my buttons and see how much they can get away with. So, each class, I have to reconfirm the impression I want them to get from me. I find that eye contact is the best way to convey that I am serious about something that I am saying. I love your tips. Thanks, duppydomTEAM 👏.

    duppydomTEAM · May 31, 2020 at 3:34 am

    S. Jakes – thank you. Your situation is very unique. We are imaging all eyes on you the first day of class 👀; waiting for you to speak, so they can start making an assessment about you. It must be nerve wracking. We can see how making a good first impression is extremely important. We are glad that you found the tips helpful.

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:52 pm


    Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:51 pm


Nadine Wu · May 30, 2020 at 4:54 am

I think this would only really matter if you are having first time professional meetings. At work, I am not really meeting people who I am concerned with – my boss every now and then, but I already know him. As far as my personal life is concerned, it’s just my friends who I already know. I was also surprised when I read the Asurion article and I must admit that I am guilty of phubbing. Phubbing is really becoming an issue – some of my friends have told me that they find it insulting when I reach for my phone when we are having a conversation.

    duppydomTEAM · May 31, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Nadine – we appreciate your insightful comments. If you get a chance, please take a look at D’Gauntlett’s comments. Making a good first impression isn’t just for first time professional meetings—among other social settings, it can be critical for meeting someone on a first date. Making a bad first impression on a first day could be a nonstarter. Yes, phubbing is really becoming an issue with a lot of people 🗣📱. If your friends are telling you that it’s insulting, you should believe them.

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:52 pm


Lisa Steffler · May 30, 2020 at 6:16 am

I must agree with Bruce. In the business world, making a good first impression is important. Because I am an office manager, I am meeting with clients and recruits all the time. When I meet clients, I am representing the company, so I must give an impression of professionalism. All of the signs mentioned in the article are things I think about. I would absolutely never look at my phone while meeting a client for the first time – firstly, these clients can report to my boss about our meeting and I surely would be reprimanded if my boss got wind of something like that. P.S., I know I am getting old because I have never heard of phubbing. Thank you duppydomTEAM.

    duppydomTEAM · May 31, 2020 at 3:29 am

    Thank you, Lisa, for your comments. Making a good first impression when conducting employee interviews is also important. Because the individual is interviewing for the job, a lot of managers never think that they must make a good first impression. Yes, the individual is interviewing for the job, so s/he must be concerned with making a good first impression, however, the individual is also interviewing the company. If the manager/interviewer gives a bad first impression, that will not bode well for the company 🏭, and a potential long-term hire will choose to go elsewhere.

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:54 pm


Amie Warwick · May 30, 2020 at 7:47 pm

duppydom – I like this article. Pretty much every retail job I have ever had, they taught us about “impression management” and how to deal with customers. Once I become floor manager, I did the same with new hires. Every customer that walks into the store is a new meet, so we have to make a good first impression. Things like our eye contact, body language, voice, etc., are things we pay attention to. No employee can have their phone on the floor, so this is never an issue. I think making a good first impression is something everyone should work on. You never know who you are going to meet and under what circumstance.

    duppydomTEAM · May 31, 2020 at 3:28 am

    Amie – thank you for your comments. Making a good first impression would definitely make sense when dealing with customers. When customers walk into most retail stores; they know that sooner or later (if not immediately), they will be “accosted” by a store employee, so they are already on edge 🙄. Making them feel welcomed to just browse around, can be portrayed with that first interaction. And you are right, making a good first impression is something everyone should work on.

      Adaego M. Azi · May 31, 2020 at 4:55 pm


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