The Covid-19 pandemic caused a slow time during the Thanksgiving festival last year. At the time, my aunt decided that since we would not be inviting family from all over, as it was tradition, we would make it into a neighborhood Thanksgiving. She invited their neighbors over; I bumped into one of their new neighbors on the block, Mr. Landry, in the kitchen while he conversed with my aunt. As I walked into the kitchen, he went silent with no eye contact, and as soon as I left the kitchen, he got back to the conversation. I overheard part of the conversation where Mr. Landry talked about Mrs. Boudreaux’s hospitalization while describing how she looked to be reeling in pain when he visited her. By that snippet of the conversation, I assumed that Mr. Landry was a gossip, only to find out later that he was a doctor in the hospital where Mrs. Boudreaux was. He was pleading with us to visit Mrs. Boudreaux and offer blood donations for her upcoming surgery. I was mortified, having learned this later.
According to the social psychology theory, individuals make first impressions based on traits, beliefs, and non-verbal cues from people one meets. Aronson et al. (2019) state that one’s traits from birth or parenting help us interpret social cues. Some of these traits include openness and being sociable is part of these traits show individuals to be social. Flynn (2005) agrees with this, reiterating that non-verbal behavior adds to first impressions on individuals. Therefore, Mr. Landry’s silence when I walked into the room and continually talking about someone else’s condition without their consent triggered my perception that he was a gossip.
Increasing my reason for the first impression of Mr. Landry was his lack of eye contact on top of his silence when I walked into the kitchen (Flynn, 2005). As an adaptive response, Mr. Landry went silent because of his privileged status of revealing information to children that would later get conveyed in the proper channels.
Conclusively, Mr. Landry went silent and did not keep eye contact to remain confidential when I walked into the kitchen. However, my perception of this is that he was a gossip, furthering my first impression that was later in the day debunked when adequately explained.
Aronson, E., Wilson, T. D., Akert, R. M., & Sommers, S. R. (Eds.). (2019). Social psychology (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Flynn, F. J. (2005). Having an Open Mind: The Impact of Openness to Experience on Interracial Attitudes and Impression Formation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88(5), 816-826. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.526