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5 Ways to Reverse a Bad First Impression

Hate at first sight leads to happily ever after. It's an old, familiar plot in literature (think Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet) and movies (Woody and Buzz Lightyear). But if you get off on the wrong foot with someone in the real world, can you turn things around? Five experts say yes.

By Kaitlyn Pirie
A woman with a lampshade over her headMonica Buck


Take a Deep Breath

Whether we're dating or going on a job interview, we tend to be nervous and excited—and therefore get in our own way. Last season on The Bachelor, Lindsay, one of the contestants, got caught up in the moment and ended up trying too hard: She arrived in a wedding dress to meet Sean and had a bit too much to drink. Sean wanted to get rid of her that first night. However, she realized that wasn't really her and regrouped. Then she almost won the whole thing. Of course, if you stay calm and true to yourself and still make a bad impression, maybe it just wasn't meant to be.

Chris Harrison is the host of the ABC series The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. He lives in Los Angeles.

Hold Still

When two people first meet, there may be some anxiety. One way they cope with that feeling is to fidget. Some toy with objects like pens and pencils. Women often twist and play with their hair. Fidgeting is simply a sign of nervousness, but unfortunately studies have found that people often interpret fidgeting to mean a person is untrustworthy. So if you engaged in restless movements the first time you met someone, lock your hands together on your lap in the future. Anything that reduces nervous hand movements will increase the chance that you'll be perceived favorably.

Paul Ekman, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California in San Francisco and the author of 13 books, including Emotions Revealed: Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life ($17,

See more tips for bouncing back from a bad first impression, then avoid this problem in the future with five tips for making a good first impression.

Read More About:Life Strategies

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