Comedian Rodney Dangerfield had a very famous catch line where he said, “I don’t get no respect.” While the comedian said this line to be funny, there are many people out there who actually feel this way every single day of their life. What is it that causes some people to be treated with more respect than others?
Well, in some instances it is the perception that people give others about them. As the saying goes, “it is the clothing that makes the man.” This means that when a person dresses well and when they make themselves look professional, other people are going to treat them as if they are professionals. When a person dresses respectably, others are going to treat them in a respectable manner. Why? Because humans are superficial. The decisions that humans make about others are usually based on what they can see with their eyes.
This explains why the well-dressed guy who lives down the block and is about as smart as a box of rocks has the high-paying job, the attractive girlfriend, and the successful life, whereas another individuals who might be more intelligent but dress sloppy are missing out on these things.
Behavioral scientists constantly comment on the fact that for humans the first impression is the strongest impression. People size one another up based on how they look and what they are wearing. The desire that humans have to evaluate one another and make immediate decisions about one another is strong, subconscious, and very emotional. Researchers have seen that people make impressions about another person based on how they are dressed in as little as 30 seconds. However, these impressions will stick with a person for up to five years.
So, what does this mean? Well, it means that the saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover” is not always true in human interaction. A man could be a great father and spend time with his children every single day playing games with their custom cornhole boards. However, if he dresses in a sloppy way or with a style that associates him with a fringe group of society, people’s first impression of him may not be the best.
Thankfully, humans are able to get past first impressions. The more we learn about a person and the more we see their qualities, we can change our first impressions and see them for who they really are.