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How to make a good first impression even when depressed

The way we present ourselves to others turns out to be quite important in how they perceive us. First impressions can last a long time in the other person’s memory. So, it’s a good idea to present yourself in the best light possible when meeting a person for the first time, in both the work world and in a social context. Sometimes we have time to prepare for meeting new people; other times we may be caught off guard, so be ready with these tips in hand.

Meeting a new person can be very difficult to do when depressed. You probably feel down, uninterested, don’t care, awkward, or sad and might think that nobody is interested in you. Who wants to smile and be charming when you feel that your world is crashing in around you? Who really cares about the other person and whether he feels comfortable meeting you when you are so depressed?  The fact is, most people feel awkward and self-conscious in these situations, so you are not alone.

The following are some recommendations to help you get started. Begin by choosing one or two, practice them, and then when you have found it easy to use them smoothly in your social interactions try to pick another one. The trick here is to try not to focus on yourself and your problems in these situations – think of the other person, getting to know him or her and putting him at ease.

Try to

Leave the house showered and well groomed, with clean, pressed, clothes that are appropriate for the occasion. This puts your best self forward and shows respect for the occasion. Get rid of the old stained sweat pants and tee shirts unless you are painting a house.

Smile. Treat the other person as you would want to be treated yourself. Use good manners and be polite. This is not hard to do regardless of your mood state.

Make eye contact.  This means that you periodically look at the other person directly in the eye. Be interested in what she/he has to say.

Try to stay positive in your comments and responses.

Ask open-ended questions and pay attention. Open-ended questions are the kind that require a thoughtful response from the other person, more than a simple yes/no answer. If you have the opportunity, prepare a few questions in your mind ahead of time to keep the conversation going.

Project confidence in your body language: sit up and stand straight with good posture; don’t slouch or fidget, play with your hair, clothes or bite your nails; do make eye contact; maintain a neutral, relaxed voice and demeanor; turn your cell phone to off or vibrate.

Relax and be yourself.

Stay well!

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