Things People Judge You On Immediately

6 minute read

By Christopher Brown

We all want to make good first impressions. Whether you’re looking to impress a first date or stand out at an upcoming job interview, first impressions matter. Start a search today to learn everything you need to know about getting it right.

Nobody is perfect and you shouldn’t expect them to be. That said, a little bit of mindfulness coupled with a few minor lifestyle tweaks can impact your score on the first-impression-o-meter substantially. Let’s get into the details!


Clothing isn’t everything. It doesn’t define who you are as a person nor does it make up for unsavory behaviour. But, as far as first impressions go, it’s pretty darn important. Like it or not, your style choices dramatically impact how others perceive you.

That doesn’t mean you have to shell out big bucks for designer shoes and expensive handbags. A few minor adjustments can make a world of difference. Steer clear of wrinkled, dirty and poor fitting clothing and avoid showing too much skin.

Body Language

This conversation deserves more than just 100-or-so words. Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got time for. In short, body language is really, really important. Exhibiting positive signs through your body language (leaning while listening to someone talk, affirmative movements, slow-paced, calculated movements) makes people feel comfortable. In turn, exhibiting bad body language (crossing your arms, biting your nails, yawning) is a great way to push people away.


Cleanliness is next to godliness. Well, I don’t know about that. What I do know is that a dirty car, home, or workspace is usually considered judge-worthy. A disorganized mess of a workplace is often judged by co-workers to be a symptom of a much larger, much more disorganized problem. Take a few minutes each day to wipe down, organize, and clean your workspace. It doesn’t take long and it’ll help you focus.

Eye Contact

Nothing says, “I’m paying attention” more than good eye contact. Psychology Today has a great post detailing the many ways human beings utilize eye contact to communicate and the importance of eye contact for building meaningful bonds. In short, making good eye contact is perceived as confidence. In turn, avoiding eye contact is perceived as weakness and a lack of confidence. Do as you will but know this, you will be judged.


Visible, unconventional piercings are often viewed as anti-establishment and unprofessional. The stigma is slowly being chipped away with time, but if you have a nose ring, multiple piercings per ear or high gauge spacers in your ears, you’re going to be judged on it. As long as you’re comfortable in your skin and good at what you do, I say let them judge.


Tattoos are much more common than they used to be. Heck, my grandmother has one. But they’re still generally frowned upon in most white-collar workplaces. If you don’t want to be judged, cover up the visible tattoos with long sleeves and you should be fine. But again, much like visible piercings from the last page, embrace everyone else’s judginess and just do you!

Your Handwriting

It doesn’t take a handwriting expert to understand the significance of an individual’s writing style. Messy writing can mean poor time management while a neat and tidy scrawl signifies care, studiousness, and attention to detail. There’s much, much more to it than that. And I encourage you to dive in to the internet black hole that is graphology. Who knows? You may learn a little bit about yourself along the way.

Your Taste in Music

As a youngster, your taste in music defined who you were as a person. The rockers, the hip-hop heads, the ravers … music shaped your entire social circle! So, it’s only natural that adult-you be judged on your taste in music too. There are no tips here. I mean, who am I to tell you what to listen to? All I’m saying is, if you get caught at a red light belting Taylor Swift with the windows down, expect the attractive driver in the next lane (or the internet) to judge you for it.


Eating with your mouth open, interrupting conversations, or being obnoxiously loud can do some serious damage to a first-impression. You don’t need to live by all of the old-school dinner table rules, but you’re still expected to be respectful. Say please, say thank you, and don’t tuck your napkin in your shirt. Your parents aren’t cave-people and they certainly didn’t raise you to be one either.


Is there anything more distracting than body odor? It kills all meaningful conversation, it makes everyone in the vicinity uncomfortable, and it’s so easy to fix! Take a shower, lay off the powerful perfume, and maybe, just maybe, open a window when you’re frying your world-famous tilapia. If you stink, people will judge you for it.

Your Social Media Profiles

We’ve done it. We’ve turned judging people in to a quantifiable sport. That’s what social media is, isn’t it? Benefits and disadvantages aside, social media is a popularity contest where, day in and day out, you leave yourself open to the prying, judging eyes of your peers. Don’t damage your real-life reputation with unprofessional and unsavory Facebook posts. Behave or get judged for it.

How Often You Check Your Phone

At this point, our phones should be considered a 5th limb. If I don’t have my phone in my pocket, it’s because I left it at home accidentally. I’m not here to trash-talk phones. They’re practical ancillary tools that enhance our productivity. That is, unless they get in the way of meaningful real-life connections. If you’re addicted to your phone, people will judge you for it.

The Handshake

Perfecting the handshake is a lost art. Sure, it doesn’t mean as much as it used to back in the 60s, but knowing how to confidently shake a hand is still important. Don’t try to squeeze the other person’s hand in to submission. Don’t hold on for too long. Make eye contact. A confident handshake exudes confidence. A bad one gets judged.


Even before you introduce yourself, your posture says a ton about your confidence level. Raise your chin, roll your shoulders back, straighten your spine and bend your knees ever so slightly. Not only will you make your lower back happy, not only will you look and feel more confident, but you’ll also cross another item off of the proverbial judge list.


What’s worse than being painfully early? Always being late. Tardiness is a symptom of poor planning. Sure, the traffic was bad, you couldn’t find your keys, or something came up. Even if you do have a reasonable excuse for your lateness, you should expect to be judged for it. After all, while you’re stuck in traffic, searching for your keys, and hurdling that last-minute obstacle, the rest of us are waiting for and probably talking about you. And no, we aren’t complimenting your sunny disposition.

Where You Look When Drinking

File this one under the “odd truths” category. Studies suggest that where you look when drinking liquid from a glass can tell a lot about you as person. According to the study, introverts prefer to gaze deep in to the glass when taking a sip. Conversely, extroverts’ eyes wander upwards towards their surrounding environment.

How You Treat the Help

There’s nothing more uncomfortable than watching a colleague, friend, or family member berate the server, cleaning lady, cook, or any service staff member for that matter. How you treat the individuals tasked with taking care of you is a symptom of a much, much larger problem. If you tip poorly, are rude to service staff, or act superior to those “beneath you” than you should expect to be judged for it. And, rightfully so.

Your Ability to Listen

We’re allowed to get distracted. We’re allowed to zone out. It’s all part of being human. That being said, there’s nothing worse than talking to someone who’s CLEARLY not listening. Conversations are only as productive as your attention span. Listening is a skill that can be improved with practice. So put a little bit of work in and reap the benefits that come with more meaningful conversations.

Christopher Brown