I have a confession to make: I judge you on your appearance and outer physical qualities. How you’re dressed, the way you speak, the way you hold yourself. But my judgements are neutral — I simply use these qualities to understand what kind of person you are, outside of what you have told me or will tell me about yourself.
If you’re uncomfortable with people judging you by your physical appearance, you should probably know that everyone does. Everyone forms impressions about other people based on their outer qualities, whether they’re aware of it or not — over half of a person’s first impressions about another is based on what they can see and hear. And they’re not always wrong; much can be found out about a person based on their appearance.
A quick and common way for people to judge others is by clothing and dress, including accessories, make-up, and hairstyle. By assessing the choices a person makes in clothing and adornments, people can determine a person’s personality, self-image, and attitude towards the world.
Is a person outgoing and outwardly-focused? People with more extroverted personalities tend to wear brighter colors and flashier style of dress. Introverted personalities are more likely to wear muted colors and styles of clothing — usually nothing too eye-catching or trendy. People who are outwardly-focused tend to pay much attention to the brand of their clothing and whether their fashion is current.
Another way people judge others, but often don’t realize they do, is by their body movements and physical expressions. The way a person carries themselves and the expressions they make can be a strikingly right way of gauging who they are and what they like.
One study found that the extent to which a person is religious or not can be pinpointed by their body movements and facial expressions. People can also tell whether a person’s self-esteem is high, average, or low based on their spontaneous expressions and movements. And a person does not need to do or say much for these impressions to be made — a few seconds or even a photograph can tell the story.
Impressions based on physical appearance of course have their limits and can be inaccurate at times. A person’s outward appearance should never be used to decide their character or self-worth. But if you’re looking to get a fast impression, judging a book by its cover isn’t as wrong or misleading as its sometimes thought to be.