Every day I come across many different people who make certain impressions of me based on how I present myself to them. Since I am a full time student and live on campus with four other suitemates, I mainly have to present myself to my teachers, classmates, and roommates. There are other people I come across during a typical day, but my roommates are the main people in my everyday life right now that I focus on making their impressions of me the best they can be.
I would never want someone to have a bad impression of me, so I do whatever I can to make sure their impression is a good one. I always try to present myself the way I feel I should in a certain situation to present a good image of myself, or impression management. I have to live with three other girls that I just met the beginning of the semester. In order to have a good living environment, we all try our best to get along. When we first met, first impressions were immediately made based on observational characteristics we all had. No matter how nice one of us might be, typically if one of us was wearing all black, dark make up, tattoos, piercings, and their hood up, it’s likely we would get a negative first impression of them because of stereotypes.
My first impressions of my new roommates were actually very positive. Based on their appearance we seemed to have some things in common. But now that we are no longer making first impressions of each other, there are other things we do to maintain our impression management. I am still getting to know my roommates so the last thing I want is them to notice negative qualities I have. So I try my hardest to make my positive qualities more noticeable when we interact. For example, I always clean up after myself around our dorm.
I also try my best to be polite to my roomates. I would never use any of their things without asking first. This gesture is much appreciated and helps maintain my impressions they have of me. The language I use when speaking to my roomates is always very nice and understanding. Instead of being rude and yelling at my roomates, I calmly talk to them about things. That way there are no problems.
There are many times where managing my impressions my roommates have of me is difficult and sometimes when it is easy. Like I said my roommates and I are still getting to know each other, so unlike some of my best friends that I have known for years, I am still working on managing their impression of me. Whenever I am around my old friends and my roommates at the same, it makes this process of managing my roommate’s impression of me more difficult.
My friends might tell a story of something I did, or act in a certain way that I might not want my roommates to hear or see. It’s harder for me to keep my positive qualities the most noticeable in that situation. That being said, whenever it is just my roommates and I, managing their impressions is much easier. No one is around to reveal something negative I have done or bring out any negative traits I have. All I have to focus on his myself behaving the way I want to behave around my roommates in order to maintain the positive impression they have of me.
My backstage time is important in these different situations because I always need a down time when I don’t have to worry about impressing anyone. I use this time to get myself together and relax. If I didn’t have this backstage time, I would feel under pressure all the time.
I used to be an employee at Arizona Steak House in Greenville just last year. In order to get the job I had to have an interview with the manager and explain why I would be good for the job and tell a little about myself. In this situation where I was competing against others to get the position, I made sure I left a positive impression with the manager. I told him all about my previous job experiences, showed him recommendations from previous employers, and much more. With all this impression management I did I was able to get the job. One week at work I requested a day off. I told my manager it was for a college tour, but that wasn’t exactly what it really was. I was going to visit one of my family friends at USC and go to the game that day.
On my defense, it was my first time being on campus and seeing how students live but it wasn’t technically and official college tour. When I went back to work the next week my manager confronted me about how another employee had tickets to the game that were two seats behind me. I didn’t lie about where I was going, but I should have clarified the type of “tour” I would be getting. I explained the situation to my manager and he understood but let me know that I should have just told the whole truth instead of making it seem like I was doing something else.
When my word was discredited it was embarrassing, but overall the situation was fine in the end and I was still able to keep my job. But next time I asked for a day off, my manager made sure my reasoning for the day off was exactly accurate.
Presentation of self is important in everyday life. Every situation you are in where there are others around you, they are making impressions of you. Whether you know it or not, impressions based on your gender, race, age and overall appearance are being made. But once you begin to manage your impressions by using certain language or altering your physical appearance for a certain situation, people’s impression of you might be more of what you want it to be thanks to your presentation of self. Once someone has a certain impression on you, it is often hard to change. That’s why being able to present yourself the way you want others to view you and manage these impressions made on you in any situation, difficult or easy, is important in everyday life.