some simple ingredients for a good first impression.

by ty

written for our school publication, yep.

Written from the perspective of an awkward individual, should be taken with a pinch of salt (because if used unsparingly, the other party might feel assalted.)

In first meetings and static conversations, a slice of all-nighters cannot be missed. And it’s importance becomes apparent when we picture ourselves trying to survive a conversation after having barely two hours of sleep, we realize that we run the risk of slurring in our words and nodding off, or perhaps, having our heads droop far enough to have a little dip in the plate of pasta, or cake, we’re having. Of course, a huge effect of nodding off would be quickly linked to being rude, and not catching whatever the other party’s saying. Definitely, we wouldn’t want to doze off midway and wake up to frosting clinging to our noses and groggily bidding farewell to your acquaintance with a “Goodbye, Tinky-Winky!” when the person’s name was clearly Jon, just because you had a short dream of your favourite cartoon character.

As a mandatory precaution against awkwardness, keep a cup of puns close. I once read a literary piece about using puns and pickup lines on someone behind the checkout counter of the supermarket in which his choice of words matched the items he had placed on the counter. An example would include buying a block of extra sharp cheddar cheese and saying, “you’re sharp as cheddar,” and having the poor soul behind the counter splutter to an embarrassing stop with a cucumber in hand when he says “If you were a vegetable, you’d be a cutecumber.” Of course this would vary, depending on whether you’re in a supermarket or not, and it’s important to remember that puns aren’t limited to pickup lines. Additionally, don’t fret if you can’t come up with your own puns because if you happen to be caught up with coming up with nice ways to spark conversations in the library and walk into a shelf – and if a book falls onto your head, you’ve only got yourshelf to blame.

Something I find truly amazing is the innate ability to smile bright enough to give someone migraines on a Monday morning – and for those without the gift of beaming at 8AM, we find the need to have a shot of sunshine. The top of the list when searching for benefits of smiling is undoubtedly the release of endorphins, but that’s not the only advantage of smiling. It’s been proven in studies that smiles make individuals seem more likeable, confident, conscientious and stable – even if the smile’s faked. Eventually, we’ve got to come to terms to the fact that a smile does more than it seems to, and it’s contagious. Afterall, it’s always more desirable to talk to someone who’s enthusiastic and grinning about the topic than someone who’s eyebrows are knitted tightly into a deep frown. Of course, migraines in the morning was a metaphor – because no one would appreciate starting the day with a splitting headache.

The last topping comes in the form of a bowl of confidence-flakes. (Or should I say, corn-fidence flakes.) Given that one’s gotten through staying awake, smiling and setting the ball rolling – what’s left is keeping the conversation going. Rather than falling into embarrassment or a lack of confidence and speaking gibberish, it’s important to have the confidence to speak well and come up with witty replies which could, of course, include puns or jokes. The key’s to find the equilibrium point, because in the comparison of stuttering quietly against embarking on an overly-enthusiastic one-sided beatbox battle involving the other party finding a need to cover his face or the food with his trembling hands, the former might seem a tad bit better.

Alas, what’s left is to drop all of these ingredients nicely onto a befitting porcelain plate, in which the aesthetics might not matter as much as we think it does – don’t judge a book by it’s cover, they all say, so it shouldn’t be all that different when it comes to food. Of course, that shouldn’t apply to people as well. Something neat and tidy, like placing the carrots away from the curry topping of the Japanese rice would suffice.

It isn’t all that hard (in theory).

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