Why Shoes, Hair & Handshake Tell You Everything

(3 minutes read)

First impressions tell us everything. Even though we sometimes like to think otherwise; (usually when we screw one up ourselves) all in all, what we think we know about someone after the first 30 seconds of meeting them, more often than not proves itself to be true. Instinctively, we’re hardwired to make an incredibly accurate assessment of people and their intentions towards us within seconds of meeting them. Studies consistently show this to be true, and if I were an Evolutionary Biologist or an Anthropologist I would continue on with some data and some facts to expand my point. But i’m not; i’m a Barber, so i’ll tell you some of the things experience has taught me on why shoes, hair and handshake tell you everything.

Our footwear gives away far more about our personality than what you might think. Are they clean? Are they worn? Are they tasteful? These small; seemingly insignificant details give the world a view into how we make decisions on a daily basis. A man whose shoes have been shined everywhere apart from the backs tells us he shined them whilst wearing them. Good presentation is therefore an afterthought, not a habit. Are they damaged and showing a lack of care? Our footwear is essential to every part of our life, we don’t leave the house without shoes on and to think of the emphasis the military puts on taking care of our feet and footwear: a soldier with no shoes is a useless one and a danger to his comrades. A man with worn shoes is showing a disregard to an essential part of his wardrobe and at that, the most practical part. Does this mean the same lack of attention will be a pattern throughout other areas of his life?

Of course hair is an important part of who we are. It’s the equivalent to wearing your favourite outfit 24/7. You carry it around everywhere with you and it’s at eye level, so it’s easily one of the first things people will notice. Is it maintained regularly? Do you know how to style it properly? Does it look well crafted by an experienced stylist? Subconsciously the people we meet will be making these assessments of us and be developing an idea of what kind of person we are from it. A man with refined grooming habits projects the level of self respect necessary to make a good first impression. Too little effort on maintenance and we may appear lazy, too much and we may appear self indulgent.

The handshake is the ultimate giveaway into a man’s character. We’re all taught by our parents from a young age to “give a strong handshake and make good eye contact”. Why? Because this projects confidence. We have all met someone for the first time, reached out and grabbed their hand, to the surprise that it feels like were shaking a wet fish. Clammy, loose and disappointing to say the least. It hardly leaves us with the feeling that we can trust him. A year later we cross paths with this individual and it just so happens his wife has run away with his best friend and rinsed him dry for all he is worth. Our first thought is something along the lines of ‘why am I not surprised?’. This of course is an exaggerated scenario but good intuition isn’t a psychic ability. It’s something ingrained in us all. Thousands of years of evolution have made us incredibly good at judging a person’s character in seconds, our ancestors who weren’t so skilled in this area would have been manipulated and killed easily. Meaning their genetics didn’t make it this far.

It isn’t about being superficial and judging people, it’s about understanding how the mind works. We all make snap judgements of everyone we meet and likewise they make snap judgments of us. The better you understand how to make sense of these judgements; the more likely you are to ensure people get the right impression when you meet them. And in turn, you can develop the relationships you need for a fruitful life.