Here's Proof That First Impressions Mean Nothing

Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Whether we're going on a first date or trying to nail a job interview, we're told over and over again that first impressions can make or break how we're perceived. A 2006 study even suggested that first impressions are just as irreversible as they are instant. It may sound like something out of a rom-com or an after-school special, then, to say that we can be wrong about our first impressions of others. But, in fact, we have 30 stories from the good people of Reddit that prove just that.

We combed through dozens of threads from the AskReddit and AskWomen subreddits to find the greatest anecdotes of friendships and romantic relationships that blossomed out of not-so-great introductions.

From awkward work situations to major misunderstandings, these stories are a great reminder that we're not always right about people from the get-go. As corny as it may sound, many people deserve a second glance, even if you think they're boring or spoiled — or even if they try to start a fight with you at a nightclub. (Seriously, some of these stories have major twists.)

Click through to read real-life stories of bad first impressions that took a turn for the better.
1 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"One of my former co-workers. She was in customer care, I joined the marketing team, and one of my first tasks was to create a more 'human note' for our website. Asked our customer care team for pictures (voluntarily, nobody was forced to attend). She told me in a really bitchy way that I wouldn't get her picture, ever.

"Fast-forward three months, she's promoted to assistant PR manager, moves into my office. After awkward five minutes, I tell her I thought her move sucked, we talk it off, go for a beer after work, now she's my best friend since six years."

-Reddit user Godless-life
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2 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My first impression of my best friend was one of deep-seated suspicion. Why was this person talking to me? What did he want from me? What was he planning? It took a long time and some consistent, if odd, fair treatment on his part for me to accept that he legitimately had friendly intentions."

-Reddit user JacobGreyson
3 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I was in a nightclub with my friend. We were on the dance floor. Out of nowhere, this girl flies at my friend, trying to slap her in the face. I managed to stop her, and I led her to the ladies' toilets to get her to calm down.

"Turns out, it was a case of mistaken identity and she apologized to my friend. We had a drink as a sign of peace, and within weeks, we were best buddies."

-Reddit user niamhish
4 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"Well, my current, and hopefully always, best friend met me when his dad was [my] boss. We were only like nine or 10, and my dad wanted me to have a play date with his boss' son so he could fall on the boss' good graces. When I first met him, I hated him. He was a nerd, addicted to airplanes, and he was a bit...stuck-up. Soon enough, I realized that I would be spending my vacations with the fool, who happened to go on vacations to the same place I did. As the years went by, I began acting more mature and began developing an interest in politics, history, and economics. Not a normal thing for a 14-year-old to like. But my best friend was also into that stuff, so we became more close, and gradually we became best friends."

-Reddit user WeirdLibertarianKid
5 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"First day of 9th grade at my new school. The girl who was assigned to show me around. My first impression was, 'Ew. Preppy popular, annoying cheerleader type. Don't like her.' She is now one of my best friends. In fact, she became my best friend about a month after we met. Basically, she gave me no choice in being her friend, and I couldn't be more glad she did."

-Reddit user punkpixzsticks
6 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I don't know if it was a really bad first impression, but when I first would see my best friend around the dorms freshman year, he was always stoned out of his mind and seemed like he didn't have a lot going on upstairs. He was a biology major and I was chemical engineering, but then sophomore year, he was transferring into chemical engineering, so he was in a few of my classes. Come junior year, we had a class on presenting and technical writing and had to form groups, so we grouped up just because we recognized each other and at least knew each other's names. Turns out, he was smarter than me and one of the smartest people in the class that year. He did pre-med at the same time as chemical engineering, and is now in med school. He partied like an absolute animal throughout college, but knew how to tone it back when he needed to for class. Turns out, the reason he was high all of freshman year was because the classes were too easy and he was bored."

-Reddit user SOwED
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7 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"When I first met my now-best friend, I thought she was a total ice queen. She was very reserved and seemed extremely snotty. Luckily, I didn't write her off, because we became insta-buddies within a few weeks, and now can't go a day without talking to each other. Turned out that we have a tremendous amount in common and she's just guarded around new people."

-Reddit user accidentswaitingwait
8 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"Met my best friend my senior year of high school. I got dragged into joining the dance team, and he was a member. We started hanging out a lot, and then we both were cast in the musical...

"Anybody who's done dance or theater knows how closely to bond with people during a show. We've been best buds since 2008, and when I get married, he's going to be my best man."

-Reddit user Valenkrios
9 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"About 12 years ago, I met a guy at a speech and debate workshop. He got up to present in one of the classes, and I immediately decided he was an asshole and I wanted nothing to do with him. Any time he tried to speak to me at tournaments, I would be polite, but I'd try to get away quickly.

"Then, one day, we ended up talking in a larger group of people. It was this interaction that made me realize he was super nice, funny, and a great person. We've been close friends ever since then. That first impression has become a running joke between us. Whenever he does something obnoxious, I just laugh and say, 'I guess I was right about you.'"

-Reddit user PandorasTrunk
10 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I have a friend who, when we first met, said some homophobic shit. I called him on it, and he said it's a part of himself that he really hates and sees it as a personal flaw, and asked for my help explaining LGBTQ issues.

"We are still friends. Everyone has blind spots, and lord knows I've said some ignorant shit over the years, and I'm grateful to everyone who called me out and showed me a different way. I'm more than willing to pay it forward."

-Reddit user dangerzone133
11 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My family and I were moving to India just over five years ago. We were in the airport in Frankfurt, about to board our flight to Chennai, when my brother and I noticed some dude with his family boarding the same flight. We looked at each other and scoffed. 'He's got to be a douche,' my brother says. I admit now there was nothing particularly off about him. Typical American teenager, I guess. But I agreed with my brother's assessment, judgmental ass that I am, and that was that.

"Turns out, he was our next-door neighbor, moving there the same time we were. Cool-ass dude. We were all the best of friends for the two years we lived there and still keep in touch. I love that guy."

-Reddit user GreatDayForGuinness
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12 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"One of my good friends is over five years younger than me. At first, I didn't like her because she hung out with this group of girls who were all catty, boring, and just typical young college airhead types. But when I worked with her and got to know her, I realized she is just a nice person who gets along with everyone, and we have the exact same sense of humor. She's one of those people you hang around with, do absolutely nothing with, and still have the best time of your life."

-Reddit user sanbernadoo
13 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I started working at a restaurant in college, and immediately started butting heads with this one girl. It seemed like anything I was excited about doing, she'd reply with 'Oh, I've done that, and it kind of sucks. Lame.' (Ex: a music festival). To start, I was trying to be nice just because I just started at that job and didn't want to piss anyone off, but eventually, I was so fed up that I started being nasty back. This went back and forth for a few months, until one day she ended up with an extra ticket to a Dead show because someone bailed last-minute, and I got a phone call from her asking me if I'd like to go because she knew I was into music. I agreed (hell, it was a free show, can't pass that up, no matter who the company is), and after the three-hour drive out to the show, we've been best friends ever since. Lesson learned: I'm horrible at first impressions and I need to keep my mouth shut until I get to know someone. We joke about it now though."

-Account has been deleted
14 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My best friend's mom was our seventh grade assistant principal, I met him about a week after she took up my phone and gave me detention. I figured he was a kiss-ass, because his mom was the principal, but now, eight years later, I realize how crappy it was to have a mom who was the principal, and now we're best friends and his mom is like my second mom."

-Reddit user POTUS5
15 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"This girl I thought was the biggest bitch in middle school and the beginning of high school. We started to bond over little things, and now, six years later, she's my best friend. I thought she was a bitch, because she was confident and I genuinely was not, so I thought she was cocky and arrogant, when really I was just jealous of her confidence in herself. Once we started to become friends, she really helped me build up confidence in myself, and to this day, she's the best support system I have. I call her on the bad days when I need to cry and on the good days when everything was perfect and I just need to tell her. Same thing with her. Great friendship."

-Reddit user somethingcreative24
16 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I once met a girl at school whom I considered the most unassuming, vanilla, unremarkable person I'd ever met at the time. My friends formed a similar impression, tagging her as a shy, moderately religious type who'd do anything to go unnoticed. Six weeks later, apropos of nothing, she asked for my phone number and began to send me the most salacious, outrageous text messages I'd ever received. It was only when a friend of hers mentioned seeing the messages on her phone that I could even believe they actually came from her."

-Reddit user BrooklynNets
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17 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My senior year of high school, I'd recently started dating this guy I met at a party. We were at another party, about a month after we'd started dating, when someone tells me this girl is looking for me, and right about this time, the guy I was dating disappeared (I thought he went to the restroom). I went into the living room to see what she wanted, and she is furious, telling me how she's going to kick my ass and whatnot. Now, I'm really confused. I have no idea who this chick is or why she's got a hate on for me. Then she tells me that she's been with the guy I'm dating for two years and reiterated that she was going to kick my ass. I said, 'Why? I'm not your boyfriend, and didn't even know you existed until three minutes ago. Shouldn't you kick his ass? I know I damn sure want to.' She paused, looking at me for a minute, then we both burst out laughing. Meanwhile, the guy had vacated the building.

"Not only did we end up great friends, but we were roommates for almost a year, starting about a week after that night when she moved out of the place she'd been living in with him."

-Reddit user sweetmercy
18 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My best friend used to also be my worst enemy; we hated each other. When we were seven, we went pine-coning with Girls Rally and we were traveling [in] the same car...she offered me some strawberry Hubba Bubba. We've been best friends ever since."

-Reddit user My_redditor_gf
19 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"When I started university, there was this one girl who came off as totally fake. She was tiny and blonde and over-the-top positive about everything. Also, she had this babe-image going on, with all everything shiny and pink and furry. So I kinda dismissed her in my head, thinking she was superficial. [I] was certain her positivity was a facade, because no one can be THAT FREAKIN' POSITIVE. Luckily, I kept those thoughts to myself, because [she and] her friends ARE the most positive people I know. She is awesome and she is SO FREAKING NICE to everyone, and I'm lucky that we became friends.

"Also, that was how I became aware about the stereotypes I was believing in, and [how I was] able to change that."

-Reddit user kjk25
20 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"The roommate I got paired up with earlier this year for college seemed like she was going to be really sociable, outgoing, and preppy. So basically the exact opposite of who I am, but she's actually a total nerd. Now we do drugs and play video games together.

"Never judge a book by its cover, I guess."

-Reddit user kanjobanjo17
21 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"In class, I was always annoyed by this pre-med student. In my mind, most (if not all) pre-med students were well-to-do and extremely competitive. Always asking how I did on that exam, or asking questions that they already knew answers to in class (to seem smart). This one guy did all of that.

"When I got stuck with him in a study group, he actually was very nice and helped me photocopy something and made sure I got to my bus stop in time. I felt bad for letting my first impression last that long. Now, we regularly study together."

-Reddit user genemethylation
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22 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"[The first thing I thought about my best friend was] 'I bet this kid is terrible at Smash Brothers.' Little backstory: I was about 11 at the time, he was 13, and we were both really into Super Smash Brothers Melee. A mutual friend told us both that the other was really good and had us play. He kicked my ass, and I hated his guts for it. We hung out pretty much every day because I was determined to beat him. Once we were on equal footing, we started playing Halo and a bunch of other games together and just kind of decided we were friends at that point. Been best friends for a little over 12 years now, still hyper-competitive with each other, still love Smash, and loving Smash 4!"

-Reddit user Vexatious
23 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"A coworker of mine and I didn't get along at first when she started. We were in different departments, but had to work closely together on a very regular basis. For whatever reason, we were just constantly butting heads. I can't remember the exact reason, but there was this one day where her boss was giving her hell for some reason (unjustly so), and it was impacting me as well. We kind of bonded over having this common enemy that day. After that, we had a non-verbal truce, and actually became very good friends!"

-Reddit user aricberg
24 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"My current closest friend and I used to hate each other to death. I don't know why, we just did. Eventually, we discovered something. There is someone that we hated more than each other, and that person was the same guy for the both of us. We suddenly became best friends after that.

"The phrase 'an enemy of my enemy is my friend' is actually true I guess."

-Reddit user PublicEnemyNumber-1
25 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"[I ended up befriending] my husband's first wife. I didn't like her initially, because of that fact. He never had anything bad to say about her, except they were just good friends, who shouldn't have gotten married. They had no children, but they worked together. So, it was a little bit intimidating...until I met her. I was at a work party with him and she was there. I felt like all eyes were on us to see how it would play out, so I just thought I would avoid her. She finally just marched up to me and said, 'Hey, Aunti-M! I'm *****. I know this is weird, but I just thought I'd introduce myself, since this is so awkward.' We both laughed and I instantly liked her.

"My husband got sick shortly after getting married and finally had to stop working. When we were in the hospital, the last time, for a month, she would check in with me to see how he was doing. I told her I knew it was hard for her too, she just couldn't show it, because she was remarried. She called me one day to let me know that someone who was close to my husband had contacted her and was trying to find a will...before me. If I had not been friends with her, I would have never known and been able to stop the meddling. I would have been financially devastated after his illness, if they had been successful."

-Reddit user Auntie-M
26 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I met this girl at the beginning of first year, and I thought she was a total square. I was 'so cool,' got good grades without trying, and partied every night.

"She scheduled her schoolwork and completed it all, had a bedtime of 9 p.m., and attended all her classes. She was on the national debate team and wore 'power suit' type clothes. Turns out, she's hilarious, really adventurous, driven, and everything else I needed in my life, and now we're best friends."

-Reddit user megawalelord
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27 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I moved right before I went to high school, so I didn't know a soul.

"I made some friends [and] found a girl who seemed interested in me. But there was this one kid in my classes who was just a douchebag. We had virtually all our classes together.

"On paper, we seemed like we could be friends. So I guess [I] went out of my way to be nice to him. I killed that guy with kindness. And after a few weeks, he would laugh at my jokes and he would converse with me. I'm now 29, and whenever I'm in town, I go out of my way to hang out with him. He is one of maybe three kids I still hang out with from high school.

"I later found out he was a dick because he'd had a crush on the girl I was flirting with for years, and I was swooping in and stealing his girl. We laughed at it later because neither of us dated her long-term or anything, and our friendship became much stronger than that."

-Reddit user BringerOfDestruction
28 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"[I ended up being wrong about] my current girlfriend. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and was going through a lot of stress when I first started talking to her. Thought she was crazy. After getting to know her, I figured out she's just incredibly sweet and takes things very seriously. Things get to her and she doesn't like to vent because she doesn't want to come off [as] annoying or needy. And there's no one else I'd rather listen to ramble for hours."

-Reddit user HopelesslyLibra
29 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"In middle school there was this guy who walked over to me, stole my book, dumped yogurt on it, and punched me in the face. All unprovoked. We went to the principal's office and talked it out. I decided I liked the way he thought, and later we became really good friends."

-Reddit user PinheadXXXXXX
30 of 30
Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
"I met my best friend through my boyfriend at the time. They were best friends, and honestly, I hated him at first. He's 15 years older than me and is honestly the most effortless cool person I've ever met. He's a very opinionated person who can come across as pretentious and a bit of a dick until you realize he actually genuinely doesn't give a fuck about what anyone aside from his friends think of him. It took a while, but now I fucking love him — unfortunately, in every sense of the word, which isn't quite reciprocated... Still, we've been through heaps together and we completely adore each other now."

-Reddit user SalesPrevention
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