You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Well, the old Head ‘n Shoulders ad slogan turns out to be fairly true. While breaches of trust at any point in a relationship are damaging, recent research conducted by Ohio State’s Robert Lount Jr. and colleagues suggests that violations of people’s expectations early in the relationship are particularly difficult to overcome. Once people have developed a trusting relationship and there is a breach, oftentimes the person who was wronged will give the offending party a second chance (or more). We aren’t necessarily talking about catastrophic breaches of trust like cheating on one’s spouse, but rather things like not showing up for an appointment or meeting. An early wrong in a relationship, however, might destroy a relationship such that even acts of contrition cannot undo the damage. The moral of the story here is to try not to breach trust at all, and to be especially careful in the early stages of a relationship that you follow through on your end of things. You may not get a second chance to make it up.

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