Labels, everyone use them on everyone else. Even when we know better, even when we don’t want to label anyone. It’s a part of the get-to-know-you process. You get the first impression and you give the person a label, not necessarily something negative. A label can be things like funny, loud, shy, active, animated and calm as well as things like spoiled, rude and aggressive. A label is not a bad thing, in and for itself; it’s what happens after you have labeled someone that’s important.

A lot of the time you label people who pass you by, people you will never know anything about. Those labels don’t really mean much, as long as you know that the label might be wrong and that it’s only the tip of the iceberg on a personality. Labels you put on people that you get to know, means more. In these circumstances you often get to experience how little a label really matters; the first impression really is just the beginning. It’s kind of self-explanatory, isn’t it? First impression – beginning? Unfortunately quite a few doesn’t seem to get it.

People who start an acquaintance based on a first impression are sometimes in for a surprise, and sometimes they have gotten it right from the start. First impression isn’t a good method to measure someone, but that does not mean it’s always wrong either. It’s the tip of the iceberg, but it’s also the part of a personality that you see over the water. It might very well be the defining trait in a person. You can’t know for sure before you know the person.

Some years ago I gave up trying not to label people I saw on the street or that I met. It’s a habit that’s hard to break, and it’s unnecessary to try. Instead of not labeling people, I always remind myself that I might be wrong, that I’m most likely wrong, and even if I’m right, I don’t know everything about this person. I label, but I do not judge.

I do not judge, because when all is said and done, the only label worth mentioning is human.

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