If you came across as less-than-amazing on a first impression, you’re probably kicking yourself right now. By now, you probably realize the importance of a good first impression and the problems with making a bad first impression. If you’re looking to recover from a bad first impression, the first thing to do is stop crying over spilt milk. There’s no second chance to make a first impression, so now it’s time to move on and recover from a bad first impression by following these suggestions.
Don't assume the worst. Even though you might think that your first impression went horribly, don't assume that it did. You can't be sure that they thought poorly of you until it is confirmed, so try to look for positive aspects of the first impression and hope that they dwelled on those.
Apologize immediately. If you've done something to make a bad first impression, you'll want to apologize immediately. You may have to suck up your pride and call the person. Speaking face to face in these situations is much preferred to an email or through a friend. It will give you brownie points for addressing your ill-behaviors yourself. Don't go overboard and look like a fool by over-apologizing though. Just say what's necessary and mention that you hope you'll continue to maintain a good relationship with the person in the future.
Be yourself. One of the best ways to recover from a bad first impression is to be yourself. You likely got overcome by emotions during the first impression (anxiety, nerves, or fear) and so once you've got yourself under control, attempt to mend any wrongs you may have made. Perhaps this includes admitting to your weakness at making good first impressions, along with some reassurance that you've got good qualities.
Add a little humor. It helps if both of your can laugh off what happened to make the bad first impression. You might want to jokingly poke fun at the inappropriateness of your behavior. This will let the other person know that you recognize your error and give them the impression that you would never think of doing that again. Humor lightens to mood too, so when you feel like there is an appropriate spot for it in the conversation, it's good to slip it in.
Control future behavior. By now, you've probably recovered from the bad first impression, but you'll want to make sure that it doesn't happen again. For this reason, you're going to need to monitor your own behavior. Take steps not to make the same mistake twice by taking note of what went wrong during the first impression and make a point of never letter it happen again. Do some research on how to make a good first impression and this proactive behavior will likely bring to light what you were doing wrong.
It’s not always impossible to recover from a bad first impression, but it will take some work. You need to admit that you were in the wrong to both yourself and to the people you offended. Be yourself and reassure them that it won’t happen again. And make sure you take steps to ensure that you’ll never have to recover from a bad first impression again.