Beware of Having Visual Expectations

lifestyle style style tips visual expectations Feb 18, 2024

Have you ever had the experience of finally meeting that person with whom you’ve been chatting and getting to know over the phone or online and found yourself stunned by how their physical presence was NOT what you expected? I hear this a lot in the world of online dating. People represent themselves with older photos taken prior to losing or gaining weight (or hair!), the photo shop job is so good that all their wrinkles have somehow appeared between the time of seeing the online photo and meeting them in person (sometimes only a matter of weeks!), or perhaps they have lots more or less weight than you’d expected.


I tell the following story from the perspective of how one’s expectations can be a set up for disappointment: 


Years ago I was selling software to the manufacturing industry. An out of town client with whom I’d been speaking for months planned to fly into San Francisco to meet with me.  I should qualify the part about having been speaking to him for months. We’d actually sort of been flirting. His deep resonant voice was one of broadcast quality and his manner was one filled with kind consideration peppered with good humor. Being single and in my 20’s, I admit I’d been fantasizing that there might be more relationship possibilities for us than that of client/sales rep. He’d even faxed me his curriculum vitae in which there was a black and white photo of him looking very handsome with dark hair.


As I left for the airport to pick him up my secretary gave me a knowing look and a thumbs up, with a nod to his perhaps being the tall, dark and handsome guy of my dreams. 


I had informed him what type of car I’d be driving, that I would be wearing a silver toned suit (only an image consultant would remember what she was wearing decades ago!), and that I look Italian. He said simply, “I’ll be wearing a gray suit”. 


I should have read between the lines when I asked him how I’d know who he was, given we hadn’t yet met. But, I’d seen his photo, hadn’t I? Back then, in the mid 1980’s, it was not yet possible to research someone in advance of meeting them as we can so easily do via the internet now. 


Imagine my surprise when I found myself towering over a short, extremely stout gray haired man who was smiling at me with hand outstretched and saying hello in that very familiar, deep voice. He was handsome and wearing a gray suit…


After a very nice lunch meeting we headed for the office. The look on my secretary’s face as she fled the room upon our entrance, definitely reflected my feelings; surprise and some disappointment. 


In my role as an image and lifestyle makeover consultant, I teach women and men how to show up in the world in a way that is consistent with their level of leadership and their expertise. While this man could not help that he was short, there might have been a possibility of at least doing whatever it might take to lose the 75 or so extra pounds he was carrying on his not more than 5’6” frame. Or, to perhaps warn me that the photo I had of him was more than a little dated-and that his hair was no longer dark.


I’d love to hear your stories about how your expectations might have wreaked havoc in your relationships.

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