Whether we like it or not, having a car can have a major effect on our lives. For example, if you have a car, you can get to work on time, run your errands, and go just about anywhere you desire. But have you ever thought about what your car says about you? Can the car that you drive affect the image that you portray to the outside world and even yourself?
First impressions go a long way
Let’s face it, the way that you dress and present yourself says a lot to anyone that you come in contact with on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s someone that you’re formally meeting with for the first time or just a simple passerby, your appearance goes a long way when it comes to making a first impression. Apparently, so does your car.
And while you might not care that you drive a beat-up 1997 Hyundai Accent since it gets you from point A to B without any hiccups, just as it has done for the past 10 years, the client that you’re meeting for coffee who is sitting in outside patio of the coffee shop as you pull into the parking lot might have some initial thoughts about it. No, you’re probably not going to lose a deal, or lose a friend, because of the car that you’re driving, but that trusty Accent could either make you look pragmatic, or very cheap.
Unfortunately, there are stereotypes
The reason for these first impressions is that there are stereotypes within this world we live in. For example, if you do drive an older commuter car that’s seen better days, then people around you may think that you’re either strapped for cash or very frugal. If you drive a pickup truck, then people may think that you work in construction or are a farmer, or perhaps an egotistical “bro.”
And if you drive a minivan, then, unfortunately, the soccer mom stigma will always prevail. It’s an unfortunate situation, and although most people don’t care about what others think of their cars, there will always be a judgment in some form.
Cars are an extension of ourselves
This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and buy a luxury car or sports car to make yourself look better to the outside world. However, a study at Temple University did show that the way we perceive the cars that we drive does have an effect on our psyche. More specifically, if we perceive our cars as an extension of ourselves, then it will even affect the way that we drive.
That is to say that if you drive a sports car, then you’re more likely to drive faster and more aggressively. And if you drive a luxury car, then you’re more likely to have higher self-esteem and a sense of confidence. Whatever the case is, we suggest driving the car that fits you and your lifestyle the best.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts
At the risk of sounding cliché, it’s what on the inside of the car that counts. No, not the dirty interior that’s riddled with coke bottles, old mail, and perhaps some scattered CDs that you never took out. We mean you.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which car you drive and what you do with it. And while others may have their perceptions of you based on the set of wheels that you’re driving around in, your car really is an extension of you.
So, if you do indeed drive a beat-up Hyundai, or a lifted pick-up truck, or even a minivan, own it. In the end, it really doesn’t matter, because cars are meant to take you from point A to B anyway. Also, if your car’s interior really is dirty, then clean it, you’ll feel better about yourself in the end.