“You never know who knows who, and you never know when, and with whom, you may be in direct relationship with…” looms large not only in non-tangible regards (character, morals, values, etc.), but it holds ground in tangible regards as well. In relation to the five senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch), how people (including yourself) perceives you can potentially have a major impact on your relationships and the people within them.
Sight – Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s easier said than done, and, most likely, people (subconsciously, at the least) will cast a judgment of you based off your appearance. It doesn’t matter if the person has no idea of who you are or if they have known you for twenty years, a person’s brain will register what it sees and formulate some sort of preconceived assumption, assessment, notion, and/or conclusion. For example, suppose you are generally well-dressed on a daily basis. On one particular day, you decide to run some errands without changing out of your lounging-around-your-house clothes. While running these errands, two people see you: one that knows you and another, who is a complete stranger. The stranger may conclude that you are a dirty and lazy person. The familiar person’s analysis may be more in depth. They may conclude that you might be going through a phase of depression and decided not to dress in your normal self. Though the two assessments may be a little extreme, the concept isn’t. People will presumptuously (and most likely, subconsciously) perceive you to be something that you actually are (or aren’t) based on your outward appearance.
Sound – There are two primary facets of your voice that can impact perception: tone and volume. Tone encompasses the attitudes towards a subject and/or an audience and it gives reference to pitch and strength. Tones can be serious, somber, guilty, playful, jolly, stern, arrogant, or many other attitudes. The tone used in what one says can affect the mood of the hearer/listener, with mood being the general feeling that is created within the hearer. If your tone of voice consistently creates a particular mood within someone, then it is possible that they may perceive you be a particular type of person that is related to that particular tone. Volume simply relates to how loud (or soft) you speak; ultimately, you could be perceived as a loud or soft-spoken person. However, when tone and volume are combined, perceptions can have unlimited variances. For example, a person who speaks with high volume and an arrogant tone could easily be perceived as a rude or condescending person; whereas a person who speaks with the same volume but with a jolly tone could easily be perceived as a happy or edifying person. At times, the sound of your voice can be the most vital factor in a person’s perception-determining process.
Smell – The assessments from a person’s smell are probably the least complicated of all the senses. If you have a bad smell, then you have an odor. If you have a good smell, then you have an aroma. Odors are usually synonymous to dirtiness, whereas aromas are synonymous to cleanliness. However, an aroma can have the same effect as an odor if the aroma is overbearing (e.g. wearing too much cologne). Smell is important within relationships because it affects the physical closeness of relationships. No one wants to be close to someone who smells bad. For one, the person who smells bad is seen as unclean (at the least). Secondly, smells influence peoples’ mental focus, where odors have a negative impact.
Taste – Taste within relationships are generally reserved for those of an intimate nature (e.g. husband/wife and boyfriend/girlfriend), and if a person’s taste is unpleasant, then an increase in physical distance may result from it. Dirty, sweaty skin can leave an undesirable aftertaste from a kiss on the cheek or the hand. When having a traditional mouth-to-mouth kiss, the same can result from sub-par teeth brushing habits, smoking, alcohol consumption, consumption of pungent food/beverages, or a combination of the fore mentioned. Physical closeness is usually less desirable when unpleasant tastes are consistent.
Touch – Along with taste, touch within relationships are generally reserved for those of an intimate nature. Touch is the one sense that does not have an effect on the other senses; however, it can be drastically affected by one (or all) of the other senses. An unpleasant appearance, sound, smell, and/or taste can cause a lack of touching within intimate relationships, whereas the exact opposite can occur when the senses are affected in a pleasant and appealing manner.
In relation to the five senses, there is a single, common denominator that will always sway the balance of one’s outward (physical) perception: cleanliness. Being cognizant and proactive in the upkeep of one’s cleanliness can increase their value and empower the perception that others have of them within their relationships, with minimal effort needed.