Have you ever heard of the “halo effect?” I read an article recently that spoke about how we make an initial judgment when we first meet someone.
“The halo effect occurs when an initial judgment unconsciously colors our perception of the individual as a whole. Observing an initial feature—perhaps beauty or strength—creates a halo around the person, making it difficult to revise that impression based on new or opposing information.”
The short excerpt below is from that first moment when the hero and heroine in Warlock from Wales encounter each other and experience this “halo effect.” It’s the moment when the hero decides, will I stay or walk away?
“Are you hiding, too?” a woman asked.
He jerked, hand clenching the handle for a quick getaway. A figure stepped out of the shadows and into the pale light cast by garden lanterns. She moved with poise, hardly making a sound, as if she floated across the balcony. He wouldn’t need to worry about his feet being trodden on with her for a dance partner.
No more than eighteen. Fetching rather than beautiful. Statuesque but not overwhelming to his six-foot-two height. If the tight hold on her shawl was any indication, her exquisite white gown revealed more of her upper charms than she was accustomed to displaying in public.
His gaze lingered over the shawl she clutched like a shield. Perhaps the evening wouldn’t be a complete loss. Instead of bolting, Hugh decided to stay and play.
Releasing the door handle, he bowed. “Good evening.”
Do you remember the first moment you met a stranger recently? What did you do? Did you stay, or did you walk away?