I am very guilty of exhibiting a “resting bitch face.”
I, like many others, are often accused of looking; angry, upset, depressed, or even “stuck up”, if I’m caught off-guard, often lost in thought, not smiling.
It’s a very common misconception they if someone isn’t smiling, then something must be wrong. And, if like me, you look naturally serious when you’re just thinking or walking down the street, minding your own business, you suffer from what is commonly known as “resting bitch face.” And like usually think that something must be wrong because you don’t have a big smile on your face all the time.
And no-I’m not depressed. I’m not chronically angry. Someone usually hasn’t just pissed me off, and I’m not stuck up. I’m one of the more friendlier people you could encounter. And if I see you-I’ll smile. But when you catch me walking through Target with a shopping list and a million things to do, I’m probably not going to have this big goofy grin stuck on my face. If I do, rest assured it’s more than likely something really funny just happened.
But the misconception that, unless you are constantly smiling, you must be either mad or depressed, is utter BS. You are allowed to look however you naturally look. If it’s taken as mad, snotty, crazy, whatever-remember that the conception is someone else’s opinion in what they are seeing. Not necessarily what you are exuding. Because everyone will have a different opinion on how they take you.
And there is no reason that you must keep this Joker-like smile going as to not offend or “scare” anyone, if you don’t feel like smiling. You can always tell when someone is forcing a smile on their face. Don’t make yourself genuinely uncomfortable just to give another person, or even strangers in a crowd, a more “socially acceptable” face to interact with.
Yes, it’s polite to engage in conversation with a smiling person, but if you don’t like doing it, I’d rather talk to you with a scowl in on your face if that’s how you naturally look. Because at least them you’re being yourself. Comfortable.
And say you are going through a depressed time, or you are angry or upset. You have every right to be. You don’t have an obligation to anyone to drop what you are going through, in order to fake cheerfulness in conversation. If they truly care about you, they won’t want you to be uncomfortable, or need to hide true feelings.
Of course if they truely care, and know you, they will also know that everything can be perfectly fine and you just don’t smile like a cartoon character with every interaction.
A smile shouldn’t ever be used to judge someone contentment. Some of the saddest people use a smile to mask their feelings and, as they say,”fake it till they make it.”
So don’t judge that mom at soccer practice for a stony gaze across the field as the kids play. Maybe she doesn’t have the strength to fake joy today. Maybe she’s just thinking about what to cook for dinner tonight. Either way she is probably really cool, and the look on her face is no reason not to talk to her.