Some days are bad days, while others are great. No matter how hard you try, you will never be able to turn each day into a great one. We can learn to stay positive and make the best out of each day, but there WILL be bad days.
This past Monday was off to a rough start. I was extremely overwhelmed with work, had four days until payday, and it took three attempts for my car to finally start. I know for a fact that I wasn’t a beaming ball of positivity that morning at work, so when I was walking through the office and my male coworker stopped me and said, “Hey, you should smile!”, I was irritated. Am I not allowed to be overwhelmed? Does my personality always have to be bubbly and bright? Are women only allowed to feel one emotion—happy?
By telling a woman to smile, you are more or less asking her to change her emotions on command. If your request does produce a smile, it’s important to know that the smile does not reflect the emotion behind it. I can guarantee that your request for a different facial expression didn’t magically deposit money into my bank account, answer my work emails, or replace those spark plugs that I have been putting off for two months. The only likely thing that smiling will do, is make the other person feel more comfortable.
So, to all the men out there who don’t realize that women are dynamic beings, here are a few things you can do instead of telling a woman to smile.
Ask her how her day is going. This gesture shows that you care enough to ask how she is doing. Sometimes the smallest gestures have the biggest impact (like telling someone to smile).
Ignore her. Completely. Let her be broke and overwhelmed. Just leave her alone.
Give her a compliment. Most people think that compliments have to deal with someone’s physical appearance, but that simply is not true. There are lots of compliments you can give, both inside and outside of the workplace. You can compliment on someone’s organizational skills, ability to parallel park well, or acknowledge something good they did recently. This will not only make her feel better, but it will also let them know that you see their positive attributes and not just the frown on their face!
Acknowledge her feelings. If someone is feeling overwhelmed or broke, you can acknowledge these feelings (and many others) by saying, “Being an adult is hard” or “Life is hard”.
Ask her if there is anything you can do. Nine times out of ten, people will say no, so don’t be afraid to ask this question!
Try to relate to her. If she mentions that she needs to replace her car’s spark plugs, you can let her know that your car also has spark plugs. All cars have spark plugs. The most important thing is to try and relate to her.
Email her a picture of puppies. This particular action has produced great results. Fairly positive that there is scientific evidence that shows an increase in smiles from emailing puppy pics. I highly recommend taking this route.
Play the theme song to Friends. Just make sure you clap your hands at the right parts.
Smile. Lead by example! If you smile at someone, the odds are they will smile back at you.
Become comfortable with the fact that humans, especially women, do not have to smile 24/7. Shocker, I know. Society has instilled in us that women are supposed to go through life with a smile on their face, but it’s time to redefine that notion as bullshit.