5 Things People Who Never Smile Want You To Know

Broken People YouTube
Broken People YouTube

The solution to everyone’s woes seems so simple: just smile! Haven’t you heard? Everybody loves a good smile; even studies have shown that simply faking it can quickly reverse the negativity we might experience. By sharing this universal expression, we subconsciously express that we’re all in this together; however, when someone like me, the strong, silent type who seemingly never smiles, enters the room, everyone looks on with confusion and unease, as if they’re trying to deduce what’s wrong with me. I don’t blame them. I know I’m somewhat of the black sheep in any group, and I admit that I could improve communication and eliminate tension by showing off my slightly stained whites. However, I also want to extend an offer of understanding, to perhaps give you some things to consider before you give the same time-tested (read: bad, bad, bad!) advice to people like me: “just smile.” Let’s start with the obvious.

1. It’s a Facade

Of course it is. I’m not an emotionless man incapable of empathizing with other human beings, and I’m certain the majority of people like me aren’t either; however, we’re probably trying to conceal something deeper than we’re immediately willing to share. Not all of us are the stereotypical bouncers from the movies who constantly scowl in order to intimidate troublemakers. Some of us use our granular faces as a test, if you will, and then begin to let our guard down as we become comfortable with you, often revealing a surprisingly quirky personality. The same goes with me, except my defense serves another purpose; it conceals my emotional pain consisting of depression, anxiety, OCD, and the excessive loneliness that follows. Nobody really knows what we’re thinking, and that’s certainly something we should work on. But sometimes, I’m not trying to conceal anything. In fact, more often than not, I usually don’t don a smile because…

2. It’s My Default State of Being

You know how many muscles it takes to smile? Well, it’s difficult to say really, but people generally believe that you use more muscles to frown than you do for smiling–so smile more, silly! As for the poker face that I’m always wearing? Well, I’m not sure how many muscles are required to retain it, but I certainly feel like I’m using less than I would smiling; however, when I’m not smiling, I’m not concerned about the potential extra calories I could have burned off. Instead, I’m often feeling too preoccupied. I enjoy the serenity I feel when the cool breeze embraces my body just like everyone else, but I’m too busy processing these feelings, so smiling often places lower on my list of priorities. This is doubly so when I’m too preoccupied thinking about my next step, like, when I’m at the store trying to pick out and buy groceries. I often forget that I’m in the presence of others. Again, this is something I and many others need to work on, but I want you to keep in mind that when you surprise me by telling me to smile…

3. You Only Make Me Want to Smile Less

Of all the advice I’ve never been able to fulfill, I feel the guiltiest about this: “smile more.” The act is simple and doable, but consider this: I’m twenty-five years old. My iron mask has etched itself into my nerves to the point of instinct, and changing, while possible, requires conscious effort and more time than I might have remaining. I realize I’m making excuses, but think about the last time you successfully carried out a New Year’s resolution. Maybe you lost the pounds, but you more than likely gained them back. Even if that is possible, let’s remember that we don’t know what each person, regardless of the width of their smile, is thinking. Telling one of us to just smile is similar to telling someone with depression to get over it; in fact, he or she may have a form of mental illness, and this is his or her means of concealing it. Hell, some people, like the late Robin Williams, concealed his mental disorder with comedy–a career that involves laughter and smiling! If people could just get over their mental illnesses, they would. If I could just rewire my entire personality with a single smile, I would. It’s not like I haven’t tried, but the reason I don’t do it often is because…

4. I Know I’m Terrible at Faking It

I, like most people who are happiness impaired, am well aware of how little I smile, and I’m also extremely self-conscious when I do. This is because I know I can’t fake it. I can see it in the mirror when I attempt to alleviate the negativity through by practicing beaming. Sure, the corners of the lips spread and dimples take form, but the eyes…smiles never seem genuine without the proper squinting of the eyes and the tilting of the head. People take notice, and they criticize me for it. In my senior year of college, my classmates and I shared pictures of our LinkedIn profile pictures, and a girl I didn’t know outside of class remarked that my smile is the perfect balance of creepy and professional. When I was a child, my parents had to invite one of my friends over to make diarrhea jokes, so I could smile properly for photos (and at that point smiling transformed into laughter). I get that you mean well, and making fun of others is also a good sign that you’re beginning to show acceptance; however, if you’re not part of someone like me’s core group of friends–and he or she will probably smile more often if you are–then you’re only prying your cold, writhing fingers into years of pent-up insecurity. Let us smile own our own accord, because when we do…

5. The Smile Is Genuine and Often Accompanied with Laughter

Gasp! Turn on the news! Turns out I can smile, and, if my friends are to be believed, it’s quite nice. There are certain conditions that have to be met; however, they’re not different than from most people. The person who never smiles might love the merriment of friends just as much as his or her fellow human being, but you have to respect that he or she needs more time. Either they’ll drop their guard, or seek the help they need. When they do, they’ll smile and it will be glorious–intense, even. Once I let down my guard, people learn that I’m actually quite silly. Time and respect is the key, and if given enough, you might be caught off guard when one of us approaches you beaming with gloriously visible dimples–hopefully not in the Hollywood-psychopath way. TC mark

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