What a Smile Can Hide

A smile is a very powerful expression. At times it can be a very disarming way out of a tough situation. I have in the past seen a smile hide a multitude of feelings, but I had not realized how much some people use it until someone else pointed it out to me.

There is nothing wrong with being shy, however in some cases it is the result of something else entirely. While anyone that has meet me in person would probably laugh if they told you I was shy, there was a period in my life that if you met me you would have thought differently.

I can speak from personal experience and it was probably one of the most painful chapters in my life where I smile the most. I probably never laughed, but I did smile a lot. I had learned that if you smile, people are not going to ask you what’s wrong. It takes someone that truly knows you to see through a fake smile, most people don’t go that deep.

A smile is supposed to convey happiness, but sometimes it carries another message entirely. Recently I have started to notice these in a couple of people from my past. They always smiled, but I knew there was something wrong inside of their world. One of them actually got out of a relationship that was somewhat abusive and it is now a totally different person. If you knew this person before you would be amazed at just how much everything about their demeanor has changed. The other one I don’t think realizes they are in trouble, but I have come to realize how fake some of the smiles are.

I recently heard some very mafia like advice that a friend had received from her father. He said, don’t ever show people they have gotten the best of you, smile and then get them later on. While this was maybe just his way to get a kid to stop fussing over something, it is also something that many people practice. In the poker of life, showing your emotions is like letting others know your tell.

I love to make people laugh, but one of the things that is most annoying is a fake laugh. If you think a joke is not funny, or you don’t get it… don’t laugh, its a perfectly ok response. A fake laugh is a little easier to spot than a fake smile if you have heard the person laugh before. I guess we all use the tools we have, and it seems that with emotions the “modus operandi” of most people is to hide them.

8 comments on “What a Smile Can Hide

  1. The smile is like any other communication tool, like the eyes and basic body posture. I prefer, depending on the social situation, that they DO laugh at my jokes if they don’t get them. It’s a dance of emotions when your meeting new people and it’s best to “grin and bear it”..then move on. I strongly believe in the ‘mafia’ mantra of never let them see that they got the best of you, but for me it’s hard to do since at heart I’m a reactionary person and guarded. The above is different depending on who your audience is, if they are life long friends then MOST rules do not apply as we have a bond that only explicit “DUH” rules would be broke to cause ill will. *see sleeping with my wife, killing my poodle, deleting my WoW account*. Once you become my FRIEND FRIEND then you pretty much have Carte Blanché on what we say and do to each other (no homo). I think smiling is an excellent way to diffuse uncomfortable situations and one of the few ways to SHOW (without talking) whomever that things are OK.
    Guy Smiley

  2. A laugh or a smile to somebody who just got to you (physically or mentally) puts them off guard, which if you are a revenge type is the best time.

    On the other hand I use the smile, or at least the goofy grin, in my work all the time. It sets the customer at ease, makes them feel less foolish about their problems if we can sit and joke about it while I fix them up.

    In my personal life I like to make people laugh, or at least smile. But I never trust anybody %100 if I catch them faking it. OK well there is the big, over-the-top, fake laugh my friends and I do to each other but htat is it’s own type of joke.

  3. Would you rather someone have a genuine, truly obnoxious laugh that makes you want to stab your eardrums with a steak knife (like Janis from “Friends”), or someone who gives you a fake laugh?

  4. As annoying as Janis’ laughter is I would take that to a fake smile from a friend any day!

    I actually think that Janis makes Friends more relevant as a show because we all know people like that in our lives.

    Now, exploring the whole fake laugh a little more, it is a lot different to do it because you want to diffuse a tense situation than having it as a personality trait that always hides your emotions or true intentions.

  5. Good post. Smiles are weird… lots of times I smile I people and it means “I have nothing to say to you and that’s sad.”

  6. Why is it that I never get to be the first to comment? Dang it! In this new job, I am taught to be somewhat detached from all that I do, see, experience: if a kid tries to get the best of me, and I let him, he’s won, and that reinforces his behavior. However, if I put on the poker face, I still remain in control of myself and likely the situation. In my old job, I smiled the Mary Sunshine smile because I realized people didn’t really care how I was when they asked. Keep your personal life personal, and your professional life professional. It’s a little difficult, but it’s a rather good defense mechanism.

  7. It’s kind of a catch-22, I think in some ways. I’ve tended to be a little too honest with my emotions or sometimes even remarks, so I had to counter balance that by censoring myself and I sometimes find the smile to be the best way to disguise it. I can usually tell when someone else is faking it, but I think most people are oblivious to it (both when I do it and others) because they just don’t care. Okay, my pessimistic side is coming out:)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *