To be sure, a smile is simple, but it can convey several messages. A smile may be a gesture of approval, acknowledgment, acceptance or affection. When a stranger sends us a genuine smile, we often feel a connection, even though we will likely never see them again. It is just a kind gesture from one human being to another.
When we are performing some task, while others are watching, a smile from members of the audience can be an act of encouragement or appreciation of our work. I know that I really appreciate smiles when I am presenting a workshop or teaching a class. Those smiles let me know that I am on track and connecting.
A smile from a friend or loved one serves to increase the bond of the relationship or express affection. Like physical touch, smiles strengthen our feelings of connection and love. As humans, we are born with the need to be connected with others. We aren’t really healthy without it.
A smile in the first stages of a romance can be the trigger for the relationship to move forward. It lets the other person know that you are interested in them or attracted to them.
Believe it or not, smiles have been the subject of research. We know that there are several types of smiles and that they convey different messages.
The most positive type of smile is the Duchenne smile. The corners of the mouth are raised and the cheeks rise, making little crow’s feet around the eyes. This is considered by many to be the most genuine smile, as it is fairly difficult to fake. This is also called the full-blown smile or the full-face smile. Some research has suggested that people who display this smile tend to live longer.
Sometimes a smile can even be negative. A forced or “stiff” smile can suggest disdain or disapproval. You could call it a sarcastic smile. Such a smile can suggest that the person disapproves, but is trying to hide it.
The tight-lipped smile, where teeth are not shown, often suggests that the person is keeping some secret, and not telling you everything. It is sometimes seen in politicians, when asked for information they don’t want to share. It can also be used by a female showing disinterest in a flirting male.
Of course, there are exceptions to all these interpretations, and we all have an intuitive sense of facial expressions. But we all know that giving and receiving a smile is usually a good thing. It makes us feel good. That said, smile at someone today. You may send just the message they needed.
Comments: Share a time when a smile has meant a lot to you, and how it helped you.