Sunday, February 17, 2008

Just because I'm not smiling doesn't mean I'm not happy.

My face is not naturally smiley. If I'm giving a blank stare or a deadpan face, I apparently look unhappy. When I'm lost deep in thought or am concentrating intently, my brow furrows ever so slightly. My friends tell me this makes me appear angry.

Body language is important, don't get me wrong! I use body language to communicate often, and I try to make my non-verbal communication very distinct so as not to be misread. Still, people see neutral as unhappy. My mouth doesn't turn down when I relax, so I don't fully understand why people think this. My sister has mentioned the same thing to me--that people perceive her neutral face as a hostile one.

Both of us show our emotions, and we can be highly expressive when we choose to be. Not every moment, however, merits expression. When I'm alone, lost in thought, I'm not often wearing an expression, and that makes me look unhappy.

People think I look depressed because I'm not smiling. It's not true. I'm just not smiling.

If you really want to know whether I'm happy or not, ask. A simple, "how are you?" can do amazing things (when you're willing to listen to the answer).

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