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Should you always smile

  1. Oct 1, 2009 #1

    Monique

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    When you walk down the street by yourself, do you have a smile on your face? Is there a social rule that you should and say hi to everyone you walk past?

    I so often get called after that I should smile or that I should look cheerful, once I called back that I'll determine myself whether I smile or not. I know, it's probably just the opposite-sex looking for attention, but do they have a point?

    When I pass a group of males I usually look the other direction, I'm not waiting on their attention, maybe I should try smiling for a day but I'm afraid that will only ask for more attention.
     
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  3. Oct 1, 2009 #2
    Don't buy into their ideas:
    Positively Downbeat:
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/216147 (my wife sent this to me yesterday - it talks about how the whole notion of striving for happiness actually doesn't lead to happiness, just disappointment).

    The whole saying "Hello" to strangers is more of a local custom of good manners. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and learned that I should always great strangers that I passed. When I went to university in a large city in the Midwest, this was not the norm, but most people would say hello back. When I went to grad school in Massachusetts, people looked at me like I had two heads when I would say hello to perfect strangers on the street. I know live in the southern Virginia. I say hello to my neighbors when I pass them on the street. But complete strangers- it usually doesn't happen. So, in my experience it is a function of geography (and probably age - as I am much more likely to greet an elder than an adolescent now).
     
  4. Oct 1, 2009 #3

    Pythagorean

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    No, you shouldn't always smile. Usually when someone uses such extreme language (like always) it's because they're witnessing the opposite extreme from you (never).
     
  5. Oct 1, 2009 #4

    arildno

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    Dearly Missed

    Not unless you got laid last night.

    This rule does not hold for married people though, who have the social duty to look dour.

    But then again, I am Norwegian, so I may have rather strict criteria for when it is socially appropriate to be cheerful.
     
  6. Oct 1, 2009 #5
    I don't smile while I walk unless I see someone I know, or someone greets me. Who just strolls down the street with a big grin on their face?

    When I was a kid, like a dork, I would say hi to just about everyone I passed by. That didn't last long. Some people take it like it's an affront to their family honor, as if me saying hi was like slapping them in the face with a glove.
     
  7. Oct 1, 2009 #6

    Integral

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    What? Does it hurt to smile?

    If I happen to make eye contact with a stranger I will smile and nod.

    Even in my worst hours, when asked the rhetorical question "How are you?" I was able to answer; "Fine, up to a constant or 2"
     
  8. Oct 1, 2009 #7
    Only when your smile is genuine . I would smile in situations where/when I truly feel happy, not in situations where I feel strong negative feelings. Therefore , it is not appropriate and quite frankly dishonest to smile in all situations.
     
  9. Oct 1, 2009 #8

    Moonbear

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    I don't usually walk around smiling unless something really wonderful just happened and I can't wipe the silly grin off my face. I'm not frowning or scowling either, just not smiling.

    I've had people make that comment to me as well, and I actually think it's rude on their part to tell me I should smile. They are strangers and know nothing of my day and should not be telling me what my mood should be. Yes, it is usually men who make the comment, so I suspect it's a feeble attempt to engage a member of the opposite sex, but it doesn't work, since it just annoys me.

    I do usually smile in greeting to people I pass, if I'm paying attention. For example, on campus, I will smile a hello to people I pass. It's a small campus, so some of that is because they are familiar to me (even if I don't really know who they are, I might pass them in the halls often), usually just to be polite, and sometimes because I don't know if I should know them so smile so I don't insult anyone (I teach some large classes and don't always know all my students even though they think I know them). But, if I'm walking around the mall or grocery store, or downtown, I might be more likely to be lost in my own thoughts, or looking at items in a store window, and really not paying a lot of attention to the people around me. Then I won't be smiling at them. Likewise, I would never take it personally if someone just walked past without smiling or saying hi, especially if I didn't know them. If I did know them, I just dismiss it that they are lost in their thoughts or looking at something else.

    Then again, I've met just plain weird people in grocery stores. Aside from the men who tell me I should smile more, I've run into women who have walked up and touched my hair, telling me it was pretty. They're lucky I've been out of NJ a while and don't react as strongly to things like that as I used to when there. If I was still in NJ, they'd probably have gotten an elbow to the stomach or some such...it's terribly rude to invade someone's personal space like that!
     
  10. Oct 1, 2009 #9

    lisab

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    You must have grown up in a small town, like I did. I usually smile and say "good morning" to people when I take morning walks or jogs, even if they're on the other side of the street, often.

    But do I always smile? No, I don't smile at all, if I'm walking through a city. But at work I'm a lot more chipper, and as I walk through the lab I smile and greet the techs.

    Most of the time I'm somewhere in between.

    It's plain rude for anyone to order you to smile.
     
  11. Oct 1, 2009 #10
    If you constantly smile - some people may find it scary.:biggrin:

    On the other hand, an occasional downward nod and intermittent upward nods done selectively and with confidence might result in a lot of positive responses.:cool:

    Last, excessive hand waving and loud greetings could very well result in foot races - with you following.:eek:
     
  12. Oct 1, 2009 #11
    I don't smile unless I have a reason to and someone saying hi isn't necessarily a reason in my book.

    I find it odd that random strangers when walking past me in the opposite direction will not just say hi but ask 'What's up?' or 'How are you?'. I'm never sure if they are actually hoping for an appropriate response or just a 'hi'. Am I supposed to stop and converse with every person that walks by and asks these questions? Silly people.

    I often am told I should smile more, usually by women who are maybe trying to flirt with me. It always makes me uncomfortable. I mean really, if you want me to smile then make me smile don't just tell me to. I don't understand why women don't realize that if they want me to loosen up they ought not put me on the spot. Just act normally ffs.
     
  13. Oct 1, 2009 #12

    lisab

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    Keep in mind, there's a cultural aspect to this.

    Some cultures are known for their dour public faces. And some cultures are friendly on the outside, smiles everywhere...but you can live there for years and never make one true friend.
     
  14. Oct 1, 2009 #13
    The worst case scenario is when you smile to someone who is not in the mood to receive smiles, or just not in tune. There is plenty of those people. If you smile alot, then eventually someone will simile back at you, most likely someone that smiles often.

    In public, I usually hold a smile, and gauge feedback from other people. If I feel like it, I will match smile with the other person to establish a momentary rapport. If I increase smiling, and the other person won't mirror, then I will mirror the person again.
     
  15. Oct 2, 2009 #14

    Monique

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    Exactly, I find it rude as well. That's why I once snapped back, I had just woken up and had to catch a train and was thinking about my work for the day. Do I need to have a stranger that I didn't even have eye contact with tell me that I should look happy? I live in the city center, so I don't go around seeking eye contact and nodding to every person I walk past.

    It recently happened to me that I walked past a bunch of homeless people in front of the army of salvation and one of them says "hey girl, why don't you smile", so I made a fake polite smile back at him and walked on, at which point he started chasing me down the street screaming that he needed my phone number among other obscene things. That's why I generally do not smile at complete strangers that I walk past (especially not packs of males), that way you only invite them to make comments.

    But since I get the smile comment weekly, and it annoys me to bits, I'll try and be a little bit more aware of the people who want a friendly nod and see how that goes. It's almost winter anyway, so I can operate in the stealth of darkness and go back to just minding my own business.
     
  16. Oct 2, 2009 #15
    NEVER EVER SMILE AT PEOPLE!!!

    Poke your tongue out at them instead!:yuck:
     
  17. Oct 2, 2009 #16
    Do you have a particularly sad looking face? I know, that my dad and I often have a frown on our faces beacuse that just seems to be the way our face muscles work in their "normal" state. I catch myself frowning often, even if I'm not feeling anything emotionally. It makes us look like we're thinking about something all the time, and I sometimes get comments about that, but never from strangers (maybe this is because I'm one of those horrible males that you keep mentioning). I, therefore, don't smile all the time. Smiling does make you feel better though, but someone who smiles all the time is kinda creepy... like ted bundy style...

    Maybe you should listen to music with (visible) earphones while you're walking around. People won't bother bugging you because they know that you can't hear them and that they won't get a response. Bullies only tease people that respond, in my experience.. the kids that don't fight back ain't no fun :tongue:
     
  18. Oct 2, 2009 #17
    People always tell me to stop smiling. Strangers come up to me and tell me how much my life sucks and I have nothing to smile about. Then if I'm frowning, they'll come up to me and tell me no one cares about my problems, so stop frowning.
    If I'm not smiling or frowning and just having my normal face, people come up and tell me how ugly I am.
    I tell them to just let me live. They tell me to kill myself.
     
  19. Oct 2, 2009 #18
    Oh man... mashed potatoes just came out of my nose...
     
  20. Oct 2, 2009 #19

    Moonbear

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    Now that made me smile. :biggrin:
     
  21. Oct 2, 2009 #20

    lisab

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    ...I really, really hope you were eating mashed potatoes as you were reading...
     
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