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  • Simone Jacob

Am I a permanent smiler?if so, why?

Fotograf Uwe Koerner
On my model jobs it happens to me more and more often, that I am asked not to smile, instead to look serious, strong. Maybe this shows that women in society should no longer be perceived as just the weaker sex. That's great, but honestly, it's actually hard for me not to smile. I wondered why?

A genuine smile can be enchanting. But often I smile even when I don't want to. Smiling is sometimes a reflex and it is almost impossible to suppress it. When I look serious, I feel almost unfriendly, almost angry. It seems that as a woman, I have been conditioned all my life by parents, society and the media to look friendly, to smile.

I now practice more often in conversations not to smile automatically, especially when there is nothing to smile about.

What about you? Probably everyone knows the following situation: In a group, everyone laughs at a joke, that you don't find funny. Nevertheless, the inner urge to laugh along with the group is extremely strong. Because not to join into the laughter is almost impossible and would probably be perceived by the others as rude and strange.

Also when girlfriends talk to each other, there is an above-average amount of smiling. It is like a constant mutual confirmation and expresses, that you like each other and find the other great. Women in many cultures are traditionally raised or encouraged to be friendly, approachable and smile.

Yes, smiling is important and good. It is a way to signal friendliness, cooperation, sympathy, interest, approval, but it can also express submissiveness, pressure or fear.

Psychological studies have shown that smiling can even be interpreted as a sign of submissiveness in certain situations. Excessive smiling could be seen as insecurity or an attempt to avoid conflict. Smiling then imperceptibly becomes a gesture of appeasement. Usually those who feel inferior smile more.

The more dominant, successful, self-confident the person, the less it smiles. By the way, men generally smile less and bosses anyway. This can be observed very well not only in humans, but also in monkeys. The higher-ranking, practically rarely smiles. He doesn't have to appease anyone.

This is not a plea against smiling, but an invitation to observe yourself more often when and why you smile. Ask yourself, what is the motivation behind my smile?

Observe what happens when you don't smile, especially if you would normally do it automatically. How does your counterpart react and how do you feel? More confident, more self-assured, more free or more insecure? In the end, it is a very good exercise to stay with yourself.
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