Tips for Thought

Have you ever been told to “smile more” by a stranger? Have you ever noticed people shying away from you as if you were some kind of social pariah, all because of your facial expression? If so, you may be one of the many people out there who suffer from “resting bitch face” or RBF. Yes, it’s a real thing, and it’s a term that has been used to describe people with a naturally angry or stern facial expression, even when they’re not angry or upset. But don’t worry, you’re not alone – and in fact, there are plenty of ways to combat this unfair misunderstanding and show the world that there’s much more to you than meets the eye.

The RBF stereotypes

One common misconception many people have is that someone with an RBF or stern expression is angry or upset. However, this is not always the case.

In reality, our facial expressions can be influenced by many factors, including our natural resting expression, mood, and even our face shape. For example, some people naturally have a more serious-looking expression, even when feeling perfectly calm and content.

Additionally, many people may adopt an RBF in certain situations, such as when concentrating intensely on a task or listening intently to someone else speak. This does not necessarily mean that they are upset but instead focused on what they are doing.

Unfortunately, the misconception that someone with an RBF is always angry can lead to misunderstandings and even prejudice. Because of this, people with this type of facial expression may be unfairly judged as unfriendly or unapproachable, even if they are pretty warm and welcoming. So yes, there are several potential downsides to having a “resting bitch face.”

Cons

Misunderstandings

One of the biggest downsides is that people may assume you are mad at them when feeling perfectly calm and content. This can lead to misunderstandings, conflict, and a negative perception of you in others’ eyes.

Social Isolation

If people perceive you as constantly upset, they may be less likely to approach or engage with you socially. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, making it harder to connect with others.

Negative Stereotypes

Unfortunately, people with angry-looking facial expressions may be subject to negative stereotypes and assumptions, such as being seen as unapproachable, hostile, or even violent. This can lead to discrimination and bias, making it harder to succeed in certain environments, such as the workplace.

Emotional Burden

Maintaining an RBF can be emotionally taxing, as it may require suppressing natural emotions and putting on a “mask” for others. This can be exhausting over time and may contribute to stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

Pros

There may also be some potential benefits to having an angry-looking facial expression. Here are a few possibilities:

Commanding Respect

People with an RBF may be perceived as more authoritative and commanding, which can be beneficial in specific professional or leadership roles. This can help to establish their authority and inspire confidence in others.

Clear Communication

A serious expression can sometimes communicate that you are not in the mood for small talk or distractions, which can be helpful in situations where you need to focus on a task or conversation. It can also signal to others that you listen intently and take the conversation seriously.

Intimidation

While it’s not ideal to intimidate or scare others, there may be situations where a stern expression can help to deter unwanted behavior or aggression. This can be helpful in cases where you feel threatened or need to assert yourself.

Note: Facial expressions can be complex and multifaceted and do not always reflect our real emotions. If you are concerned about the perception of your facial expression, it may be helpful to work on developing your emotional awareness and communication skills.

Some resources to consider

Many books can help you develop your emotional awareness and communication skills, which can help you better manage your facial expressions and improve your interpersonal interactions. Here are a few examples:

Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life by Marshall B. Rosenberg—This book provides a framework for communicating compassionately, empathetically, and respectfully. It can help you learn how to express your needs and feelings effectively while also listening and responding to others in a way that fosters understanding and connection.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves—This book provides practical strategies for developing emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. It can help you understand and regulate your emotions more effectively and improve your communication and relationship-building skills.

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle—while not explicitly focused on communication skills, This book can help you develop greater awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations, which can, in turn, help you better manage your emotions and reactions. It can also help you develop a greater sense of inner peace and calm, which can be reflected in your facial expressions and demeanor.

Several things you can do

Practice Mindfulness

Become more aware of your facial expressions by practicing mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing. This can help you notice when you’re tensing your facial muscles and allow you to relax them consciously.

Use Eye Contact

Making eye contact with others can help them feel more connected to you and make you appear more open and engaged. Try maintaining eye contact during conversations and meetings, but don’t stare too intensely, or it may come across as aggressive.

Practice Facial Exercises

You can do several exercises to help relax your facial muscles and improve your facial expression. For example, try resting your forehead muscles and raising your eyebrows or opening your mouth wide and then relaxing your jaw muscles.

Be Confident

Above all, the best way to combat negative perceptions of your facial expression is to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Focus on developing strong communication skills, building meaningful relationships, and showcasing your talents and strengths. With time and practice, you can learn to embrace your resting bitch face as part of who you are rather than something to be ashamed of.

Final thoughts

It’s important to remember that facial expressions can be complex and multifaceted and do not always reflect our genuine emotions. Therefore, rather than making assumptions based on someone’s “resting bitch face,” it’s always better to take the time to get to know them and understand their personality and demeanor.