Let’s say you’re at a party and you meet someone new for the first time. For some reason, you can’t shake the immediate first impression that this person is dry, unemotional, and unfriendly. This could be because of the phenomenon that the internet has coined as “resting bitch face.”
Ty Tashiro, psychologist and author of the book “Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome,” explains to us why we react to negatively people who look like this and what you can do if you have it yourself.
The following is a transcript of the video:
Resting bitch face is this idea that somebody has a permanent look on their face that looks unfriendly or looks like they have a scowl or a frown.
I’ve heard people with resting bitch face sometimes tell me that they will contextualize it verbally for other people. That they will say, “I’m not unhappy with you. I’m not displeased with the situation. I just look this way.” And that’s a really honest way to talk about this facial expression that they’re giving, because facial expressions are so critical to how we perceive what other people are telling us. So if you’re saying that you’re happy for somebody else, but your face is serious or even frowning, then they will take your frown or your serious face over the verbal content of you trying to congratulate them.
It’s a little bit unfortunate because there is some research to suggest that people with resting bitch face are perceived negatively by others, which is I guess what we would assume. I would suggest try to smile when you can. When you smile more often, it actually has a psychological effect. So there’s something about our facial expressions that actual queue our minds to say that you’re actually feeling happy or conversely, if you had a frown on your face — might queue your mind that you’re feeling sad or frustrated. But it’s ok to verbalize that you’re not displeased with other people or that you just kind of look this way.
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