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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I was told (in writing) to "smile more!" by a girl in high school. That was 22 years ago, and it still hurts. Is there something wrong with my normal facial expression when I'm not smiling? Is the reason people don't like me because I'm not smiling? That's what I implied from that remark.

It's hard to smile all the time, or even most of the time. Nobody smiles all the time, or even most of the time, yet they somehow have friends and even strangers who want to make conversation with them. It's hard for me to smile, it takes effort and feels awkward. I haven't had any friends since high school 22+ years ago.

I live in the supposedly "friendly" South where people apparently experience strangers saying "hi" to them on the sidewalk and even starting conversations with them. I don't get that, and I've lived here all my life. Extremely rare in my experience. I'm shunned like I have leprosy by people (both males and females). Same thing when I was 13 years old, still the same thing today at age 41.

I'll never understand people and social interaction, I guess. It's all so complicated.

I dunno, here's my normal face...judge for yourself I guess. I usually don't have this much facial hair though.
Forehead Nose Glasses Cheek Vision care
 

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People are always saying that to other people. They think it's a helpful way to remind you to be thankful and happy and enjoy your life more. They think they're spreading joy to the world when they tell you to smile more. They don't mean it as an insult.

That said, a smile is a way of indicating whether you want to chat or not (or continue a conversation or not). If you're not smiling at the people passing you, people generally won't approach and initiate a conversation -- not because they hate you, but because they think you're signalling that you're thinking about something else and not looking for conversation at the moment, for which they hold no ill will toward you.
 

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I think it's the shape of your face and bone structure. I've got that too. Kind like were frowning a bit with face at rest. Ive heard it a bunch of times in my life too. It's still a battle for me to feel like I don't need to worry about what my face is doing. But I'm getting there. If I saw you in public though, I wouldn't think anything. I think it's obtrusive for someone to say something like that, about smiling.
Solid facial hair man.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think it's the shape of your face and bone structure. I've got that too. Kind like were frowning a bit with face at rest. Ive heard it a bunch of times in my life too. It's still a battle for me to feel like I don't need to worry about what my face is doing. But I'm getting there. If I saw you in public though, I wouldn't think anything. I think it's obtrusive for someone to say something like that, about smiling.
Solid facial hair man.
So there is something about my face. Interesting, thanks for being honest. Yeah, I don't have one of those naturally "happy looking" faces I guess. I'd say your face looks friendly though from your avatar, but maybe that's because you're smiling. That's the thing though, it's hard and awkward for me to force a smile.

Thanks, but your facial hair is way more solid :).
 

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I've also been told that a lot by other people, they say "I'm too serious". With time I learned that actually what people mean is that I'm too nervous all the time, reason why I can't simply relax and smile. Maybe some of them don't know anything about anxiety, but they can feel your fear as if it is written all over your face.

And contrary to what others have said, I don't think it's because of the shape of your face. I actually think many girls could find your features rather attractive. However, when I see your picture, while I can see and attractive man, I also see a troubled one... I can't help but wonder, why does he look so sad?

So if this girl in high school had the same impression, maybe she was simply trying to cheer you up somehow. I don't know, but I don't think she intended it as an insult.
There could be many reasons: she was simply immature, she actually liked you and wanted to see you smiling, she was just curious as to why you were so sad all the time, I don't know...

One day, one teacher once told me: "Oh you are so pretty but why are you so serious! Smile some more! " I think as others have say, smiling is like an invitation for others to talk to you, to know you are interested in starting and keeping a conversation.
Smiling may not be easy, but could also help you relax in social situations.
 

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In my opinion sometimes people say stuff like that not because they think you should literally smile more but because they think you are not very friendly, for whatever reason. Maybe they cant quite put their finger on it, so they say something like you should smile more, or cheer up, etc.
Because people have said the same to me. Anyway its not just about smiling, you have to follow up with friendly conversation etc so I dont pay attention to such advice since i cant follow up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice so far. So do you think I should actually try to smile more in public? I don't see anyone else smiling while in a store or whatever. I've always had the attitude, "take me for who I am, non-smiling face and all" but everybody has avoided me the past 22+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I actually think many girls could find your features rather attractive. However, when I see your picture, while I can see and attractive man
Thanks for that, I really appreciate it, because I've very often thought that people avoid me because I'm UGLY. Or I'm not intelligent enough to have friends, or I'm not interesting enough to have friends. I don't have any skills or talents. I'm just a worthless human, etc. I haven't had any friends in 22 years since high school, I even had zero friends in college. My own family abandoned me too, haven't heard from them in 20+ years, except my mom. I didn't do anything to them, they just didn't like me for some reason...I guess I wasn't talkative enough for them. My dad died when I was 10 and I don't have any family on his side, they're dead.
 

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Hmmm. Well, I had an attractive girl tell me once that I'd be attractive if I wasn't looking down all the time. I'm not sure I was looking down all the time but obviously, that kind of thing seems to stick with you because you're being directly judged by someone whose opinion really matters to you.

That said, I don't think most people expect a person to be smiling all the time. I don't think I have ever seen anyone walk around smiling for no reason. That would be pretty creepy looking, actually. :LOL:

Different things for different people, I guess. For whatever reason, I find women who have a bit of a stern neutral facial expression very attractive. Don't really know why but that's just one of my preferences. I suppose the exact opposite is probably more the preference of most people.

It could be that people perceive you as not being friendly. Which isn't really anything you can control unless you actively go out of your way to introduce yourself to people, talk to them and have them get to know you so that they understand that is just your natural facial expression.
 

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I don't see anyone else smiling while in a store or whatever.
Almost nobody wants to strike up a conversation while shopping. Some will smile at the cashier, because they do expect a little conversation there. Smile at people you do want to talk to, when you want to talk to them, as an invitation... not the rest of the time.

Of course, it can be tricky figuring out when you want to talk when talking to people makes you anxious and it always feels easier avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
So do you guys think (as far as my face goes) I shouldn't feel uncomfortable going in a store, going to the doctor, going to a new church, etc.? I just look like another average guy, shouldn't feel self-conscious about my looks? I'm 5'9", 140 lbs. No muscles since I don't like doing strength training, lol.

Also, the glasses. Sometimes I want to take the glasses off because I'm afraid it makes me look geeky/nerdy. Should I leave the glasses on in public?

When I think about going anywhere where there are people like a store or the doctor or even my apartment office to pay rent, I get that anxious feeling, like there's something about my looks that will turn people off and I will get weird facial expressions from people or ugly remarks or just unfriendly reactions from people. And I live in the supposedly "friendly" South :rolleyes:.
 

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When I think about going anywhere where there are people like a store or the doctor or even my apartment office to pay rent, I get that anxious feeling, like there's something about my looks that will turn people off and I will get weird facial expressions from people or ugly remarks or just unfriendly reactions from people. And I live in the supposedly "friendly" South :rolleyes:.
Well, I think when it comes to these kinds of generalizations ("The friendly South") the reality of what a given person will experience actually living there is quite a bit different than what a visitor who might spend a few days there might experience.

I have lived in the South and the Midwest and I have to say when I moved to the Midwest, I was pretty shocked by how rude people seem there but I guess I got used to it. I don't think people in the South are necessarily all that much friendlier. Often they are quite rude and condescending and sometimes even hateful. They just express it differently.

I mean, I'm not here to tell you that your perceptions are wrong. You would know better than I do what you experience in your day to day life. And also, even if whatever it is wouldn't bother someone else, if it bothers you, it bothers you. If I were to tell you not to let it bother you, it probably wouldn't make much difference in how you feel.
 

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Thanks for that, I really appreciate it, because I've very often thought that people avoid me because I'm UGLY. Or I'm not intelligent enough to have friends, or I'm not interesting enough to have friends. I don't have any skills or talents. I'm just a worthless human, etc. I haven't had any friends in 22 years since high school, I even had zero friends in college. My own family abandoned me too, haven't heard from them in 20+ years, except my mom. I didn't do anything to them, they just didn't like me for some reason...I guess I wasn't talkative enough for them. My dad died when I was 10 and I don't have any family on his side, they're dead.
You are welcome! Yes, I don't think there's anything wrong with your physical appearance.
I wish I could tell you why people avoid you, but that's also something I'm trying to find for myself as well. In my experience, one thing I've found out that keeps people away for sure is negativity. People don't want to listen to only listen to sad or bad things coming from you. I know, sometimes is hard to be optimistic when all you've known is rejection.

Your life sounds so hard, but let me tell you that having been through all that shouldn't be something to be sad nor be angry or embarrassed of. Turn that into a strength, accept it and move on.

You are a wonderful person who deserves the best. And also loving friends who respect you and like you for who you are. It takes such an effort to keep going sometimes, I really understand your struggle, I've been there as well, but don't give up.

And I'm telling you this after being heartbroken by the closest friend I've ever met maybe in my whole life. Yes, it leaves a bitter taste on your mouth but life keeps going, don't dwell in the past too much, stop thinking too much, sometimes and many times people do stupid things for no reason at all, they say things without thinking. So I think the best you can do is to simply let go of the comment that one girl once gave you, her opinion really doesn't matter anymore. I bet if you could ask her, maybe she wouldn't remember it anymore. Sometimes we are just too self conscious, we over think, when the best is to simply let go.

Sorry for writing so much, I'm just kind of optimistic today hahaha
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
Well, I think when it comes to these kinds of generalizations ("The friendly South") the reality of what a given person will experience actually living there is quite a bit different than what a visitor who might spend a few days there might experience.

I have lived in the South and the Midwest and I have to say when I moved to the Midwest, I was pretty shocked by how rude people seem there but I guess I got used to it. I don't think people in the South are necessarily all that much friendlier. Often they are quite rude and condescending and sometimes even hateful. They just express it differently.

I mean, I'm not here to tell you that your perceptions are wrong. You would know better than I do what you experience in your day to day life. And also, even if whatever it is wouldn't bother someone else, if it bothers you, it bothers you. If I were to tell you not to let it bother you, it probably wouldn't make much difference in how you feel.
Yeah, I think people in the South (Little Rock, Arkansas in my case) are generally more "relaxed" and less likely to be in-your-face aggressive and rude than some other places I've been like Boston (where I went to college for 4 years), San Francisco, NYC, Chicago, etc. Drivers seem pretty nice, usually...like there isn't much aggressive horn honking going on like in Boston. So strangers are less in-your-face rude, but not really friendlier or more helpful than anywhere else in the country or the world. And I've lived in Arkansas my entire life except college, but I've traveled to a lot of places too.

I have no idea what people are talking about when they talk about "Southern hospitality." I've never experienced it.

Although I definitely HAVE experienced in-your-face aggression and rudeness from strangers here in Little Rock, even in the past year, and I did nothing to deserve it. That kind of thing makes me even more afraid of going out in public, even just going to the store to get groceries. Sometimes I'm afraid to leave my apartment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Serious question, should I wear the glasses out in public? Or do they look bad (nerdy, dorky, whatever)? I've always been self-conscious about the glasses, even when I was a teen. Around here in my city I often take them off when I go in to a store or doctor, partly because I'm afraid they think I look dorky, but I also don't want to see peoples' facial expressions when they look at me (I'm near-sighted, so when the glasses are off I can't see people frowning at me, etc.).
 

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I was once asked in a bar if I always looked that gloomy and depressed. I was shocked at the time but she was right. Sometimes I do look like that. especially when I'm nervous which is a lot of the time.

I personally don't see anything wrong with your face and that is also a genuine honest reaction, trust me. Obviously a smile would make it look more approachable but if you have nothing to smile for then it is hard to force one.
In theory you have no reason to feel uncomfortable about the way you look but that is not how it works unfortunately. I quite resemble you but I'm bald.
 

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I got those comments by strangers. I can't smile, even if I tried, and I have a miserable resting face. That's why I'm glad wearing a mask has kinda become normal, I don't have to think about if I look too miserable, or worry about getting those comments.
 
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