We don't need to "cheer up" ... but thanks anyway.
There are signs that you’ve got resting bitch face long before you actually realize it for yourself.
It often involves friends, family members, or even total strangers approaching and asking you if everything’s all right when you were listlessly daydreaming about the show you’ve been marathoning… Or you were riding the bus when another passenger asks what’s got you so upset.
Were you thinking about a presentation you’ve got later that afternoon, and your friend takes you aside gently and asks if things are OK with you and your boyfriend?
Maybe you’re just half asleep because you stayed up late reading a new novel, and now your mom is offering comfort food a listening ear with a concerned look on her face.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself zoned out of a conversation with a co-worker and you forgot to actively keep the half-smile plastered to your face.
All of these instances end up roughly the same way: You see them start to frown right before they ask you a question you’ve heard half a dozen times. Maybe even half a dozen times that day.
“Are you all right? You look a little… angry.”
Then you have to take the time to assure them you’re fine, check that your face is cocked into some vague semblance of a smile, and go about your day before you forget to hold the corners of your mouth up and it starts all over again.
For those of you who don’t suffer from resting bitch face, it’s when a person’s natural, at rest expression appears either bored, judgmental, or even, as its moniker describes, bitchy.
There a slew of celebrities who’ve also “suffered” from RBF, including Victoria Beckham, January Jones, Kanye West, and the poster child of never smiling herself: Kristen Stewart.
Google “Kristen Stewart smile", and the first several articles are all about how rare Bella’s grin is. Hell, even Queen Elizabeth herself is renowned for having her own regal brand of RBF—though we doubt anyone would dare tell the monarch that to her (RB) face.
Some people may look a certain way when their thoughts are occupied, and you shouldn’t just assume that a smile signifies an “all-clear” in terms of emotional stability.
Whether you have RBF or someone with it, here are 4 things that you should know:
1. We’re probably just not paying attention to our faces.
Before you approach someone—whether that someone is a friend, girlfriend, husband, family member or stranger, you need to realize that maybe they’re just not focusing on contorting the muscles in their face into the semblance of a smile. It may take fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown, but that doesn’t mean that frowning isn’t just where someone’s face naturally rests.
It’s like asking a woman if she’s pregnant. Unless you are CERTAIN, then you really just shouldn’t say anything at all. Assume they’re fine unless there are other details that lead you to believe otherwise.
2. RBF isn’t something that you need to “fix.”
Please, for the love of all that is holy, do not approach people and ask that they smile more, or inform them of the need to smile so they don’t point a sour face out at the rest of the world. A person’s smile isn’t there to light the beacon of happiness for random strangers on the street, and if they’re not smiling, maybe they’ve got good reason not to.
Besides, you’re not going to make their day better by informing them that you don’t find their face attractive unless they’re dressing it with a picture-perfect grin.
3. We’re not angry, and we’re not sad!
Someone with RBF has probably already had numerous people in their lives ask them what’s wrong, or if they’re OK. Don’t assume that someone is upset just because they’re not smiling. Maybe someone just has a natural bitchy look to their face, and that is 100% fine—but demanding to know if everything is fine is more than a bit intrusive.
RBF sufferers have their own people they unload emotional weights on, and if you have to approach and ask, then you’re probably not one of them.
4. RBF is its own form of age-defiance. No Olay lotions needed!
That’s right. Smiling might be fun to do, but it causes a little something known as laugh lines (aka wrinkles) along the sides of your mouth. So people with RBF aren’t just smart, they’re gonna stay more youthful and not develop wrinkles from laughing at the office joke Bill’s been telling every week for the last three years.