Ask LH: How Can I Stop Fake Smiling All The Time?

Ask LH: How Can I Stop Fake Smiling All The Time?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve recently been in many awkward formal situations, where I would have to be constantly smiling and laughing during the conversation due to the formality and respect. As a result, my mouth tend to get sore and it gets increasingly harder to smile as the conversation drags on. What can I do in such situations? Thanks, Can Smile With You

Fake smile picture from Shutterstock

Dear CSWY,

Unless you’re Meryl Streep, a fake smile is unlikely to convince, especially if it’s so big and constant that you’re getting facial cramps. Instead, try parceling your smiles out for genuine moments.

In addition to giving your muscles a break, an occasional sincere smile will actually make you look more photogenic (and by extension, more attractive and memorable). You’re a lot more likely to make a lasting impression with a sincere smile than a fake, rictus grin, even if it happens less frequently.

Of course it’s not always easy to break out a genuine smile — especially if the event is sucking your will to live. One trick is to consciously think of things that make you happy at key opportune moments. This could be anything from your baby’s first steps to your partner’s first kiss — basically, anything other than the stranger shaking your hand.

The video below provides some useful tips on how certain muscles make all the difference when it comes to flashing a a true, believable smile:

On a final note, people who do lots of awkward smiling usually aren’t doing a lot of talking — which means you’re probably being ignored anyway. Thankfully, we also have plenty of conversation tips here, here and here.

If any meet-and-greet veterans have some tips of their own, do let CSWY know in the comments section below.

Cheers Lifehacker

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  • It’s extremely hard to “fake” smile. as the video says you smile with your eye’s. If you want to try and fool someone try and nod at the same time as your fake smile. This will make it harder for someone trying to actively spot your falsified happiness.

  • Duchenne Boulgne was one of the first people to study the muscles used in real and fake smiling by stimulating them with electricity. Also, research by Paul Ekman and colleagues shows that its very very difficult to voluntarily contract the outer part of the obicularis oculi (responsible for puling the cheecks up among other things), but can contract the inner part. Also, if you want to fake smile well, smile broadly so that your cheeks wrinkle (it will make it hard to distinguish from a fake smile) because it will also wrinkle around the eyes…

  • Instead of fake smiling, try going crazy broadway style?

    Springfield, Springfield, it’s a hell of a town …

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