Recently I had someone tell me that I hardly ever smile at work!
Yikes! I have to admit, I was a bit shocked. After all, I enjoy my job and I love the people who I work with.
Around the same time, I read a meme on Facebook about introverts. It went something like this, “I’m not angry – this is my thinking face.”
After that, I spotted an article in the New York Times about – “I’m not mad. That’s just my resting bitch face.’
It was at that moment I realized – Oh crap! – I think I have one of those.
In my situation, I do need to smile more so here are my tips on how to do just that. You don’t have to be an introvert or have ‘resting bitch face’ to find these helpful. Just for the record, I don’t agree with everything in the NY Times article but it was an interesting read.
My problem is when I’m concentrating to get something done (which let’s face it, is most of the time at work) I don’t smile. In fact, I think I might even frown occasionally.
Like any problem, the first step to fixing it is self-awareness. Next step is to change behavior.
I know it sounds strange but you might have to practice smiling more. Start simple like smiling at people when you see them in the staff kitchen or smiling at reception when you walk past.
Make it a habit
I know the practicing idea probably sounded a bit weird but there is a reason for it.
The more you smile, the more it will become a habit. We can train ourselves with repetition to act a certain way. Once smiling more is a habit, you’ll do it without even thinking.
Make a habit of smiling when you greet people
You know that time in the morning when people are strolling into the office and saying good morning and hello to everyone, this is the perfect time to hit them with a smile.
I know it’s a lot to ask before your first cup of coffee (tea in my case) but give it a try.
Of course this doesn’t have to only apply in the mornings. Whenever you meet someone for a meeting, drinks, lunch, coffee give them your best smile.
Make sure you smile at your family. The people we are most familiar with are often the ones that get neglected.
Be aware of your surroundings
Basically this means don’t live in a bubble without realizing what is going on around you.
You don’t have to join into every social event but at least smile and show some enthusiasm.
One thing that will definitely help is to put your mobile phone away more. If you are constantly staring into your phone, you’ll miss stuff going on around you. This applies for in and outside of work.
Don’t spend so much time inside your head
This is where it gets tricky for us introverts. We like spending time in our head. It’s a perfectly lovely place to hang out. Just because we aren’t smiling every second, doesn’t mean we are not happy!
It can also be misinterpreted by other people, particularly the loud, out there, always talking extroverts.
As a blogger and writer, I am often thinking of ideas for my next post or eBook, so I realize sometimes I might look like I am far, far away. Consequently, I may come across as distant.
There is nothing wrong with spending time in your head, but as with everything else a little balance goes a long way. Make an effort to connect with people as well.
Think quality connections over quantity.
Hang out more with people you like
This is the best way to start smiling your head off.
Hang out with people whose company you enjoy. No explanation required.
Don’t be so serious
Even hanging out with people you like, won’t make you smile if the topics of discussion are always serious or negative.
Yes serious discussions need to be had, but not all the time.
Sometimes we need to lighten up a little.
Smile to yourself
Yes you read that correctly. Don’t be afraid to smile to yourself.
You might have a flashback of a great memory or something incredible that happened. Don’t be afraid to smile to yourself and feel happy (this does work better when you have a private moment). Not so much in large crowded strategic meetings!
This advice from a woman who’ll be reading a book and start laughing out loud on the train!
Smile at strangers
There are a lot more people you can smile at other than just the people you work with or your friends. Throw the lady you buy your lunch from a smile or the guy who makes your coffee.
This last point isn’t really about how to smile more, it’s more about why.
Smile at people because it could make someone’s day. It will make them and you feel better. I can’t think of a better reason than that.
Do you need to smile more?
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Check out a related post – How to Laugh More