A lot of introverts have what I like to call “resting bitch face”. This refers to the facial expression we default to when we are concentrating, daydreaming, or focusing intensely on something. To the outside world, it might appear that we’re upset during these times. We glare, we crinkle our brows, we let our lips fall into a frown.
It’s not that we’re angry, or sad. We might be having a wonderful time frolicking through enchanted imaginary worlds in our mind. Perhaps, we’re simply observing a person or event with cat-like focus. Or maybe, just maybe, we’re ruthlessly judging those around us, and silently cursing them (just kidding, this is rarely the case).
Regardless of what we’re thinking about when we default to our resting bitch face, others are sure to misinterpret our facial expression. Some people will self-consciously assume that we’re judging them. Others will think that we are depressed. Many people, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, will take it upon themselves to ‘turn our frown upside down’.
They do this very cleverly and sneakily, by saying things like, “you should smile.”
We are left to either force a fake smile that thinly veils how annoyed we are, or try to explain why we aren’t smiling. We might say something like, “Oh, I was just concentrating on something,” or “I’m not upset, this is just my face”. Sigh.
A lot of people won’t say anything at all (thank goodness!), but will think we are intimidating, or snobby, or that we hate them. I know this because a few friends of mine have said that when they first met me they made the above assumptions because of my resting bitch face + reserved nature.
What to do?
I wouldn’t waste too much time worrying about what people think of your resting bitch face. If you’re like me, you probably save your sweet smile and lovey dovey expressions for the people who matter most to you. It’s not that you go around grimacing at everyone else, but you don’t feel the need to slap on a false smile for each person you meet.
So, let your face do its thing, even if that means you look a little bitchy, snobby, or intimidating in the process. The right people will appreciate your authenticity.