Does smiling make you look weak

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why some people don't like to smile

Many people are confused about the impression smiling leaves. Some people don't smile because they think smiling makes them weak or vulnerable. It's not uncommon for a person who wants to seem like an Alpha male to stop smiling and to even frown when they meet people.

Before i clear that confusion let me first tell you about some of the reasons that caused it. Many studies have shown that smiling can be a sign of submission. One study have shown that if an MMA fighter smiled to their opponent before a match then they are more likely to lose.

Some other studies have connected higher levels of testosterone with less frequent smiling. In one study it was shown that women tend to prefer men with angry faces over the ones with smiling and friendly faces. See Why women like angry faces.

All of these studies in addition to many others have made some people think that smiling is bad or that it makes them seem week. Let me fist begin by telling you that most of those studies are right.

And while many of those studies are saying true facts still you need to understand exactly what those studies meant in order to end your confusion.

Smiling is a communication method

Smiling is one of the popular forms of communication humans use. In my previous article Is smiling a sign of interest i said that smiling could communicate many things including interest.

A person could smile to show compassion, to appear friendly, to ease the tension in addition to many other motives. Now when you believe that smiling makes you weak you are seeing things from only one angle without realizing that the context of the situation is very important.

If you are trying to make friends then you would want to communicate to others that you are a friendly person. I said earlier that people only become friends with the ones they feel secure around. See The right way to approach potential friends.

So if your goal is to make friends then it makes a lot of sense to smile when approaching strangers in your work or school. Now does this mean that you are becoming a weak person? In fact it only means that you are a smart person who knows when to smile.

Now what if you were bullied by a person and then you smiled in response?
In such a case your smile is certainly a sign of submission because the right response in such a case would have been anger. See reasons why people bully others.

In such a case smiling was the wrong action because the context of the situation was different.

It's all about the context

Smiling on it's own never makes you weak or submissive but it only makes you a friendly person. Now when you smile in situations where you shouldn't be smiling then certainly you are acting weak.

Smile as much as you can when you meet people as long as the environment is friendly. Use your own judgement to find out when smiling is considered right and when it could be considered a sign of submission.

In short, Keep smiling :)

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