It’s often said that country folk are friendlier than city folk because they are more likely to smile when you pass them. With one sweeping generalization, all city dwellers are branded unfriendly based solely on their propensity to smile at strangers. If you think about it logically, there is no reason why this presumption should have any basis in fact. There are grumpy people in the countryside, and there are happy, warm-hearted souls in the city! It’s simply that in towns you are amongst a throng of people all trying to get somewhere, and smiling cheerily at everyone you see just isn’t practical. What this common generalization does demonstrate is how powerful the effect of a smile can be.
Why smiles make such an impression
Humans are social creatures, designed to live in close contact with other humans in social groups, and body language is an essential part of the communication process. We may think that with our highly developed language skills and communication technologies the importance of body language would have diminished, but far from it. It’s much harder to control body language than it is speech, and the information we transmit physically makes up a significant proportion of the communication process when we are with other people. Smiling is a sign of pleasure, happiness, enjoyment, and friendliness, all positive emotions that attract us to other people. If someone doesn’t smile, it creates the impression that they are self-absorbed and not interested in you. It makes you react defensively to protect yourself from someone who could pose a threat.
Real smiles and fakes
Simply stretching your lips in an upwards curve doesn’t convince people you’re smiling. If you smile fails to touch your eyes and make your whole face crinkle a little, anyone who sees you will know it’s a fake. If you work in customer-facing services, you will no doubt have been told to smile whenever you speak with someone. That’s all well and good, but the way to truly win customers over is to give them a genuine smile that lights up your face and makes them feel as if you are truly pleased to see them. Making eye contact and showing your teeth when you smile is one of the most positive and reassuring ways to greet people, and they will feel much more comfortable in your presence.
Looking after your smile
The benefits of smiling will be somewhat reduced if you have poor dental hygiene. You need to look after your teeth, brush and floss regularly and register with an expert practice like Solana Family Dental. Attend your check-ups and follow your dentist and oral hygienist’s advice on your tooth care routine. Ditch the cigarettes if you smoke, as they can cause yellowing of the teeth and lead to some very nasty oral health problems. The same with sweets and carbonated drinks, just watch your consumption and reduce the time that sugary substances remain in your mouth. Don’t forget your lips, too – keep them moisturized and soft, and remember to check for bits of your lunch before you head off out!
Having a lovely smile will not only have a positive effect on those around you, but it will also make you feel better and help keep your stress levels down, so get smiling today.