Usually, smiling indicates a positive, approachable and likeable person. It can send your attraction levels soaring from the perspective of another and create an emotional, often subconscious, reaction within them.
But do all smiles have this effect? Is a simple smile really going to instantly up your attractiveness? Well, it depends. The type of smile you give and the situation you give it in, can make a difference to how it’s interpreted.
A smile can also make you less reliable
Yes, research has found that people who smile more are considered more attractive and likeable. While those who give the impression of looking sad tend to be seen as less approachable. It could be a case of face shape and the mouth naturally sitting in a down-mouth expression. When we’re not consciously thinking about smiling or actually feeling inner sadness, our faces can send out the signal of keep away.
But the opposite can also be a problem. If you smile too much, say in a formal situation such as a business meeting, you can actually come across as being less reliable.
So how can we smile in the right way and at the right time to give the best impression?
Human brains can’t really differentiate if a smile is fake or real most of the time
When it comes to social situations, you can never really smile too much. This is because your aim is to exude your confidence and positivity towards others. It’s a type of human bonding in order to carry on interactions and become part of the pack.
If you’re a person who often gets comments about always looking angry, sad or standoffish, it can be frustrating especially when you’re not particularly feeling those emotions as you go through your day.
The key is to practice fake smiling. It may sound ridiculous but most people can’t actually differentiate fake smiles from real ones in an ongoing interaction.
It’s been found  that the act of smiling – even if fake – tricks the part of your brain associated with happiness and releasing endorphins. The brain can’t differentiate between the physical act of fake smiling or real smiling – to your brain, it’s the same. So when you practice fake smiling the brain thinks you’re happy and if done enough times will eventually create a genuine, happy smile.
Men perceive women’s smile as “humor”
As a woman, your smile and laugh are extremely powerful in the attraction process. Of course this applies to both sexes, but a man, in particular, responds in a certain way to the positive nature of a smile and a laugh.
In a man’s mind, humor is essential in attracting a woman. If he can make her laugh he feels he’s succeeding. So, if you like a guy use this to your advantage. Smile and laugh that little bit more at his jokes if you want to increase his attraction for you.
What also happens when you smile and laugh more in a guy’s presence, is that he actually interprets your laughter as you being humorous. In other words, in his eyes you don’t have to crack hilarious jokes to be funny but actually just think his jokes are hilarious.
Different types of smile and their effects
We all want to be liked in different situations and our smile is the one simple weapon we have to achieve this. So what are the different ways we can use our smile to get optimal results?
The ‘Sideways Look Up’ Smile: Both men and women will love you
This type of smile is considered the most attractive to both men and women. For men, it evokes masculine feelings of protection while women will naturally feel warmth towards you.
Why? Because the smiler instantly comes across as child-like, playful and secretive. For men, this creates parental male feelings making them want to care for you and this can be the basis of attraction between potential couples. It’s coy and a people-pleaser which is why Princess Diana, who naturally used this type of smile, was able to captivate the hearts of the people.
Want to Appear Open? Avoid The ‘Tight-Lipped’ Smile
Think back to situations when someone’s smile has evoked a feeling of uneasiness. Most times their smile has been tight-lipped – concealed teeth and lips stretched tight across the face.
Depending on whether you’re a man or a woman, you may interpret this differently. Women tend to use this much more and are usually a sign they are trying not to reveal their true, often negative, feelings. Other women tend to interpret this as a sign of rejection or a withheld opinion causing them to become cautious. Men, on the other hand, can be more oblivious to its meaning.
If your intention is to remain mysterious and promote a sense of curiosity in another person then this type of smile may work but use it with caution. Most people react better to how open you appear which will mean smiling more with your teeth showing.
Get Playful With the ‘Drop Jaw’ Smile
This kind of smile isn’t necessarily natural but if done in the right way will allow you to appear like you’re laughing and more playful.
When you smile, simply drop your jaw down by opening the mouth up more. You may have seen this technique in clowns usually using face paint to exaggerate the open smile.
There are certain situations where using this type of smile can be to your benefit. If you want to come across as more friendly – say, as a boss wanting to be more open and friendly to your staff – this is the perfect technique. However, be aware that using the drop-jaw smile in a more authoritative setting is best to be avoided as it gives off the wrong impression and could make people believe you’re not to be taken too seriously.
So try to be more aware of your smiling. Ask yourself do you smile enough? If not practice fake smiling. Think about the situations and how your smile is being interpreted. Being aware of using the right smile at the right time can significantly increase your social, romantic and career goals.
|||^||Clark University: Keep smiling: Enduring effects of facial expressions and postures on emotional experience and memory|