How Can I Fake a Real Smile? (When I Have To)

Author: Leil Lowndes

Everyone knows there are real smiles and fake ones. And unfortunately practically everyone can sense when they are the recipient of the latter.  (As cynical as it sounds, whether for political, social or benevolent reasons, we cannot deny that giving a genuine smile is a crucial skill in today’s complicated society.)

So can you fake a real smile? Sure, if you’re expert at activating your orbicularis oculi muscle (more commonly known as crinkling your eyes) at the same time you are smiling. The problem is that more people can wiggle their ears than accomplish that formidable feat. So you need a work-around to make the recipient perceive your smile as genuine. Here it is.

When smiling at someone, let your eyes linger on his or hers at least 3 seconds longer while saying to yourself silently, “You are really special and I like you.” You must keep eye contact for the duration of this silent phrase which, if you are not fond of the recipient, can feel like a decade.

Your elongated eye contact and warm expression resulting from self talk about your affection is a powerful substitute for not being able to accomplish the Herculean task of voluntarily crinkling your eyes as you smile. 

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