By: Kaleigh Nobbe, Clinical Intern
Our face has a lot to say, even when words escape us. You may have had someone ask if you’re sad or angry when you’re just looking into the abyss, relaxed and unaware of the happenings around you. That blank expression can be seen as what many are calling the “RBF” or “resting b**** face.” The intent is not to offend, and yet the facial relaxation doesn’t always give off the welcoming expression to encourage people to come talk to us.
I can’t (or more accurately won’t) change my face structure so what can I do?
How can I become more approachable, so others don’t run?
Short answer: Practice.
One way we can practice is by being mindful of what our body is saying to others. Maybe the graphics on our clothing is frightening to some. Perhaps the speed at which we walk says we are late. Our back could be turned to someone to demonstrate that we are closed off to another personal entering our conversation.
Another way to practice is by watching your expressions in the mirror. Often, a blank face that may be assumed to be neutral will still be mistaken as some level of “upset.” The mouth is pulled downward by gravity and the brows rest in their natural zone, a place where they can feel heavy in the center. Can you feel it? Now, try to gently raise your brows – not to show surprise, but where your eyes feel more open and aware. Then, a quarter smile – lift the corners of your mouth just enough to lift the cheeks and bring comfort to the room. These small changes can be helpful steps to welcome others into our space without yet pushing us beyond our comfort zones.