Smiling helps you make friends. Having a smile on your face is a really attractive quality. According to some anthropologists, smiling is an evolutionary trait that shows one is not aggressive. It is actually claimed by some researchers that smiling evolved out of a facial expression that was the exact opposite of hostile facial expressions. So a smile is an evolutionary trait that can help us make friends.
Yet, there are a lot of people who do not like to smile. It is as if they believe that if they smile for even one second, it can lead to the end of the world and life as we know it.
Smiling is important, and having a smile on your face has plenty of benefits for your social life. Smiling also apparently may have some benefits for your health, and other areas of your life indirectly. But I am only going to highlight two of the advantages it can bring, more specifically, two reasons how smiling helps you make friends.
1) Smiling makes it easier for people to introduce themselves to you at a social gathering
If you are at a party or a social event where you do not know anyone, having a smile on your face will make it easier for others to introduce themselves to you.
You don’t have to smile at random people. But just having a small smile, or slightly happy look on your face, can cause someone at a party who is trying to decide who to introduce themselves to, to choose you. Having people talking to you is the initial step in building a friendship. This is the first way that smiling helps you make friends.
Think about it: Imagine that you are at a social event. You have decided that you are going to meet new people and will take the initiative and introduce yourself to someone new today. Who would you pick to walk up to and introduce yourself to? The person with a smile and happy look on their face, who looks like he is happy with himself and his life? Or, the person with the grumpy, angry look on his face?
Smiling helps make friends as it causes us to look more approachable
2) Friends more likely to want to spend time with you if you are smiling
Having a smile on your face does not just increase the chances of people introducing themselves to you. It can also cause people who are already your friends to be more likely to want to spend time with you.
When you are spending time with friends, if you have a smile on your face, it makes them feel happier as well. We tend to feel the emotions of the people around us. If we are with people who are depressed all the time, we will start to feel depressed as well. If on the other hand, we spend time with people who are happy a lot of the time, we start to feel happy as well.
You do not even need to feel happy so that others will feel better around you, although this is a bonus. If you have a smile on your face, this will still cause others to feel happy around you.
One of my close friends has a habit of smiling quite often. A lot of the time whenever I see him, he is smiling and happy. This causes not just me, but other people as well, to want to spend more time with him.
When we are already friends with someone, if they are happy, it makes us want to spend more time with them. This is the second way smiling helps make friends, as it helps in maintaining friendships.
Think about it: If you were going to call a friend to spend time with you, would you feel more comfortable and confident calling a friend who is happy and likes to smile? Or would you be more likely to call the friend that is always angry?
Don’t smile too much!
You don’t want to overdo this and smile too much. Or be smiling when people are talking about something bad or unfortunate that happened to them. But smiling a little more than usual if you are the type that never smiles, can make a big difference in your social interactions.
Homework to understand how smiling helps make friends
Exercise to reflect on: Reflect on past experiences where you have spent time with your friends who smile, how do you FEEL around them? How do you think other people FELT around them? As a result of doing this reflection, you will better understand the impact smiling has.
These people who smiled, did they smile too much? Do you think it is possible to smile too much? There are different levels of smiling, that have different effects on the people around you. It varies depending on the social situation you are in, and which part of the world you are in.
Pay attention to the people around you. Reflect on and think about their social behaviour and the effect it has on those they interact with. This is the best way to learn how to communicate with others, not just for smiling, but other social skills as well.