I smile a lot. People tend to notice. I never noticed that I smiled more than other people, but people always comment on it. When I smile, people often make assumptions that are often wrong. I wanted to address some of these because being judged is not my favorite thing. I have people assume certain ideas about me that I usually don’t address at the moment. I am not a fan of confrontation (a different issue). Granted, some things that people assume, it’s reasonable, and I get it. I don’t get mad when people assume things. I just want to explain that sometimes there’s something more. Sometimes smiles mean more than what you think.
1. I’m happy.
People equate smiling with being happy, which of course makes sense. Then people tend to assume that I’m happy ALL the time. What they don’t know is that I have depression and anxiety. I tend to smile as a defense mechanism or to make others comfortable. If I don’t know a person well, I’m not going to act on my depression and anxiety in front of them. Even if I’m having an awful day, I still smile at people. When people then tell me how great it is that I smile all the time, I just say thanks. In reality, I feel like a fake. I feel as if people would be disappointed if they knew, in fact, I struggle with depression and anxiety every day. So I just continue smiling, but please know my life is, of course, not perfect. I am not happy all the time. I have struggles, just like most people. Sometimes when I smile I am happy, other times, it’s a disguise for something else.
2. I’m ignorant or naive.
This does relate to the first assumption. If I’m happy all the time, I must be ignorant. I must not know what is happening in the world or how people are. It’s naive to become excited about small and trivial things because you should be looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes people even make fun of me for being happy or getting excited. I know about world issues, and I know about how people can be. I become excited about small things because I don’t want to be pissed off all the times and like remembering the smaller things in life. Why I smile is explained above. It’s easy to judge someone on small interactions and think you have them figured out. Most people are more than what you are assuming.
3. I’m friendly.
I smile so I must be nice. Okay- granted this mostly true. I think I am a nice person and I want to be friendly to others. I know how it feels to be an outsider and I think people deserve a friendly face and most of the time that’s exactly what I mean. Sometimes, though, I am just smiling to be polite. Sometimes I am reading a book, and you walk in and try saying something, I smile to you, but in reality, I want you to leave so I can read. Sometimes people say something awkward and uncomfortable, and I smile because I don’t know what else to say. When I smile, people think I want to engage with them. Maybe it would be better if I could be more upfront about things, but I’m just not good at that. I swear I’m friendly and will always be nice – but sometimes I’m annoyed. I’m more than happy to engage with you even when I’m annoyed but sorry if I’m smiling and I don’t seem friendly.
4. I like you.
Like I said before, I tend to be a kind person. I give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I don’t enjoy liking people, especially if they are in my life for a reason or another. I do my best to get past it. I WANT to like you, so I smile at you. I may very well know that you don’t like me, but I’m still going to be nice. Please don’t assume that I’m being a fool and not getting the hint and I should just be mean back. I don’t like that. I may still smile at you even when I don’t like you, but trust me that means I’m TRYING to.
Again, to clarify, I understand why people assume these things. I just felt the need to explain, just to get a different point of view of what could be happening.