April 14, 2010
Coming to this country, fake smiles at every corner made me feel awkward. It took me a while to get used to. Six years later I visited my home and stopped by in Russia as well. There I worked for a while and soon I noticed how the gloomy environment started to take toll on me. After a brief analysis, I figured out the culprit: No smiles on people's faces. None whatsoever.
Yes, the people were authentic. If they felt blah, it showed on their faces.
Then I asked myself - what's better, to carry a fake smile or an authentic frown?
Psychologically, even a fake smile produces good-feeling hormones. So does looking at a smile. It doesn't negate the underlying pretense; however, visual cues have also a profound effect on human perception. The more we smile, the more we get used to it and the more natural it becomes.
I concluded that if I had to choose only between an authentic frown or a fake smile, I'd choose a fake smile.