We all tend to have a particular look on our face when we are at rest or if we aren’t necessarily responding to any outside stimuli. For those who have serious faces, it is a condition that is sometimes referred to as a ‘resting bitch face’ or RBF. Some women tend to have this particular face on most of the time unless they are laughing at a joke or otherwise engaged in a conversation that would require them to smile or laugh. It also seems to run in some families, although the science behind that particular statement has yet to be proven.
As it turns out, RBF is a serious Internet phenomenon and it stretches back to the year 2009. According to Google trends, however, it really gained steam in 2013 and we have seen it in a variety of celebrity memes and other pictures. There was even a write up in the New York Times on this very subject.
Most of the focus on RBF has been negative but, as it turns out, there is another side to the story as well. Some of the women who have RBF naturally are also quite successful. In fact, some people may even consider it to be a blessing in disguise.
One interesting statement on communication is from Dr. John Lund, a public speaker and researcher. He says: “instead of communicating to be understood you have to communicate to not be misunderstood.” We could see where misinterpretation could be a serious problem.
There is also a lot of research that shows people use facial expressions and body language in communication, perhaps even more than verbal language. This was verified by psychologist Albert Mehrabian, who found that nonverbal cues were largely responsible for getting your point across when communicating with others. For women who tend to meet with negative feedback because of their non-smiling face, rising above the stigma is important.
Developing a sense of self-awareness is also important for those who suffer from RBF. The same could also be true on the subject of empathy. When a woman is misunderstood because of their body language, they need to kick things up a notch when it comes to verbal communication.
High-performing women will often channel the RBF into strategic thinking skills and leadership and it can help when tolerating stress. Of course, they also have to watch other people’s facial expressions carefully and directly proper mental energy into communicating on an ongoing basis.
As it turns out, studies have shown that the stigma behind RBF is quite real. When a woman is in the workplace, they can be subject to a negative stigma and that is especially true of women in power. It could even be that you find yourself in hot water because somebody is offended over your RBF. The same is not always true of men who suffer from the same problem.
Of course, making the switch to a bright and cheery person with a permanent smile on your face is not always going to be an option. At times, it is best just to embrace the RBF and own it. When you do so, you may just find it is one of your greatest assets.