Help, I suffer from chronic bitchface
October 13, 2013 1:38 PM Subscribe
How do I seem more approachable in social settings without being a total fake?
posted by thank you silence to human relations (41 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Last night I was out with some friends and friends of those friends, when a guy from the latter group came over and asked why I was scowling. This is not unusual, because over my lifetime I have been asked plenty of times why I was upset or mad when in reality I was just staring into space or lost in my own thoughts. I think my default face is set to "scowl," especially when out in bars and such because if I'm not engaged in conversation or listening to live music I am probably people watching or thinking about everything I need to do the next day.
This guy informed me that the way I was sitting, with arms crossed and feet propped up on a chair, was making me unapproachable. I told him that I was tired (after participating in a 6 mile obstacle course earlier that day, in which he also participated) and that meeting people at bars was just not my thing but I was with a group of friends who were interested in meeting guys and whatnot. I became interested in his assessment of me since like I said, people always think I am angry when I'm not, so I thought maybe I should get an objective opinion of how I come across.
Guy said I needed to smile more, get out there and dance, make eye contact and gently compliment men who approach me because if a guy approaches me, he's putting himself on the line and I should acknowledge his effort. He did make one interesting point: no one particularly likes the shallow, small talk mating rituals of the bar scene but everyone puts up with it so they can eventually get past the small talk and on to a first date.
I am conflicted for several reasons. First, my instinct is to reject the notion that I am required to appear pleasant and sweet and smile at men like some sort of decorative plaything. I usually visit bars for a purpose: either meeting someone there or watching live music. I hardly ever go out with a group of friends and wait to be hit on. However, I realize that being more approachable can only benefit me. It's not like I intend to go out and scowl all night and give the impression that I'm a miserable bitch. I am not into small talk nor am I into meeting people at bars, but maybe it would be good for me to work on social skills that seem to be required in your 20s. I'm sure there are some interesting folks out there among all the superficial alcohol-soaked flirting that I apparently just don't understand. I am not particularly looking for a relationship but am not opposed to one either. I feel that through work, church, and a few hobbies that I am in contact with plenty of people, and maybe I am unknowingly giving off the impression that I am not to be messed with.
My question is this: being that I'm naturally introverted and can get lost in my own thoughts, how do I be more approachable while still being true to myself? Is there some mantra I can chant to myself so my face isn't unknowingly scowling all the time? I dislike small talk, and would rather quickly get past the what do you do and where did you study line of questioning. Sometimes I just feel like observing and not being assertive. How can I not wear myself out but still be socially graceful? Thanks in advance.