The Smile Experiment

There doesn’t seem to be enough smiling faces these days.  Maybe we can all do something to change that.  And I don’t mean adding more emojis to your Facebook posts, Tweets, and Instagram comments.

I tend to make eye contact with people.  I’ll almost always smile, too.  No one wants a stranger to make eye contact and have a grimace on their face.  I figure it lets people know they are acknowledged, “Yep, I’m in this crazy mixed up world right there with you.”   

Of course, there’s always the possibility that they are more crazy and mixed up than most and it backfires. 

So, kinda be careful and make sure that they at least appear sane first.

 

And I have had the random flip off happen.  Of course, they were smiling when they did it.

The other day, Jodi and I were going into the League City Public Library.  I made eye contact with some lady as she came out the doors.  She had a sour look on her face, but on seeing me smile, she smiled back.  A genuine smile.  Her eyes smiled.  At that moment it struck me that me smiling had induced a spontaneous unwarranted smile in another person.

I consciously smiled at each person.  But, not a forced smile.  The thought of seeing someone else’s cheeks pull up and watching their eyes instantly sparkle for just a moment really does make me smile.  That’s the thought I had in my mind each time.  The library reference desk employee certainly looked like they were having a bad day.  Eye contact and a smile and, suddenly, the dour look disappeared.

I smiled at an elderly gentleman sitting in a chair reading a book.  He smiled back and kinda gave me the double raised eyebrows and wide eyes with the smiley frowny smile as if to say, “Yep, I know that secret, too.  Not sure about it either.”

It was an experiment in human connectivity.  Like it or not, we all crave connection.  Even if it’s only for a fleeting moment going through automatic doors at a library.

Next time you are out and about, perform an experiment.  Smile.  Smile for no reason at all.  Think about smiling for no reason and it’ll make you smile.  And share with your neighbors.  Look them in the eyes and smile.

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