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Have you ever been in a situation where you smiled at your neighbours in the lift or at the barista at your favourite cafe but they don’t seem to smile at you back? Or even during instances when you don’t smile back because you can’t tell if the person is smiling or not, mainly because their smiles are covered by the masks they’re wearing? We’ve all been there!

To detect or to ‘display’ better smiles while we’re masked, we need to look back to our younger days. So much younger, like when we were just a baby! Interestingly, we all know when babies are smiling even though their lips may be blocked by a pacifier or their milk bottles. It’s all in their small little cute eyes!

Smiling baby
Image: iStock

Eye see you

According to Paul Ekman, a psychologist who studies facial expression, a ‘true enjoyment smile’ is described as having ‘laugh lines area of the face, with the eyes narrowing and crinkling’. A genuine smile engages the muscle called orbicularis oculi around the eye too.

Always remember to maintain eye contact to engage with the other person! Looking down could mean that you have no desire to communicate. Eye contact and nodding will register positive responses from the other person. Thus, making your masked smile more believable!

Besides these signs, people can also “hear” when someone smiles. When you smile, the shape of your mouth changes. As a result of that, your voice becomes brighter! So to know if someone is happy while talking to you while masked, just listen to their pitch.

Body Language

Your body language plays an important part too. Refrain from blocking your body by folding your arms. Instead, tilt your head to the side. This is to show compassion when talking to someone. 

While it is important to mask on and prevent the virus, there’s only one thing that should spread – our infectious beam! 

Still not convinced that you can smize perfectly? You probably should get one of these quirky smiley masks then!

smiley mask
Image: The Travel Magazine

Happy World Smile Day!

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