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Top 10 Types Of Smiles And What They Mean

Top 10 Types of Smiles and What They Mean

Do you know the Top 10 Types of Smiles and what they mean? Here it is for you. But first, let’s understand what makes the smile so special. World Smile day is on October 1st, dedicated to the ‘smile’ which is one of the most common expressions that trigger the happiness quotient in people. Traditionally, it is thought to express positive emotions like pleasure, amusement, and happiness. It is also a form of showing appreciation and acceptance. 

Across cultures, a smile is a nonverbal signal of communication to show friendliness, diffuse tense moments, and smoothen things. The yellow ‘smiley face’ we use on chat apps is universally accepted as the symbol of happiness as yellow is indicative of the ‘brightness of the sun’. Similarly, a genuine smile can brighten anyone’s day or mood, such as the power of it. However, sometimes it is also used to suppress the not happy emotions.

List of Top 10 Types of Smiles and What They Mean

People smile for many reasons; it can be a top friendship that defied boundaries, imagining a fond memory of a funny moment or seeing someone they love. This magical facial expression fascinates and captivates people. But did you know that this expression communicates many feelings? Here is a list of the top 10 different smiles and what they convey. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #1: Genuine Smile or the Duchenne smile

Top 10 Types of Smile #1: Genuine Smile

It is a true indicator of enjoyment and is shown to express excitement, elation, and other such positive emotions. It is a smile that involves more than just moving the corners of the mouth up. In a Duchenne smile, muscles around the eyes along with those around the mouth are activated. The skin folds below the eye bulges, the outer corner of the eye has crow feet, and there is movement in the lower eyelids. In contrast, a fake smile does not have changes around the eye muscles, and the movement around the lip is the same as a genuine smile.

Top 10 Types of Smile #2: Polite Smile

It is one of the most common smiles which people often dispense. It is a smile where your eyes won’t shine, but the mouth smiles. It is used by people in situations which require a pleasant expression. It is used when delivering bad news, when meeting someone for the first time or when you respond in a way you know the other person won’t like. It is more of a smile for creating friendship than creating emotional bonds. Know what is surprising? As per behavioural scientists, even a year-old infant offers a false smile to a stranger while giving a genuine smile to its parents. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #3: Reward Smile

It is an expression for rewarding others or self and creating a positive feeling. It is the most intuitive type of smile you would use when you are around your baby so that they will do things you want or smile back at you. How do you recognize this smile? Simple. You feel good when the other person smiles at you. That is because there is positive reinforcement and a sense of feel-good, like a dopamine effect on you. When a person has a pleasant smile, you can see that muscles around the eyes, brows, mouth, and cheek are activated and forms a grin. Imagine the feeling of happiness when your baby smiles at you unexpectedly. That is a reward smile!

Top 10 Types of Smile #4: Embarrassed Smile

Top 10 Types of Smile #4: Embarrassed Smile

We have all been in an embarrassing situation where we react with a smile. It is characterized by a tilt of the head downwards and the shifting of gaze away. Unfortunately, these are quick and tight smiles that do not last long as it is done in discomfort. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #5: Dominance Smile

Ever felt threatened by someone smiling? The other person may be using the Dominance smile to make you feel so. People use this expression to show power, status, and superiority. It is a way to make the opposite person inferior and weak. Sometimes it is more of a sneer than a smile, and it actually works. In a dominant smile, the lip curls, one side of the mouth goes up, and the other side is pulled down. As per research, the person at the receiving end of the smile has higher stress levels and a faster heart rate after this encounter. So that threat you felt despite a smile was not a figment of your imagination; it is the body responding to it. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #6: Social Smile

Top 10 Types of Smile

A social smile is also called an affiliative smile as it acts as a social connector. It is used to show good intentions, reassure someone or show trustworthiness. It is also done to display your friendliness and is done as a courtesy to those around you. It is a smile that is expressed without showing the teeth and pulling up the pressed lips. Here the eyes around the muscles are not activated, and they are called non-enjoyment smiles for a reason. These are strained smiles that you give when you meet a neighbour who has just moved in or a person on the street who makes eye contact.

Top 10 Types of Smile #7: Flirty Smile

Top 10 Types of Smile #7: Flirty Smile

Want to catch the attention of that special someone but don’t know how to do it? Use the flirty smile. Depending on the style and personality, the flirty smile can be an eyebrow lift with lips together in a slight smile or a smile with head bent slightly down. But make sure to convey the message or read the signals properly; else, you may have to end up having to use the embarrassed smiley!

Top 10 Types of Smile #8: Lying Smile

If you are looking to become a good liar or trying to master concealing your feelings, then don’t smile. Because a lying smile is a giveaway that can get you caught. The biggest culprit, as per physiatrists, is the zygomaticus muscle. The actions of this muscle are associated with negative emotions like sadness, contempt, etc. So when this muscle is activated, it means you are lying. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #9: Wistful Smile

This is a smile used when there is a conflict of emotions, mainly of happiness and sadness. The skill of human beings is the ability to smile through emotional and physical pain. As per health experts, this ability helps the grieving process and recovery. That is probably one of the reasons why people smile in the presence of loved ones while undergoing a painful procedure and reassure them that everything is ok. 

Top 10 Types of Smile #10: Dampened Smiley

When someone is trying to downplay the intensity of the happy feeling, it results in a dampened smile. It is usually practised in countries and cultures where showing excessive emotions is not encouraged. For example, in Japan people smile with eyes rather than lips. In a dampened smile, the mouth is downwards, but the cheeks are raised.

Action speaks louder than words, and smiling is one such action that conveys many things with that one expression. Knowing these different types of smiles helps you be more aware and navigate situations better, enabling you to avoid unintentionally hurting people using the wrong smile type. Additionally, a genuine smile is one life hack that is sure to make you and others around you happier. Why not try it out today!

4 thoughts on “Top 10 Types Of Smiles And What They Mean”

  1. One doesn’t realize how many smiles there are for different types of situations. But when you really think about it, you start to see how often you smile for different things throughout your life. Awesome post!

    1. Thanks much JoJo! Yes, there are different types of smiles and most often we do not realise what it means. Glad you like it.

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