I'm one of those annoying people that smiles a lot. Sometimes I don't even know I'm doing it. The vice principal of my middle school even called me Sunshine (yes, you can make fun of me for it - it's dorky, I know). Once, it backfired on me in the office setting. In a meeting someone asked me, "why are smiling so much at me?" You can imagine how hard it became NOT to smile in that meeting!
So why am I blogging about smiling? And is there really a smile index? No. Not that I know of. Although I think there should be. We are so distracted by social media these days and how our klout scores show our influence power but what about the power of a smile?
I know many people more famous than me have been lamenting the loss of human connection. This NY Times article got a lot of retweets and facebook posts. So, this is not a new revelation. However, I think it bears repeating. We don't realize the impact a simple smile can have on another person.
And, I want to be clear that I am not saying we all need to be happy 24/7. That is not realistic or genuine. At times, when I smile at someone, I'm not that happy myself. But, when I see the other person's face transform because of my smile, it makes me feel better!
Here's a little story about the power of smile that inspired me to write this posting in the first place.
Those of you that know me know I have a black labrador named Madeline. I walk and/or run with her every morning. We see a lot of people in our neighborhood. Some with dogs, some just out for a morning run or walk, some gardening or getting the paper. Because I am one of those annoying smilers, I smile at everyone and sometimes say, "hi!" or "how are you?" I've noticed that some people look surprised when I do this, which kind of makes me sad. One time I had a little contest with myself (yes, I'm a dork like that) and I said I was going to say hi to every single person I passed that morning. Again, I got some pretty surprised looks for some, and a return smile or hello from most of them.
Well, the other morning a man we see often was out on his walk and crossed the street towards us. In my head I was thinking, this is weird - he never crosses over. And then, he walked right up and say, "hi - i just have to tell you that your smile always brightens my day. We're moving out of the neighborhood so I wanted to take a moment to say goodbye and tell you I'll miss seeing you in the morning." I was very struck by this. And, no - he wasn't hitting on me. It was a genuine, innocent comment by a person that I connected with and didn't even realize how much I positively influenced with my smile.
So, what I'm saying here is, in addition to all the fancy indicies and scores for social networking, let's not forget about the power of our human interactions.
Increase your score on the smile index - flash someone those pearly whites today. See how it makes you feel. And more importantly, notice their reactions.