I am in one of these inevitable Zoom meetings, and in one of the windows is – well, I hate to write it but if I do, you know immediately what I am talking about: a Resting Bitch Face.
It scares me. Did I say something wrong? What if I had worn something a little more professional? Or had a haircut and put on more makeup? Does she expect the meeting to turn into a disaster? Does she know something that I don’t know yet but that will be revealed when she speaks up? I wonder what secrets I need to be worried about.
Have you ever been in this kind of meeting?
Has your mind made up a lot of stories?
When it is my turn to say something, I fumble. It is her fault; if she wasn’t so —uaargggh! I could have been more eloquent. I could have made a better impression.STOP!
The described narrative contains two basic errors:
All the stories are my assumptions. I shouldn’t assume I know what is going on in another person. These are stories I tell myself. What goes on for her may have nothing to do with me. Or the meeting agenda. Perhaps she didn’t sleep well? Perhaps her kid is sick? Perhaps she is neither tired nor worried, just concentrated and listening? All it takes is me asking: “What is going on for you right now?” She didn’t make me do anything. I took a data point, ran with it, as usual to the worst place possible, and reacted from wherever my story took me.
Although this is my story it is not the part where I use “I” above. I am RBF. The rest is more or less made up as I don’t know what goes on in other people’s heads and don’t want to make too many assumptions.
I do, however, know how an RBF impacts me where I don’t expect to see one – and then I usually let it go because the person can just be wearing their thinking face – like me… But I do know from feedback that I have impacted others by not smiling.
Having grown up in a non-smiling culture, I often look RBFed if I don’t pay attention to my body language.
I know – but I still don’t like to be told – that I am prettier when I smile. We are all prettier when we smile, not just the women. But I have yet to hear a man being told that he should smile more.
In many countries, people are not concerned if I don’t smile because everybody rests their faces as well. There is even a T-shirt picture joke going around on Facebook “this is my resting Dane face – I am not angry”. When we don’t rest our faces, we feel about as authentic as Barbie in Toy Story (if you haven’t seen Toy Story, the scene to watch is here.⤵︎
The easiest remedy is for me to only attend Zoom meetings with people who know me. Then the problem often seems to disappear.
Or I could get a T-shirt.