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Serious young woman angry with friend

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Ever walk through the mall while window-shopping or making purchases and get greeted by a stranger with, “Smile, pretty lady” or “What’s wrong?” and become instantly dumbfounded? I mean, you’re just minding your business, enjoying the day, right Maybe others have told you they thought you were mean or stuck up until they got to know you.

Well, this could be a sign that you suffer from “Resting Bitch Face.” This is your normal facial expression when you’re not smiling, amused or even bothered but your face mistakenly says you’re angry or irritated. Here are some things your facial expression can mistakenly convey to others even though those things are not true.

You are not approachable

You’re at your desk working, head down in deep thought, but the minute someone approaches you, you smile and may even crack a joke. In reality, you’re a pretty cool chick. Coworkers don’t know this because they don’t feel comfortable enough to approach you. If your face is balled up like you’ve just smelled rotten eggs, coworkers will certainly steer clear in fear of getting their heads chopped off.

You don’t work well with others

In a meeting, a team member may suggest an idea and you’ve started to calculate in your head how much it will cost or ways it could benefit your productivity but your face says “WTF.” The team’s perception of you becomes less of “She’s the perfect person to help me sell this new product to leadership,” and more “She wants everything her way and doesn’t respect others’ viewpoints.”

You are insubordinate

During an assigned research project, you feel your supervisor has overlooked a potential risk but you’ve been told to proceed anyway because the risk is calculated. The look on your face could pierce the heart of a dragon, which gives your supervisor the impression that you won’t move forward as directed. In actuality, you’re happy the weight of delivering bad news to executive leadership during an evening meeting has now been eliminated and your biggest fear is whether or not you’ll still make it to happy hour on time.

Nonverbal communication can either validate or contradict how you feel about something. It is especially important to be mindful of how this can affect your advancement in the workplace. Try smiling more at work even if you don’t agree with a concept. Keep a mirror at your workstation so you can do quick self-checks throughout the day. If you don’t think you look happy or pleasant, neither will others. Exude positivity in everything you do.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers find the career of their dreams by creating the perfect resume, providing interview preparation and career coaching. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via


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Is ‘Resting Bitch Face’ Holding You Back At Work?  was originally published on