6 Things to Do Instead of Smiling When a Stranger Tells You To

As a woman/non-robot person who has normal emotions ranging from happy to sad, I know I’ve encountered my fair share of men on the street who see me not smiling. Often times they’ll offer words of encouragement like “Hey! Smile!” or words of concern like “Hey! Why aren’t you smiling?” You should never feel obligated to smile back. However, you do want the stranger to know that you’ve heard him. So here are some things you can do in response instead of smiling.

1. Say “I’m trying.”

Then make the creepiest grimace your face can muster and yell, “Is this what you wanted? Do you like me now?! Do you? Do you?!” This lets the stranger know that they are not a magician, wizard, or person harboring special powers your smile and they cannot summon a smile.

2. Say “I don’t know how!”

This lets the stranger know that you wish you could smile, but you just don’t have the muscle memory.
**Important Note: Do not, under any circumstances, apologize for not being able to smile. You don’t owe this stranger anything!

3. Say “okay!”

Then proceed to cry. This will show the stranger that you’re sad.

4. Repeat the phrase back to them.

Then you’ll both have a good laugh. But make sure you don’t smile when you’re laughing, you can’t give them the satisfaction of seeing your teeth.

5. Tell them you don’t smile for less than $1,000 bucks.

Bonus-they just might give you the money! Downside-you’ll have to smile 🙁 But with $1,000 that smile will be real 🙂

6. Stare at them blankly.

This is an easy option, but it really gets the job done. The job being discomfort.
**For those that love to multitask, try multiple options at once. It’s a challenge, but the payoff is worth it, and feels better than any smile ever could.

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