Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's Okay to Smile


While putting the last box in the back of the car it hit me. I’m going to have to make all new friends when I get there. As I moved out of my parents’ house that day to start my college life in the dorms, I told myself not to worry too much about it. I figured that making friends would happen naturally on its own, which it eventually did.


But in the beginning it was hard. I found myself not knowing what to say to people, and no one went out of their way to talk to me. When I spoke to my mom about this she suggested I smile and make eye contact with people.

At the time I had no idea why she suggested this or what the outcome would be. Having nothing to lose I decided to take her advice, but it didn’t work. One specific morning while walking from the dorms down to the campus; I decided to smile at everyone I made eye contact with. I got a few smiles in return, but those were overshadowed by the many eye rolls and quick once-overs I received.



Did I miss something, when did it become a crime to smile?

This was the first time I was experiencing life outside of my comfort zone. And the fact that I was trying to be nice and was not getting a positive response caused me to stop trying my mom’s suggestion. It really bothered me that people were acting so cold toward a simple smile. It was then that I decided to never smile at strangers, unless they did it first.

It was like I had taken on a new persona while in college. I would mean mug everyone I didn’t know. But in making the choice to act like that, I didn’t realize I was allowing the negativity of other people to shape my personality.

It wasn’t until after graduation and the start of my new advertising job that I realized the lasting affect a smile can have. When I met my co-workers I found myself being friendlier and more open to those that greeted me with a smile on my first day. Those smiling faces made me feel comfortable in my new work environment.
That experience taught me it’s okay to smile. It showed me that smiling at someone you don’t know is important because a smile is often the first and only impression you leave with someone.  It can also be the determining factor as to why people choose to deal with you or not.


I now understand why my mom suggested I smile at people as a way to make friends. I just wish I wouldn’t have let the negative responses turn me off from smiling. Even if people weren’t receptive towards it; instead of taking on their unpleasant demeanor, I should have kept smiling. Because a smile really does go a long way.




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