We know that people make pretty quick judgements on other people within milliseconds of looking at them, but what this means can have some pretty real consequences. A study that was recently published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology took a look at how women respond to men’s smiles, with some interesting results.
Basically what they found is that women who are looking for serious relationships tend to go for men who smile more, why women who are looking for something more casual tend to think they’ll get it from the guy who looks like a brooding bad boy with no smile in sight.
The study asked 218 women to look at photographs of men who were either smiling or who had a neutral expression on their face. They were then asked to rate the men on a scale that determined how they felt about them having the potential for a serious future or whether they just saw them as casual in nature. A separate group of 71 women was showed the same photos and then asked to rate the guys on how trustworthy and how masculine they appeared.
Of course, the guys who were smiling were rated as more trustworthy than the guys who weren’t, and trust is generally something that women try to go for when they’re looking to settle down. The guys with neutral expressions were seen as more masculine, and when a gal is looking for some simple action she’s going to look for it from the guy who looks like he can deliver it.
But don’t think that simply choosing your facial expressions can help you to manipulate a situation if your face doesn’t match your intentions. Women have been found to be particularly good at knowing when smiles are fake, more so than men are. There are only two muscles involved in the actual smile itself, but we use our entire faces to express ourselves, so when there’s a disconnect between the eyebrows and the smile for example, or the expression in your eyes and your smile, she’s going to know that something is up even if she can’t put her finger on it.
This probably isn’t something to think about too much, since what are you going to do if you’re just naturally one way or the other. But if you tend to attract girls with similar intentions, this might be why. Interestingly, while men can be viewed as appealing in different ways depending on whether they smile or not, for women not so much. Women who are smiling are often seen as sexier and more flirtatious, even when they are just trying to be polite. Women who aren’t smiling are often perceived as being less happy an approachable, instead of just in a slightly more serious moment.
Don’t let an unsmiling woman keep you from approaching her, you never know when simply talking to you will get you the grin you were hoping for.