I smile a lot. As Buddy Elf said, smiling is my favorite. I smile first thing in the the morning when I open my eyes to start my day right. On a typical day I try to smile at everyone I encounter. Oh, who am I fooling? I don’t really try to smile at everyone. It just happens, even without trying. It’s just the way I am programmed.
When I greet others with a smile one of two things always happens.
1. The other person responds with a great smile.
I love it when people smile back. When this happens the world improves. When my smile generates a smile in another person I enjoy a huge return on my investment. It feels as if I have more friends and fewer foes. I see others in the best light. A shared smile means we are more likely to talk to each other. More likely to develop a significant relationship. And more likely to know if the other person has spinach in their teeth.
2. The other person does nothing.
A surprising percentage of the time when I smile at someone I get nothing in return. No smile. No smirk. No Mona Lisa impression. Nothing. When the non-response happens it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I always think it is funny. As if the person is facial expression illiterate.
The lack of a return smile is rarely if ever about me. It is about the other person, and what they are or are not prepared to give. I don’t feel shunned, rejected or ashamed. I simply think, that person either can’t smile right now or doesn’t know how. When this happens I move on and smile at the next person. And the person after that. And the person after that. Because you can’t let an unreturned smile impact the next person you see.
Share your smile with others. It is one of the most valuable gifts you can give another person. Don’t worry if they don’t know what to do with it. Most people do. Most people deeply appreciate it. Smile for them. And for yourself. Do what you know is right, and don’t worry about those who get it wrong or take it wrong. Some people don’t know how to play smile tennis. Just keep serving them aces.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.