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I'm not mad: I have RBF

Uggg. The curse of RBF! Always being accused of being mad or pissed off and everyone assuming you're a bitch just because you don't have a smile plastered on your face 24/7. Who else can relate to this?

RBF has become a pretty socially recognizable acronym in today's pop culture society, but in case you're living under a rock and don't know what I'm talking about, RBF stands for Resting Bitch Face. Wikipedia defines RBF as : a facial expression that unintentionally appears like a person is angry, annoyed, irritated, or contemptuous, particularly when the individual is relaxed, resting, or not expressing any particular emotion.

It sounds funny and gets joked about a lot, but for the OG's of RBF like me it hasn't always been a laughing matter. If you suffer from RBF like I do then you know all to well what I'm talking about. If you're not smiling people assume you're a nasty bitch and write you off before even getting to know you. For years, my whole life really people have constantly asked me questions like: What's wrong? Are you mad about something? Why aren't you smiling? These questions sometimes caught me off guard or surprised me because they were being

asked when I wasn't mad or upset about anything. I had no idea that my face's resting state could be so off putting and offensive to people. By definition RBF is unintentional so how can I be expected to control what my face is doing involuntarily?

I've actually had friends tell me that they were scared to talk to me because I looked so pissed off. They obviously got past the fear enough to form friendships with me, but how many others couldn't overcome this fear of my wretched face and get to know me?

I'll never forget the meeting I attended a few years back that brought to my attention what a severe case of RBF I have. It wasn't a particularly exciting meeting. I had no strong feelings about it at all really. It didn't elicit any emotion or have any huge impact on my mood, in fact it was pretty boring. So I was very caught off guard when my new sales manager approached me at the end of the meeting and asked "Did I do something to piss you off?" "What?" I said. "No you didn't piss me off. Why?" (We had never met or spoken before so what could he have done to piss me off?). He said "You just look so damn angry I thought I did something to piss you off." "Oh. No. You didn't piss me off. I have RBF." I told him. "You have what?" he said. " I have resting bitch face. If I'm not smiling people think I'm angry." He looked at me like I was nuts, but that my explanation made sense.

One of my now closest friends overheard this conversation as well and said it all clicked for her in that moment. She told me she had wondered for years what my problem was, but as soon as she heard me say I had RBF it all made sense to her and now she is one of my best friends. Another positive result of this odd encounter was that said sales manager went on to become my mentor and one of the biggest influencers in my life. I am so glad he was one of the brave souls who wasn't too scared to approach me!

Obviously, in this circumstance these people got over there fear, talked to me and got to know me, but how many missed opportunities for friendships or relationships have there been throughout the years that I didn't even realize??? C'mon face. I thought we were on the same team. We want people to like us don't we? Quit looking all angry and pissed off so we can make friends.

It may seem silly or trivial, but if you have RBF you know that it can impact your relationships and social life. It does make you seem unapproachable and standoffish which naturally impedes people from taking the time to get to know you. It sucks, but it's understandable. Would you want to walk up to someone and start a conversation if they looked angry or annoyed? "I really want to get to know that chick that looks pissed as F. I think I'll go introduce myself." Said no one ever.

People judge us based on appearance. It's human nature. When we look at someone or something we begin to form opinions or judgements based on nothing else accept for what we see. If we do not collect additional data by approaching or talking to a person to continue to form our opinions then we can only use what we see at the surface level to make assumptions of what we believe that person to be like.

It has been engrained in us since childhood to "not judge a book by its cover." So I ask you to please not judge me by my face because it is just my "cover." Get to know me before you decide if you like me or not. Full disclosure: sometimes I am bitchy, pissed off or annoyed just not as often as my face would lead you to believe.

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