Resting Bitch Face. RBF, for short.
Urban Dictionary, which is always the expert on these sorts of matters, defines it as “A person, usually a girl, who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to.” And despite the unfortunate sexism in the term, it’s totally a real thing. We all know someone that suffers from it.
And if that person is you, you know what a strain it is. People constantly think you’re angry at them, or silently judging them, when really you're just staring into space. It’s tiring.
But there could be an upside to all this.
As pointed out in a piece on Quartz, writer Rene Paulson, who suffers from the not-so-debilitating condition, says that her experience has made her a better communicator.
She quotes researcher and public speaker Dr. John Lund, who said:
Instead of communicating to be understood you have to communicate to not be misunderstood.
People with RBF are being misunderstood all the time, so they have to work extra hard on making sure they get across what they actually want to say, in the tone they intend to.
So, it turns out, RBF has given her so much more practice in making sure people full understand what she really means.
As Paulson puts it:
Women used to being constantly misunderstood focus more on the words someone says, rather than their tone, body cues, or facial expressions, ensuring a more effective flow of information between both parties.
She also says it has helped develop a better sense of self-awareness – like when you enter a meeting at work, you're more considerate of how you come across, and make a first impression. And first impressions count.
See, there are up sides to everything, right?