As someone who has had resting bitch face for as long as she can remember, I’m happy it’s broken through popular culture’s fleeting fame and into our everyday rhetoric. I no longer feel misunderstood. I can now bond with fellow RBFs and laugh about shared experiences. Less people approach me and tell me to “smile more.” But there is one thing I cannot seem to shake, and it’s being constantly asked the question: “What’s wrong?”
Now, this comes in many forms. It can be a polite “Everything okay?” or a concerned “What’s the matter? You look upset.” It can even be an aggressive “Cheer up!” All of them end in extreme annoyance from me. Why? It just means people are concerned and want to make sure you’re having fun. And while I’m sure they mean well, I feel like I have to constantly validate my enjoyment of everything, which then turns my RBF into very real annoyance.
It’s not my fault that whenever I’m deeply focused, spaced out or just observing a scene my natural expression evolves into a vacant look and furrowed brow. I’m sorry I don’t walk around sporting a huge smile like a creepy android that just learned how to be human. I’m sorry if my face doesn’t meet your expectations of what a person is supposed to look like when having fun. But I refuse to change it to make you feel more at ease.
Because, while I know you just want to make sure everything is alright, I shouldn’t have to put on a song and dance to let you know it. I refuse to overstate how fun a party is, or how lovely the restaurant is or how much I’m enjoying our conversation. The fact that I like you enough to keep showing up and staying out and chatting should indicate my enjoyment of the night. I’m not going to be fake about it.
What people may not realize is that being constantly pestered about your mood becomes taxing. I don’t like having all eyes on me. I feel uncomfortable when people are concerned about me, especially when I feel fine. It stresses me out. It makes me second guess myself and overthink the way I socialize.
So I’m letting you know now, sincerely and truly, I like your company—so stop worrying about me. I promise I’m enjoying myself. I swear your party is great. I’ll definitely be back next time. No, I’m not going through a hard time. No, it hasn’t been a long day. Yes, I love the venue you chose. Yes, I got along with that awkward friend of friend even though we have totally opposite political views. And for the love of god, yes—I’m A-Okay.