Why Do People Use Fake Smiles in Their Lives?

Why Do People Use Fake Smiles in Their Lives?

fake smiles

Smile is a universal expression of expressing happiness and this tool communicates whether you are feeling joy or warmth. A smile on your face conveys that you are happy and feeling contentment. But all the smiles are not alike, some might deceive you into thinking you’re happy. Fake smiles, facial expressions mimicking a smile, but not a genuine smile and are unable to convey the true feeling of a person.

Fake smiles often used to conceal negative emotions like sadness, anger or discomfort. When a person is experiencing a bad mood, they put on a smile in order to hide the negative emotion, for example, you might have seen some parents, who don’t show anger or frustration in front of their kids and in order to conceal it, they put on a mask of fake smile in order to deceive their kids into thinking that parents is happy or in a good mood. Fake smile also used to project a desired image of oneself like friendly, confident, trustworthy.

For example, you might have seen or gone through the interview session round for a job, in order to show yourself confident and approachable, you put a fake smile on your face. Fake smiles are difficult to detect and judge, and they have a wide range of impacts for both the individual expressing them as well as the person receiving them. This article will help you to know why do people use fake smiles in their lives and what can be the impact of using fake smiles.

Why fake smiles?

People fake smiles for a number of reasons, some may fake smile out of discomfort, while others may fake smile to portray a desired persona, it is totally situational to fake a smile. People consciously and unconsciously faked a smile, but there are a number of common reasons of fake smiling including:

Cultural Similarity:

Putting a smile on face is seen as a gesture that is highly valued in every society and it is mostly similar in every culture and society that putting a smile on a face is considered polite and friendly. And in order to fit in society, people faked smiles even if they are not feeling happy. However, this is not appropriate, one should be free to express themselves in accordance with their feelings rather than in order to fit in with society.


Smiles are used to convey genuine feelings of happiness and delight, while fake smiles serve as a means to cover emotional distress and discomfort. People rely on false smiles in order escape from the reality, bad emotions or to divert their focus away from them. However, ignoring actual feelings is not suitable, instead of ignoring one should be aware of what they are experiencing and how to express those emotions.

Impression management:

People have always tried to appear as a desirable character to society, and in order to do so, they put up a fake smile on their face. As the example discussed earlier, a job applicant put a fake smile on their face in order to conceal their nervousness and also to show confidence and approachability. The advantageous part of a fake smile is the way it helps to develop a persona that improves feelings of worth in oneself.

Default response:

Some parents raise their children in such a manner that they smile to strangers as well, and it becomes their habit of smiling regardless of their genuine emotions. Smiling to everyone and in every scenario has become their default response. Other than this, social norms and coping mechanism can be a reason behind smiling as a default response.

Genuine smile or Fake smile?

A false smile may be detected by paying attention to the individual, the facial cues are so important in order to notice a fake smile. A genuine smile may involve eye muscles and the inner corners, and it is also known as Duchenne smile, but on the other hand, a fake smile only involve mouth, this is also known as Pan- Am smile. Duration of the genuine smile is brief in comparison to the fake smile but fake smiles tend to stay for a longer period of time. A genuinely happy person smiles frequently and naturally, but a fake smile often shows up in specific situations.

Impacts of fake smile

Fake smile has a wide range of impacts on both the individual expressing them as well as the person receiving them. The individual who is faking a smile might experience the following impacts:

  • Emotional Detachment: If a person overuses fake smiling, they become separated from their true emotional state. They become used to suppressing their actual emotions and find it tough to show them off.
  • Increases Stress: Constantly faking a smile for a day long and maintaining it can be stressful and draining and one can feel burnout.
  • Lying to yourself: People who often fake smiles tend to believe that they are feeling happy while in real life, they are not. This leads to dissatisfaction in one’s life.
It also impacts the other people:
  • Confusion and mistrust: Fake smiles create a sense of confusion whether the person is actually smiling or not or trying to hide something. And such confusion usually leads to mistrust, making it harder to form deep and lasting connections.
  • Feeling manipulative: When someone manipulates a person with a fake smile, it causes the individual to feel angry and uneasy. And behaviour of faking smile can often lead to difficulty in maintaining a healthy relationship.
  • Emotional disconnection: Exposure to fake smiles makes a person start feeling disconnected from their friends and others, resulting in isolation and loneliness.

Fake smiles might be useful in some situations. “For example, someone can use a false smile to diffuse a difficult situation and help others feel at ease. Understanding the motive behind a false grin and recognising facial indicators might help you tell the difference between a real and a fake smile. The effects of a false grin may be both beneficial and harmful, and one should utilise a fake smile in such a manner that it does not confuse both the giver and the receiver.

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