Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "So kind of you to take an interest." => Topic started by: Reuth on June 15, 2011, 10:58:13 AM

Title: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 15, 2011, 10:58:13 AM
I had gotten in the habit of stopping at a particular gas station on my way to work, to get a cup of coffee. (I can't make good coffee at home. I've given up.) Almost every day, the same cashier is there, and there is a man who hangs out in the store and talks to her. Frequently, he has something to say to me when I come up to the register. It would be fine if he were saying, "Good morning," but it's usually along the lines of, "Smile!" or "Aren't you excited to go to work?" or some version of him telling me to smile.

Now, I do offer the cashier a polite smile and a greeting, but I don't think I'm required to walk around grinning all the time. I struggle with depression and mornings are often very difficult for me. I do my best. It's not like I'm scowling at anyone, but a blank expression is all I can manage on some days.

Usually, I give him no response other than a brief, nervous smile. But that isn't going to stop his comments. Last week, he outright stared at me without saying anything. I glanced up at him, and he continued to stare openly. I haven't been back to the gas station since then. The problem is that it's the only place that's convenient for me to get a cup of coffee on my way to work.

I don't know what to say. I'm certainly not going to explain to a complete stranger why I don't look happy. And I really didn't know what to say to the staring. Help?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on June 15, 2011, 11:11:06 AM
ughh, shivers down my spine.

I detest being to 'Smile'

But, the guy Staring at you, not saying anything... ugh, Creepy.

Disclaimer, i am not calling him a creep, just his behavior. Yes, there is a difference lol
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: NotTheNarcissist on June 15, 2011, 11:14:02 AM
You sound like me. I don't wake up (really wake up) till around 12N and my body/face reflect that. Corny, I know, but I think if it were me, I would fight this one with humor: "I AM smiling. You don't like my smile?" Because it sounds like you're gonna have to "live" with this guy during your coffee run, and the sooner you 2 reach common ground, the better...
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: leafeater on June 15, 2011, 11:49:08 AM
I hate it when vendors get conversational in the morning.  The guys at the gas station I went to used to ask for the location of my office and notice when I varied my method of payment ("No credit card this morning, eh?")  I wish there was a polite way to say "Look, just serve me my dang coffee."
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 15, 2011, 11:58:28 AM
And you know, I have never seen the cashier smile, ever. She's always complaining to the guy about something or other. And half the time she doesn't even return my greeting.

It seems like the owners/manager wouldn't want some random person hanging around near the register every day, bothering the customers.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: whiskeytangofoxtrot on June 15, 2011, 12:42:05 PM
Oh, big pet peeve of mine too! One guy at a large chain taco joint had a real reputation for that. One day he even refused to give me my order until I did. Excuse me?? My blood sugar was a little low, so I wasn't in the jolliest of moods to begin with; I snarled, "I left it in my other pants!", and drove off with my order while he stood at the window making gaping goldfish faces.

I don't know if he's still there or not. I haven't been back.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Emmy on June 17, 2011, 12:37:21 PM
I hate hate hate this. 

Recently DH and I were in a meeting for the closing on the selling of our old house.  My realtor's boss (also a realtor we had met a handful of times) looked at me and said "Smile, aren't you happy you just sold your house?  You look like a deer in headlights."  He said this in front of a room full of people.  I find people saying this to be very condescending.  Just for the record, DH was with me and he also wasn't smiling, but the realtor's boss did not tell him he needed to smile or he looked like a deer in headlights.  Hmm.  In my experience it has only been men who have said this to me.  I hate feeling like my facial expressions are being analyzed and when somebody says this to me, it seems obvious they don't respect me as an equal.  When I get these comments, I tend to just have my face relaxed in a 'normal' expression and am not pouting, angry, or frowning (and even if I was, nobody has the right to tell me to smile).
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 18, 2011, 12:57:30 AM
So what do we say when people tell us to smile?  I feel like saying "Why would I want to do that?" would elicit a response of "Because it's a great day!" or something along those lines.  We need a polite phrase for this one!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Erich L-ster on June 18, 2011, 01:38:15 AM
i always just put on a fake smile to get them to shut up. what you could try is not catching his eye. look the other way, give him as wide a berth as you can.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on June 18, 2011, 01:42:22 AM
So what do we say when people tell us to smile?  I feel like saying "Why would I want to do that?" would elicit a response of "Because it's a great day!" or something along those lines.  We need a polite phrase for this one!


"No thanks?"

I hate this too, do these people ever ever say it to men?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: leafeater on June 18, 2011, 02:34:06 AM
So what do we say when people tell us to smile?  I feel like saying "Why would I want to do that?" would elicit a response of "Because it's a great day!" or something along those lines.  We need a polite phrase for this one!


"No thanks?"

I hate this too, do these people ever ever say it to men?

I think I've seen women say it to men.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 18, 2011, 02:40:39 AM
I've been told by strangers, by relatives, by men, and by women.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Amava on June 18, 2011, 06:49:26 AM
I'm not the first to say this on this forum, but I suggest the Sheldon Cooper smile for these situations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdoXhvHvK3I
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: MorgnsGrl on June 18, 2011, 07:32:48 AM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 18, 2011, 09:00:26 AM
what you could try is not catching his eye. look the other way, give him as wide a berth as you can.

He stands right by the counter, where I have to stand while I am paying for my coffee, and stares at me.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on June 18, 2011, 09:06:24 AM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D


I love it! 

I really really hope someone tries this on me soon now so I can use this!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Alida on June 18, 2011, 09:12:56 AM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D

I kind of like this response!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: gramma dishes on June 18, 2011, 10:02:06 AM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D

LOL!   ;D  I LOVE this response!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 18, 2011, 01:13:55 PM
I've said similar things in other situations, like, "Oh, I thought we were shouting out games!" when people have said bingo followed by me saying Yahtzee.  I never thought to use it with this "command"!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: whiskeytangofoxtrot on June 20, 2011, 12:46:52 PM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D

LOL!   ;D  I LOVE this response!

Bursting with "win"!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ginya on June 20, 2011, 12:52:41 PM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D

I LOVE IT

Sadly I don't think I could use this at work, but I will remember it for family functions!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ms_Shell on June 20, 2011, 02:05:43 PM
I still haven't figured out the best response to people telling me to smile, because saying a polite "no thanks" will get me called all sorts of unprintable names.  But for the outright staring, a chilly "May I help you?" is usually enough to get them to back down. 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Lisbeth on June 20, 2011, 02:14:43 PM
[Evil Lisbeth]If a stranger or someone I don't have a personal relationship with told me to smile, I'd respond: "Give me a reason-don't tell me to smile."  

Or I might say, "My mother was recently murdered-I don't feel like smiling" (even though in real life she's still alive) to such a rude person-they don't need to know the truth, and it might make them think twice about telling random strangers to smile or butting into their business.

Or if they make unsolicited commentary about my purchasing habits, I might respond, "Thanks for your unsolicited commentary" in my sweetest voice coupled with Miss Manners' Icy Glare. [/Evil Lisbeth]

Actually, I might just say to them, "I really don't appreciate being told to smile by people I don't have a personal relationship with-if you don't like my facial expression, find something else to interest you.  Leave me alone."
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 20, 2011, 02:39:15 PM
Or I might say, "My mother was recently murdered-I don't feel like smiling" (even though in real life she's still alive) to such a rude person-they don't need to know the truth, and it might make them think twice about telling random strangers to smile or butting into their business.

Honestly, when I was younger, my great-grandmother died. My best friend knew her and loved her as well, but wasn't allowed to take the day off from work because it wasn't a family member. So there she was, cashiering all day and trying not to burst into tears, and of course all the customers told her "smile!" and "cheer up!" all day. I don't know why people assume that a complete stranger has no reason to be sad? I've had people tell me, "Smile! It can't be that bad!" And I just wanted to say, "How do you know??"
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on June 20, 2011, 02:53:18 PM
Or I might say, "My mother was recently murdered-I don't feel like smiling" (even though in real life she's still alive) to such a rude person-they don't need to know the truth, and it might make them think twice about telling random strangers to smile or butting into their business.

Honestly, when I was younger, my great-grandmother died. My best friend knew her and loved her as well, but wasn't allowed to take the day off from work because it wasn't a family member. So there she was, cashiering all day and trying not to burst into tears, and of course all the customers told her "smile!" and "cheer up!" all day. I don't know why people assume that a complete stranger has no reason to be sad? I've had people tell me, "Smile! It can't be that bad!" And I just wanted to say, "How do you know??"

Yeah, the charity collector who decided to berate for me not giving by calling me miserable when I was only out in public because I needed to buy something to wear to my best friend's funeral could have done with learning that lesson too.

I hate hate hate "Cheer up it might never happen!", sometimes it already has.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 20, 2011, 02:58:22 PM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D

I love this idea. I'm afraid if I were in a bad mood, I'd say it too meanly; and otherwise I don't think I could say it with a straight face!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on June 20, 2011, 03:05:56 PM
I worked at McD's when I was 15 - on the menu board it said smiles were free.  We'd get lots of comments about wanting a free smile.  I don't think it's a rude greeting.  A bit odd: yes; mildly annoying at times: yes.  I would just hand my money over and go about my day without giving it a second thought.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Kittymama on June 20, 2011, 04:24:39 PM
"This IS mah happy face!"  >:(

But I LOVE MorgnsGrl's "Dance!" suggestion! I am so using that next time!

ETA: Anyone staring at me gets a "Quit looking at me!" No exceptions. Do it with an askance look, like they're making you feel paranoid.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: kitty-cat on June 20, 2011, 05:50:51 PM
My mom is the worst one with the smile. Granted, she's usually doing it to cheer me up, but every now and then it's when I have my normal face on.

She gets the super creepy smile then.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Asharah on June 20, 2011, 07:32:57 PM
Heard a story once. A woman was making her first trip to the grocery store following the death of her teenage son. It was heartbreaking for her to see all his favorite foods she used to buy for him. She managed to get through the trip with only a few tears and was loading up the car. A woman walks by and says "Smile my dear, nothing could be that bad." She sat in her car and cried for half an hour.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on June 20, 2011, 08:03:00 PM
Heard a story once. A woman was making her first trip to the grocery store following the death of her teenage son. It was heartbreaking for her to see all his favorite foods she used to buy for him. She managed to get through the trip with only a few tears and was loading up the car. A woman walks by and says "Smile my dear, nothing could be that bad." She sat in her car and cried for half an hour.

My dad died July 5, 2008.  When I request July 5th off, a lot of people will say "Oh, I know why your'e requesting that day off!" implying I will be hungover.  Really, I can't blame them, so I usually don't get mad.  I usually just smile my laughing smile, trying to not make them feel uncomfortable because they really didn't mean to insult me, and say, "No, that's the day my dad died, otherwise, yes, that would probably be it."  However, there was one person I will never forget.  Sneering, he said, "Just because you're irresponsible doesn't mean other people should have to cover your shift."  I look him straight in the fact and said, "Thank you for blaming my father's death on my irresponsibility.  I will be sure not to give anyone cancer in the future."  Did I cry?  No, I was too dingdangity mad (I already didn't like him).  That was the last time he suggested anything about my character, but I was only chillingly polite to him for the rest of my time there.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: FlyingBaconMouse on June 21, 2011, 10:47:50 AM
Heard a story once. A woman was making her first trip to the grocery store following the death of her teenage son. It was heartbreaking for her to see all his favorite foods she used to buy for him. She managed to get through the trip with only a few tears and was loading up the car. A woman walks by and says "Smile my dear, nothing could be that bad." She sat in her car and cried for half an hour.

My late BF was sick for ten months before he died. People have been telling me to smile since kindergarten.

With nothing else to do while he was in the hospital and not always able to have visitors, I did a lot of stuff just to get out of the house, and I was determined that if anybody told me to smile while I was out and about, I was going to tell them exactly what was going on! I was going to become the Cheer-Up Avenger!!

...and do you know, no one did? That might be the longest stretch of my adult life where someone hasn't tried to get me to smile.  ::)
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on June 21, 2011, 10:52:31 AM
Maybe you had an "I dare you to approach me" look on your face?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: FlyingBaconMouse on June 21, 2011, 10:54:50 AM
I probably did.  ;D That happens with customer service, too: if I have to get psyched up to ask them to fix something I'm upset about, usually they just fold. I even got the big blue store to do that once. Too bad I can't turn whatever-that-is on at will...
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: WolfWay on June 24, 2011, 06:59:13 AM
This thread made me think if this blog post:

http://nijla1.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/dont-tell-me-to-smile/
 
And apropos of the thread in general:   ;D
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Emmy on June 24, 2011, 07:10:05 AM
This thread made me think if this blog post:

http://nijla1.wordpress.com/2009/07/03/dont-tell-me-to-smile/
 
And apropos of the thread in general:   ;D

Good thread, I can totally relate to what the author is saying.  I know others have had different experiences, but in my case it has always been a man telling me to smile.  I've never heard this type of comment directed at a man.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: NutMeg on June 25, 2011, 02:09:53 PM
One of my friends has perfected a face for just this occasion. When someone tells him to smile, he puts on this almost cave man looking face (angry and uninterested), and says in a deep growl, "I AM smiling." People usually have no idea how to respond. It's hilarious.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: AlwaysQuizzical on June 25, 2011, 05:45:11 PM
Wow, I thought I was the only one who had to deal with this a lot. Unfortunately I also look sad when I have my "neutral face" on as I call it. Whenever I'm just walking around not thinking of much, people try to cheer me up. I guess unless I'm feeling a particular emotion I look sad.

Worst of all is when people get offended by thinking I'm not happy with them. I was shopping with my BF's Mother and Sister and they thought I was miserable with the whole trip. I was perfectly content to shop with them despite the fact that I didn't have the money to shop for myself.

Whenever this happens I feel awful that I've offended people or made people think I'm trying to get sympathy.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: greencat on June 25, 2011, 07:22:30 PM
Another clever and inoffensive response would be to state "Oh, no, forcing yourself to smile gives you wrinkles!"
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Lisbeth on June 25, 2011, 07:23:22 PM
How about "Give me a reason to smile by dropping the subject forever."
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ida on June 26, 2011, 08:36:20 PM
"I'm not miserable. It's just me face."
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧由ingo Starr
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: WolfWay on June 26, 2011, 11:13:53 PM
"I'm not miserable. It's just me face."
覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧覧由ingo Starr

I'm so using that in future (bonus points if I can do the Liverpool accent it deserves).
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Morticia on July 07, 2011, 01:10:22 PM
Don't we always say, "No." is a complete sentence? While I really like "Dance!", I suspect it borders on retaliatory rudeness.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Abacus on July 07, 2011, 05:06:57 PM
I don't mind a person telling me to smile, even when I'm upset. They could never know my personal situation if I haven't told them so I can't hate on them for asking. It's when they are persistent is what bugs me. To ask again...and again....and again....yeah, it can make a person come so close to snapping.

Instead of being told to "Smile!" which may or may not be followed by the usual annoying/cliched comments (e.g. "it might never happen"; "it could be worse"; etc), throwing a random yet sincere compliment works wonders (e.g. "I love the way you've styled your hair this morning") and normally elicits a more natural smile and a raise in the other person's spirits.

One of the most socially incompetent approaches I had was a guy who approached me with a grin saying "You look peed* off!" (*he used the stronger version of the word). When I replied that I in fact was not, he kept on saying with a smile "Well, you do look peed off!" hoping it would get me to smile. Of course, this started to irk me, and I even went as far as to tell him that it was an inappropriate way to 'greet' a stranger yet he just kept on repeating it, yet expecting me to smile and engage him in what he hoped would be a pleasant conversation. It resulted in me ignoring the man and him wondering why I wouldn't talk to him. Go figure.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on July 07, 2011, 05:16:48 PM
They could never know my personal situation if I haven't told them so I can't hate on them for asking.

That's exactly why they shouldn't tell you to smile. They don't know your situation.

But the main problem is this: the person in my original post is not some kindly soul genuinely trying to cheer me up. That would be a different thing entirely. He's a creepy person who stares at me and demands a smile. It's disconcerting and weird.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: poundcake on July 10, 2011, 08:03:49 PM
OP, I'd stop going to that particular location. Or, if that's not possible, next time he demands "Smile," tell him "No, I don't feel like it, and if you don't stop demanding it, I'm going to stop giving you my business." Or even, "You may think you're cheering someone up by telling them to smile, but not everyone wants to." Sometimes it's part of customer service demands; when I worked at certain chains, I had to keep up a bright smile no matter what as long as I was behind the counter. But if you are the customer, you don't have to perform "happy" on demand. Go somewhere else. And don't smile unless you darned well feel like it!


I'm not the first to say this on this forum, but I suggest the Sheldon Cooper smile for these situations.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XdoXhvHvK3I

I use this one myself:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4FcHxDBel0

Quote
Good thread, I can totally relate to what the author is saying.  I know others have had different experiences, but in my case it has always been a man telling me to smile.  I've never heard this type of comment directed at a man.

I KNOW, RIGHT?! I've spouted off about this a lot, because this is one of my biggest peeves and I too have a "serious" face. And it's usually some guy, but sometimes an older woman, demanding "Smile!" The old guy who did that to me in the grocery store line got the version in my link. The one who demanded it after a family death got a "No." The elderly woman who insisted I needed to smile because I'd "look so much prettier/nicer [I don't remember exactly which it was] if you did!" got "Well, I'm functional, not decorative." But I do like the version with "Smile!" "Dance!"
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on July 11, 2011, 08:23:22 AM
I can't look at those youtube links at work, but I can imagine what they might be! ;D

OP, I'd stop going to that particular location. Or, if that's not possible, next time he demands "Smile," tell him "No, I don't feel like it, and if you don't stop demanding it, I'm going to stop giving you my business." Or even, "You may think you're cheering someone up by telling them to smile, but not everyone wants to." Sometimes it's part of customer service demands; when I worked at certain chains, I had to keep up a bright smile no matter what as long as I was behind the counter. But if you are the customer, you don't have to perform "happy" on demand. Go somewhere else. And don't smile unless you darned well feel like it!

Since I originally posted this thread, I have stopped going there. Unfortunately it's the only place that is convenient for me to get coffee on my way to work, and I make lousy coffee at home - I've switched to tea. Last week I stopped there for gas. The storefront is mostly glass, and I didn't see him there (he's not an employee, just "some guy" that hangs around talking to the cashier) so I went in. I was getting my coffee when I felt someone standing behind me. I glanced around and there he was, staring at me. I finished putting the cream in my coffee, etc., and glanced around again - he was still staring at me, with a creepy half-smile on his face. (He wasn't just waiting for me to get out of the way, either. I had moved to the side and he could have gotten coffee if he wanted it.)
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: poundcake on July 12, 2011, 09:38:38 AM
Wow. That's several etiquette steps beyond "smile!"  :o It might be time to contact the place and see if they can discourage loitering, his in particular. His being kicked out for making other patrons uncomfortable would certainly make ME smile, too.  >:D
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: virgo on July 19, 2011, 05:06:13 PM
That's one of my pet peeves, also.  Another one is a co-worker walking by my desk and saying, "Are we having fun yet?"  One time, I said NO.   >:(That got their attention...lol
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Black Delphinium on July 19, 2011, 08:28:38 PM
That's one of my pet peeves, also.  Another one is a co-worker walking by my desk and saying, "Are we having fun yet?"  One time, I said NO.   >:(That got their attention...lol
I usually say "If I were having any more fun I'd just have to kill myself." ;D
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on July 19, 2011, 10:06:21 PM
That's one of my pet peeves, also.  Another one is a co-worker walking by my desk and saying, "Are we having fun yet?"  One time, I said NO.   >:(That got their attention...lol
I usually say "If I were having any more fun I'd just have to kill myself." ;D

I'm going to have to use this.  It's not a coworker, but my customers.  Please let me explain...I work security at a race track.  My main job is to make sure that people passing me have wristbands that say they are allowed into the pits; secondarily, my main job is to make sure people going into the grandstands have stamps on their hands.  As for the wristbands, this is usually done as the trucks towing the car trailers pass me (I hold up my arm, point to my wristband; they hold up their arms to show me they have wristbands).  It's almost like "It must be free!" to cashiers when people hold up the arm without the wristband.  Do you really want me to make you stop your truck?  I will, just try me.  That and "Having fun yet?"  Yes, I love sitting in the humidity and blaring sun, sweating, making sure grown adults can abide by the rules... (FWIW, I am getting college credit for this).  I guess it doesn't help that I am a large-chested 23 year old female... *sigh* what can a girl do?  Oh wait, that's right, say, "If I were having any more fun I'd just have to kill myself."
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on July 20, 2011, 07:09:49 AM
You know, that's really going to backfire the day you say it to someone whose relative just committed suicide.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on July 20, 2011, 07:15:30 AM
You know, that's really going to backfire the day you say it to someone whose relative just committed suicide.

Hopefully someone in that position would be much less likely to be so obnoxious in the first place.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reuth on July 20, 2011, 07:25:49 AM
You know, that's really going to backfire the day you say it to someone whose relative just committed suicide.

Hopefully someone in that position would be much less likely to be so obnoxious in the first place.

Not really sure why you think that? The pain of losing a loved one to suicide goes on for years, or a lifetime. Just because someone is annoying enough to say "having fun yet?" (which many people don't even realize is annoying) does not mean they should have that wound re-opened. It is never, ever OK to joke about suicide with someone you don't know well.

Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: dawbs on July 20, 2011, 07:31:08 AM
You know, that's really going to backfire the day you say it to someone whose relative just committed suicide.

Hopefully someone in that position would be much less likely to be so obnoxious in the first place.
I'm sure I've been 'obnoxious' in the past while trying to be light-hearted.
I'd not say something, but my gut would wrench.
Mental health issues aren't generally funny, are generally painfull, and are handled either as pariah or joke in the world at large--something at least as painful as the issues.

I'd consider the comment from a stranger to be distasteful and it would give me an inner shudder and I'd have to have an inner battle not to get on my 'soapbox'.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on July 20, 2011, 08:25:28 AM
You know, that's really going to backfire the day you say it to someone whose relative just committed suicide.

Hopefully someone in that position would be much less likely to be so obnoxious in the first place.

Not really sure why you think that? The pain of losing a loved one to suicide goes on for years, or a lifetime. Just because someone is annoying enough to say "having fun yet?" (which many people don't even realize is annoying) does not mean they should have that wound re-opened. It is never, ever OK to joke about suicide with someone you don't know well.


Maybe it is an assumption, but I do assume that people who've been through tragedies tend to become a little more aware of saying things like 'Smile!' 'cheer up it might never happen' 'having fun yet?' and so on to strangers who look a bit down.  I know I did.

Also, you did say 'just' committed suicide.

I do though see a lot of jokes about suicide in popular culture and hear a lot day to day, some more lighthearted and some in better taste than others.  I don't think all of them are automatically off limits, I think you should just use your best judgement.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Biker Granny on July 20, 2011, 08:33:22 AM
I had terrible teeth for most of my life so when I did smile...for any reason...it was closed mouth.

I detest people telling me to smile....on my bitter little troll days if they were stupid enough to tell me to smile, I would reply...why?  They reply...it's a beautiful day!  The sun is shining?  Troll me replies...so what?  Maybe I feel we need the rain....and so forth and so on.  (I don't let Troll me out in public much...she can be fun tho ;D)

I have been known to reply...Darn!...I smiled yesterday and you missed it!



Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Black Delphinium on July 20, 2011, 11:53:43 AM
I really do try to know my audience with that line, and usually only use it with friends/close co-workers. I tend to also do it in a very deadpan kind of way, and have never had an issue with it.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Thyisa on October 30, 2011, 08:27:48 PM
I also agree with complaining to the management. They are losing business over Mr. Creepy, and you can't be the only one bothered by it. I likely would have run away from the store if someone did that to me.

I also get told to smile a lot, since my neutral face seems rather sad, apparently. And since I am terribly shy, instead of thinking that people were being nice to me and reminding me that the world is a happy place, usually being told to smile made me panic and think that they had a problem with me. I really despise this comment, as I feel my face is my own and I don't want to have to force myself to smile for the pleasure of others.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Auntie Mame on November 04, 2011, 01:09:57 PM
Other person: SMILE!

Me: Dance!

(Other person looks confused.)

Me: Oh, sorry. I thought we were giving each other random, inappropriate orders.  >:D
Ahahahaha! I do the exact same thing!
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Reader on November 22, 2011, 11:52:59 AM
I work in an office for a janitorial contractor.  One day a few months back one of our cleaning employees came in on a busy day when I had been juggling multiple things, so I had my neutral face on since I wasn't particularly happy at the time.  Cue employee telling me to smile.  When I gave her complete silence with a look, then she pulled out the gem that I am so much prettier when I smile.  It took some self control not to throttle her.  Luckily she no longer works for our company and I don't have to deal with her.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ms_Cellany on November 22, 2011, 11:58:10 AM
Kill them with intellect:

"You know, my observation has been that in the majority of cases when someone tells a stranger to smile, it's a man saying it to a woman. Do you think I have enough data to generalize that this is usually the case, or is it too anecdotal? Has that been your experience? I think it's an interesting social question, don't you?"
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 22, 2011, 12:00:58 PM
I don't think it's rude at all.  I get how things can annoy someone, but a personal peccadillo hardly equals rudeness.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 22, 2011, 01:49:58 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ms_Cellany on November 22, 2011, 01:50:59 PM
I see it as "I want to be surrounded by happy-looking people so I'll enjoy my environment more."  No thanks. I'm not an extra on your stage set.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 22, 2011, 01:56:25 PM
Eh.  It's just a way some people have of being cheerful.  I tend to not sweat the small stuff & to me, this is one of the "small stuff". 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: dawbs on November 22, 2011, 02:25:20 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that. 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 22, 2011, 03:32:22 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I've never had either experience, honestly.  I've had just as many women tell me to smile as I have men.  As for the power issue, can you explain more please?  I am having trouble seeing where it is an issue with power, but I want to understand.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 22, 2011, 03:36:34 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I've never had either experience, honestly.  I've had just as many women tell me to smile as I have men.  As for the power issue, can you explain more please?  I am having trouble seeing where it is an issue with power, but I want to understand.

Issuing orders to random people and expecting them to be followed seems like the most basic sort of power issue to me!

Its definitely a gender issue too but its complex.  Its partly to do with women being considered public property, to do with their external appearance being generally deemed more important than their actual emotions and to do with them 'owing' something to men in general.

That women do it to other women doesn't mean much, women are capable of behaving along sexist lines too.  The more important thing is that you very rarely see anyone, male or female, telling a strange man on the street to smile or to cheer up.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ms_Cellany on November 22, 2011, 03:39:29 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I've never had either experience, honestly.  I've had just as many women tell me to smile as I have men.  As for the power issue, can you explain more please?  I am having trouble seeing where it is an issue with power, but I want to understand.

Bob likes to be surrounded by happy people. Bob sees Random Woman, who he thinks is not happy. Bob instructs her to act like she is happy, without taking time to think whether:


In either scenario, Bob's judgement trumps RW's emotions. The likelihood that Bob would not tell Random Man to "Smile!" indicates that Bob respects men's right to act in accordance with their mood.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 22, 2011, 03:58:34 PM
I still don't see it as sexist.  I have heard people say it to men, too.  Perhaps not as often as women, but maybe that's because women tend to be more outwardly emotional and to show their feelings than men, and not because their external appearance is deemed more important by society.

As far as a power issue...I see what you're saying, but I think we have different definitions of power issues.  To me a power issue has to have a specific intent behind it.  Power issues are more deliberate, to me. 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 22, 2011, 04:06:38 PM
I still don't see it as sexist.  I have heard people say it to men, too.  Perhaps not as often as women, but maybe that's because women tend to be more outwardly emotional and to show their feelings than men, and not because their external appearance is deemed more important by society.

As far as a power issue...I see what you're saying, but I think we have different definitions of power issues.  To me a power issue has to have a specific intent behind it.  Power issues are more deliberate, to me.

I don't want to get into a big debate here or anything, but I don't think there can be any question that society deems women's looks to be of very high importance and that there is much greater pressure on women to look a certain way than there is on men.  Look at some of the threads we see on here about people being told to wear make up at work, expected to wear heels or dress in a particular way, look at all the threads about support for weight loss mainly populated by women.

Whether or not you feel the 'smile' issue to be an extension of that is more a matter of opinion, but I don't see any point in denying some basic truths about the way the world treats the sexes/genders differently.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 22, 2011, 04:16:15 PM
I still don't see it as sexist.  I have heard people say it to men, too.  Perhaps not as often as women, but maybe that's because women tend to be more outwardly emotional and to show their feelings than men, and not because their external appearance is deemed more important by society.

As far as a power issue...I see what you're saying, but I think we have different definitions of power issues.  To me a power issue has to have a specific intent behind it.  Power issues are more deliberate, to me.

I don't want to get into a big debate here or anything, but I don't think there can be any question that society deems women's looks to be of very high importance and that there is much greater pressure on women to look a certain way than there is on men.  Look at some of the threads we see on here about people being told to wear make up at work, expected to wear heels or dress in a particular way, look at all the threads about support for weight loss mainly populated by women.

Whether or not you feel the 'smile' issue to be an extension of that is more a matter of opinion, but I don't see any point in denying some basic truths about the way the world treats the sexes/genders differently.

I'm sorry it seemed that way, but I was not at all denying that women are held to a higher standard of appearance.  I was only contending that perhaps the reason that women are told to smile more often than men is because it is acceptable for women to show emotion more than men do, so telling a man to smile wouldn't be worth while (this is postulation, not necessarily what I believe).  I was offering a different reason than it being just because women are held to a higher standard of appearance.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 22, 2011, 04:19:50 PM
I still don't see it as sexist.  I have heard people say it to men, too.  Perhaps not as often as women, but maybe that's because women tend to be more outwardly emotional and to show their feelings than men, and not because their external appearance is deemed more important by society.

As far as a power issue...I see what you're saying, but I think we have different definitions of power issues.  To me a power issue has to have a specific intent behind it.  Power issues are more deliberate, to me.

I don't want to get into a big debate here or anything, but I don't think there can be any question that society deems women's looks to be of very high importance and that there is much greater pressure on women to look a certain way than there is on men.  Look at some of the threads we see on here about people being told to wear make up at work, expected to wear heels or dress in a particular way, look at all the threads about support for weight loss mainly populated by women.

Whether or not you feel the 'smile' issue to be an extension of that is more a matter of opinion, but I don't see any point in denying some basic truths about the way the world treats the sexes/genders differently.


I'm sorry it seemed that way, but I was not at all denying that women are held to a higher standard of appearance.  I was only contending that perhaps the reason that women are told to smile more often than men is because it is acceptable for women to show emotion more than men do, so telling a man to smile wouldn't be worth while (this is postulation, not necessarily what I believe).  I was offering a different reason than it being just because women are held to a higher standard of appearance.

Ah I see, sorry I misread that.

I think that actually the ability to display emotion publicly without condemnation is one area where women fare better than men in terms of sexism.  I think it can be really damaging to boys and men to feel they have to show a strong front at all times.

I see your point that if women are allowed to display emotion, maybe they are then expected to as well, but then why isn't showing boredom, or sadness or anger ok, only happy cheerfulness?

Its an interesting angle.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 22, 2011, 04:35:27 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I just don't see some random clerk sitting behind his counter plotting a power play going "I know, I'll tell her to smile!  That'll show her who's boss!"  To me this whole thing is one of those things where people see offense where none was intended.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 22, 2011, 04:45:48 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I just don't see some random clerk sitting behind his counter plotting a power play going "I know, I'll tell her to smile!  That'll show her who's boss!"  To me this whole thing is one of those things where people see offense where none was intended.

That's the thing about gender, it affects us almost from birth.  Its not always about conscious choices like that, its about the fact that there are societal influences on the way you behave that you're probably not even aware of or actually choosing.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Yvaine on November 22, 2011, 04:47:48 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I just don't see some random clerk sitting behind his counter plotting a power play going "I know, I'll tell her to smile!  That'll show her who's boss!"  To me this whole thing is one of those things where people see offense where none was intended.

That's the thing about gender, it affects us almost from birth.  Its not always about conscious choices like that, its about the fact that there are societal influences on the way you behave that you're probably not even aware of or actually choosing.

Exactly. It won't necessarily take the form of a guy rubbing his hands together, cackling, and saying "How can I be sexist today?" It's more that he'll subconsciously be annoyed by a woman not smiling and make a comment, even if he doesn't know why it bothers him or isn't even all that aware that he's annoyed.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 22, 2011, 04:50:57 PM
I do see it as rude, though, not just a pet peeve.  It is making an interesting assumption that the teller knows better than the person how she feels and that the teller should tell her what to do.  It's not a precautionary warning, it's not a greeting, it's a command (even if given in a jovial tone) and it says "It doesn't matter what you're feeling today, I think you should smile, so do it!"
I also extrapolate to it being a 'power' issue.  And a gendered one, at that.

I just don't see some random clerk sitting behind his counter plotting a power play going "I know, I'll tell her to smile!  That'll show her who's boss!"  To me this whole thing is one of those things where people see offense where none was intended.

That's the thing about gender, it affects us almost from birth.  Its not always about conscious choices like that, its about the fact that there are societal influences on the way you behave that you're probably not even aware of or actually choosing.

Exactly. It won't necessarily take the form of a guy rubbing his hands together, cackling, and saying "How can I be sexist today?" It's more that he'll subconsciously be annoyed by a woman not smiling and make a comment, even if he doesn't know why it bothers him or isn't even all that aware that he's annoyed.

Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Yvaine on November 22, 2011, 04:55:42 PM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: VorFemme on November 22, 2011, 06:07:44 PM
I'm sitting here remembering the scene from the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where she is singing "give me something to sing about" and realizing that replying to a random request with "give me something to smile about" isn't really THAT rude.  You could have had a flat tire on the way to work, your cat could have hacked up a hairball in your best shoes, your kid could have strep throat, or you could just have a bland facial expression due to heredity.............

But if someone tells you to "smile" - politely ask them to give you a reason to smile.............if you're heading to a funeral, you may need a much better reason to smile than someone who just has a naturally blank face.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 23, 2011, 08:04:39 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?" 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Auntie Mame on November 23, 2011, 11:48:59 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Hijinks on November 23, 2011, 01:10:15 PM
I used to work for a large insurance agency, and they used a security guard at the front desk.  The morning guard was a chipper gent who would always say "Good morning!  How are you?!?!?!" to me and he would get angry at me if I didn't smile at him and say "Fine, how are you!!!"  Honestly, in the morning, after a hellish drive in traffic, all I want is to get to my desk and drink some coffee.  Some people are just not morning people!

I even started wearing earbuds when I walked in so that he wouldn't expect me to say anything to him.  I'd still give him a smile and nod but wouldn't verbally say "good morning" back.  One day he finally said, "I'M FINE, THANKS FOR ASKING!"  I whipped off my earbuds and said, "I wish you wouldn't do that!"  He responded with, "Well, you are really rude for not responding to me every morning!"

Bleh.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 23, 2011, 01:23:28 PM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvanistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 23, 2011, 01:26:26 PM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvanistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of us special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 23, 2011, 01:29:03 PM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvanistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.

Amen. I am not a puppet to be manipulated for your amusement.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 24, 2011, 03:02:15 PM
I don't see it as chauvinistic, but I definitely find it entitled.  (All you's general).  Who are you to tell me that it can't be that bad?  How do you know what happened in my life?  Having a bad day IS that bad to me, and you being entitled and annoying is making it worse.  I'm not even having a bad day, I'm just deep in thought; how presumptuous of you to think you know what's going on in my mind.

Well wishes, such as "Have a good day!" are not presumptuous; that's comparing apples and oranges.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 07:51:13 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvinistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of us special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.

Nope.  Still don't see it as entitled.  They're trying to be cheerful.  There is no ulterior motive.  It's like wishing someone "Happy Holidays" - someone is going to get their feelings all twisted over that comment because "How dare they!  I celebrate Christmas!"  To assume someone is entitled, condescending, or a chauvinist based on ONE benign comment, is making a HUGE assumption and I just don't think that is in anyway proper etiquette - and it's, in fact, quite judgemental and rude, like I said.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 25, 2011, 09:00:13 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvinistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of us special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.

Nope.  Still don't see it as entitled.  They're trying to be cheerful.  There is no ulterior motive.  It's like wishing someone "Happy Holidays" - someone is going to get their feelings all twisted over that comment because "How dare they!  I celebrate Christmas!"  To assume someone is entitled, condescending, or a chauvinist based on ONE benign comment, is making a HUGE assumption and I just don't think that is in anyway proper etiquette - and it's, in fact, quite judgemental and rude, like I said.

Strawman.  Wishing someone a happy time is not the same as giving someone an instruction.  A closer parallel to "Smile!  It might never happen!" would be "You WILL have a happy holidays, there is nothing going on that will make them unhappy!" to a complete stranger.

No-one tells me what to do with my face.  No-one.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 25, 2011, 09:06:28 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvinistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of us special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.

Nope.  Still don't see it as entitled.  They're trying to be cheerful.  There is no ulterior motive.  It's like wishing someone "Happy Holidays" - someone is going to get their feelings all twisted over that comment because "How dare they!  I celebrate Christmas!"  To assume someone is entitled, condescending, or a chauvinist based on ONE benign comment, is making a HUGE assumption and I just don't think that is in anyway proper etiquette - and it's, in fact, quite judgemental and rude, like I said.

Strawman.  Wishing someone a happy time is not the same as giving someone an instruction.  A closer parallel to "Smile!  It might never happen!" would be "You WILL have a happy holidays, there is nothing going on that will make them unhappy!" to a complete stranger.

No-one tells me what to do with my face.  No-one.

POD

Also, if you want to feel more cheerful, smile yourself.

Nobody is saying that being a 'Smile!' commander make you an entitled, chauvinistic or rude person overall, but that the particular action is.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: EduardosGirl on November 25, 2011, 09:18:10 AM
I have to disagree that the act of telling someone "Smile!" is rude or chauvinistic or any of the other labels ascribed to it. The follow up shirtiness, not to mention the odious use of sweetie or baby coupled with the request, is what I would consider rude or entitled. Chauvinism and patriarchal motivations are best assessed on a case by case basis.

Now, I am a smiler. Almost chronically. I like to smile at people and, generally - even if they don't smile back - I get an acknowledgement back. Sometimes, though, I get a steaming plate of sourpuss grumpy face. I don't say anything but the urge to be even more cheerful in light of the po face is a bit hard to overcome. Would my relentlessly cheery smile be similarly construed as a verbal command to smile?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Ms_Cellany on November 25, 2011, 10:02:26 AM
I would say not, because what you're doing is nonverbally conveying, "I'm happy." it puts no onus on the other person.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 10:26:54 AM
I have to disagree that the act of telling someone "Smile!" is rude or chauvinistic or any of the other labels ascribed to it. The follow up shirtiness, not to mention the odious use of sweetie or baby coupled with the request, is what I would consider rude or entitled. Chauvinism and patriarchal motivations are best assessed on a case by case basis.

Now, I am a smiler. Almost chronically. I like to smile at people and, generally - even if they don't smile back - I get an acknowledgement back. Sometimes, though, I get a steaming plate of sourpuss grumpy face. I don't say anything but the urge to be even more cheerful in light of the po face is a bit hard to overcome. Would my relentlessly cheery smile be similarly construed as a verbal command to smile?

Not at all.

But I still don't understand how saying "Smile!", which is literally dictating to someone what they should be doing with their own body and their own emotions, can possibly not be rude.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 10:28:37 AM
Why are we assuming a guy has to be annoyed to say "Smile"?  That seems rather odd to me.  And I actually hear more older women than men saying stuff like this...  In the OP's case, yes, it's a guy saying it, but I think this whole thing is just very much overblown.

In my experience, usually it's a guy, and I don't know why anyone would say it if they weren't somehow irked. I mean, why even comment on a stranger's facial expression if it doesn't bother you? And why comment on a stranger's facial expression anyway, and why presume to give them orders about it?  ???

This may be my eHell hill to die on, but not once has anyone ever come across as being irked when I've heard it said.  It's usually done in a light, jovial manner - similar to saying "Hope you have a good day!"  Again, seeing offense when none is intended.  People like to see other people happy - some people try to put a smile on someone's face anyway they can - so someone's method may be a little trite, but who cares?  I'm sure most of the people who say it aren't doing it for offense or out of some unconsious-manly-overbearing-the-woman-must-do-as-I-say reason and would probably be rather shocked that someone takes it that way.  It's one of those things that if someone were to say to me that they were offended by the comment, then I would, of course, apologize, while thinking to myself, "You have to be kidding me.  Seriously?"

From my perspective, I am not here to amuse and entertain random strangers on the street.  You (general you) have no idea what is going in my life, or what may have happened to me today, or if I'm sick.  When I hear a condescending voice say "Why don't you smile for me baby" or "Let's have a smile girl" or "Smile, it can't be that bad".  Yes, I am offended.  I am not a pet dog here to dance and entertain.  Furthermore, what difference does it make if I smile or not?  Is it really going to ruin someone else's day if I don't constantly walk around grinning from ear to ear whether i want to or not?

I don't get why it's condescending.  Someone is trying to be jokey and cheery.  I don't see the big deal.  If someone is going to take offense to something like that, well, I can't help that, but I'm certainly not going to make the assumption that the person saying it is trying to be condescending or chauvinistic - that assumption to me is extremely rude and judgemental.  It's one of those items on my SS list.

You do realise you just called an awful lot of us special snowflakes?  :-\

If you can't see condescending or chauvinistic, or even subconsciously patriarchal, then how about entitled?  That fits.  These people feel a sense of entitlement over your facial expressions.  What they want you to look like is more important than how you feel.

Nope.  Still don't see it as entitled.  They're trying to be cheerful. There is no ulterior motive.  It's like wishing someone "Happy Holidays" - someone is going to get their feelings all twisted over that comment because "How dare they!  I celebrate Christmas!"  To assume someone is entitled, condescending, or a chauvinist based on ONE benign comment, is making a HUGE assumption and I just don't think that is in anyway proper etiquette - and it's, in fact, quite judgemental and rude, like I said.

Nope, they are trying to force me to be cheerful. Can't you see the difference?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 10:37:06 AM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Darcy on November 25, 2011, 11:05:30 AM
^ The difference is that "have a good day" is said as a wish, as in "hope you have a good day". "Smile" is an order and an admonishment, and the person will most likely stand there and wait for you to do it. They're not going to stand there and make sure you have a good day.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 11:07:52 AM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Morticia on November 25, 2011, 11:10:47 AM
^ The difference is that "have a good day" is said as a wish, as in "hope you have a good day". "Smile" is an order and an admonishment, and the person will most likely stand there and wait for you to do it. They're not going to stand there and make sure you have a good day.

My apologies. I'm getting a mental image and it's very funny.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 25, 2011, 12:25:07 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Who's arguing?  :-\

Sorry bibliophile, but you're the only poster I see calling other members 'silly' and 'special snowflakes'.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 12:50:16 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Who's arguing?  :-\

Sorry bibliophile, but you're the only poster I see calling other members 'silly' and 'special snowflakes'.

I have probably been a bit overly snarky, and I apologize.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 01:59:26 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Larrabee on November 25, 2011, 02:01:20 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

Its definitely a disconnect then.

I don't understand your interpretation at all!  Why say 'smile' if you don't actually care or expect a smile in response?

Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Auntie Mame on November 25, 2011, 02:19:50 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 02:37:26 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 02:59:33 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 06:05:56 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?

They're trying to be friendly. That's it.  It's like someone else said about saying "hello" - you say it to be pleasant. Or asking a stranger how their day is going. You don't expect a detailed list of their ongoing family troubles and medical issues as most just reply with "fine, thanks".  It's an exchange of pleasantries and a bit of banal small talk. Frankly, it's rather disturbing to me that people actually think there's some nefarious plot behind it.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 25, 2011, 06:35:04 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?

They're trying to be friendly. That's it.  It's like someone else said about saying "hello" - you say it to be pleasant. Or asking a stranger how their day is going. You don't expect a detailed list of their ongoing family troubles and medical issues as most just reply with "fine, thanks".  It's an exchange of pleasantries and a bit of banal small talk. Frankly, it's rather disturbing to me that people actually think there's some nefarious plot behind it.

Telling a stranger what to do is not trying to be friendly.  I do not think there is a nefarious plot behind it, I think it is self-centeredness and carelessness, as in, "Of course I'm right that he needs to smile, it doesn't matter what's going on in his life, I'm not going to even consider it because I'm right he needs to smile". 
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 06:41:51 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?

They're trying to be friendly. That's it.  It's like someone else said about saying "hello" - you say it to be pleasant. Or asking a stranger how their day is going. You don't expect a detailed list of their ongoing family troubles and medical issues as most just reply with "fine, thanks".  It's an exchange of pleasantries and a bit of banal small talk. Frankly, it's rather disturbing to me that people actually think there's some nefarious plot behind it.

Telling a stranger what to do is not trying to be friendly.  I do not think there is a nefarious plot behind it, I think it is self-centeredness and carelessness, as in, "Of course I'm right that he needs to smile, it doesn't matter what's going on in his life, I'm not going to even consider it because I'm right he needs to smile".

And that disturbs me. It's the same as getting angry and judging someone for saying "have a wonderful day". It still just makes no sense to me.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Mental Magpie on November 25, 2011, 07:27:41 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?

They're trying to be friendly. That's it.  It's like someone else said about saying "hello" - you say it to be pleasant. Or asking a stranger how their day is going. You don't expect a detailed list of their ongoing family troubles and medical issues as most just reply with "fine, thanks".  It's an exchange of pleasantries and a bit of banal small talk. Frankly, it's rather disturbing to me that people actually think there's some nefarious plot behind it.

Telling a stranger what to do is not trying to be friendly.  I do not think there is a nefarious plot behind it, I think it is self-centeredness and carelessness, as in, "Of course I'm right that he needs to smile, it doesn't matter what's going on in his life, I'm not going to even consider it because I'm right he needs to smile".

And that disturbs me. It's the same as getting angry and judging someone for saying "have a wonderful day". It still just makes no sense to me.

Saying "Have a wonderful day" is not making assumptions about what the rest of your day was like.  The reason I may not be smiling is because my dog died; making the assumption that that's just not that bad is a) an interesting assumption, and b) voicing that assumption is rude, which is what saying, "Smile!" is doing.  Why should I smile if I'm unhappy?  "Have a wonderful day" is wishing someone goodwill.  Telling them to smile is not; I do not see how you're putting them in the same category when one is a command and the other is a wish.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Nibsey on November 25, 2011, 07:31:56 PM
<snip the quote tree>
Telling a stranger what to do is not trying to be friendly.  I do not think there is a nefarious plot behind it, I think it is self-centeredness and carelessness, as in, "Of course I'm right that he needs to smile, it doesn't matter what's going on in his life, I'm not going to even consider it because I'm right he needs to smile".

And that disturbs me. It's the same as getting angry and judging someone for saying "have a wonderful day". It still just makes no sense to me.

I think the difference is that people smile when they are happy ergo if people are not smiling they generally have a reason. (Of course this isn't true for all people). So if I'm at work and for some reason I'm not smiling but also not frowning, not only does saying smile feel like an order as of course I'd be smiling if I was happy, but it could also get me in trouble with my manager if they overheard it, as I must have been frowning if a customer noticed.
Whereas 'have a wonderful day' doesn't have that effect firstly because I'm not giving you the visual cues that it's not possible for me to have a wonderful day (it's not as if you'd say it if I was bawling my eyes crying) and secondly because it's not a negative to my manager.  :) It's late here so I hope that makes sense.  :-[
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: kareng57 on November 25, 2011, 08:52:10 PM
Saying that someone saying "Smile" is an attempt to force you to do something seems to me to be a huge overreaction. It's like saying that someone telling you to "Have a good day" is forcing you to have a good day and that just seems ridiculous to me.  You aren't obligated to smile. 

This is one of the silliest ehell topics that started an argument that I've seen.

Why do you think you should have any power over the facial muscles and emotions of others?

That's where the disconnect is. I don't believe it's a forceful demand. It's meant as a cheerful comment, one is not required to respond with a smile. I believe that wondering that the speaker is trying to impose a power over your facial expressions and emotions is simply reading way too much into things.

So you believe that because you don't find it offensive anyone who does is silly and a special snowflake?

I actually said that I found the argument to be rather silly, but as far as the special snowflake goes, we all have our own views - I don't always agree with every poster in the SS thread either - some of those aren't SS to me (99% are, but...).  But I would be the person behind the person getting upset with the clerk for saying "Smile" who makes sure to tell the manager that the previous customer was overreacting.

Clearly I don't understand--what exactly is the purpose of telling someone to smile, in your view? What do you expect to accomplish? If you're not asking or expecting them to do something, then what do you want? Why is it so important to you that a stranger smile for your amusement?

They're trying to be friendly. That's it.  It's like someone else said about saying "hello" - you say it to be pleasant. Or asking a stranger how their day is going. You don't expect a detailed list of their ongoing family troubles and medical issues as most just reply with "fine, thanks".  It's an exchange of pleasantries and a bit of banal small talk. Frankly, it's rather disturbing to me that people actually think there's some nefarious plot behind it.

Telling a stranger what to do is not trying to be friendly.  I do not think there is a nefarious plot behind it, I think it is self-centeredness and carelessness, as in, "Of course I'm right that he needs to smile, it doesn't matter what's going on in his life, I'm not going to even consider it because I'm right he needs to smile".

And that disturbs me. It's the same as getting angry and judging someone for saying "have a wonderful day". It still just makes no sense to me.


Okay, I'll try.  Would you like being told "c'mon, smile!" if you were waiting for results of a biopsy?  If you'd just finished visiting your father in Palliative Care?  If you'd just found out that your car needed $3000 worth of repairs and you were figuring out where to find the money (and yes, you have no option but to drive)?  If the bank has just served you with a foreclosure notice?

For many of us who are going through a rough time, it's not an exchange of pleasantries at all.  It's a callous order from a stranger who has some odd need to be surrounded by smiling faces.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 25, 2011, 08:57:58 PM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 25, 2011, 09:10:42 PM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.

Still, why *ask* someone to smile in the first place? Wish them a nice day, fine. that's a nice thought. But *ask* them to do something? I just. don't. get. it.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: kareng57 on November 25, 2011, 09:17:27 PM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.


If you want to be cheerful, go ahead and smile at them - I don't think anyone here would say that would be rude.  Leave out any comments about what they ought to be doing.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: RingTailedLemur on November 26, 2011, 03:20:54 AM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.

You don't see telling someone to do something as a command?  Really?

No-one is saying it is rude to be cheerful - what we are saying is that it is rude to instruct others on the arrangement of their facial muscles.  If you won't see it that way, fine, but I think it very rude of you to tell other posters that something they find upsetting is not a big deal to you so it should not be a big deal to them.  We want to know how to deal with people who bark commands to smile at us, not whether or not we should be bothered by it.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: EduardosGirl on November 26, 2011, 07:14:48 AM
I don't think anyone believes that a "barked command" to smile is anything but rude. But someone saying "smile" or words to that effect =/= a barked command necessarily. Again, if there is aggression at any point, that's rude and inappropriate. But simply saying smile, while possibly annoying, is not rude.

I don't think it's entitled or patriarchal behaviour either: it can just be a bit annoying. No biggie.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Morticia on November 26, 2011, 08:12:08 AM
According to Miss Manners, "The smile police are rude and should be ignored."   (Her column in the Lakeland Ledger, July 20. 1999)
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Bibliophile on November 26, 2011, 10:43:08 AM
According to Miss Manners, "The smile police are rude and should be ignored."   (Her column in the Lakeland Ledger, July 20. 1999)

Oh, well, if Miss Manners says it's rude...
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: wendelenn on November 26, 2011, 10:45:14 AM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.


If you want to be cheerful, go ahead and smile at them - I don't think anyone here would say that would be rude.  Leave out any comments about what they ought to be doing.

Kareng says it all so much more succinctly.
Title: Re: Please don't tell me to smile.
Post by: Auntie Mame on November 26, 2011, 11:11:57 AM
I'm not going to be convinced that it's at all rude. Nor do I see it as a command. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, nor are they even in any type of command position to where they must be obeyed. Trying to be cheerful when, unbeknownst to you, the other person is having a bad day still is not rude.

And I will never understand the attitude "Since I don't find it rude, everyone who does is silly and an ss".