Why I Wish I Had RBF

by Kira Gilbertson
A close-up a a brunette woman's brown eyes
Alma Compagnone / EyeEm / Getty

For some reason that I have yet to explain, people find me approachable. I will be walking through a store and have multiple different people strike up a conversation. The conversations are mundane and mostly chit-chat. It is far from flirtatious in nature. I seem to get a lot of elderly folks or women my age.

Every time this happens, I leave the conversation thinking, “How the hell did that just happen?” I typically trace my steps, behavior, and attempts at dodging eye contact.

Through careful analysis and self-reflection, I believe I have identified a few physical attributes that contribute to my perceived approachability. I have a round face with constantly reddened cheeks and I am squishy in the middle. I likely remind folks of Mrs. Claus.

However, most incriminating, I have a resting smile. Even sitting here writing this, I am aware that I have a slight smile… regardless of the annoyances around me.

This has been a way of life for me for quite some time. My husband is a strong introvert and despises the random interactions that I attract. It makes our typical activity of people watching/judging an awkward experience when said people decide to engage in unsolicited social interaction.

Now this condition has benefited me in my professional life. As a nurse, it helps that I have a resting smile on my face. Typically this demeanor makes me appear to be calm and collected, even when the shit is flying… quite literally. I would hope that when someone is in crisis, it is helpful to see a friendly face –even if it is on a stranger.

I do, however, envy the crew that identify as having the “Resting Bitch Face,” aka RBF. These people are able to go to the grocery store and not have to talk to the lady in the aisle about her favorite kind of spaghetti sauce.

There are times when I just want to be left alone. Likely due to my Midwestern upbringing, I have a difficult time ending the unwanted conversations, regardless of my desire for silence.

Clearly there are worse afflictions to have. And it is not that I am unfriendly; I just find most people to be quite annoying. I prefer to engage in social interactions that I orchestrate myself, but clearly, people can’t resist this mug.