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The Six Most Common Types Of Smiles And Their Hidden Meaning
The tight lipped smile with low intensity.

The tight lipped smile with low intensity.

ONE. The tight lipped smile with low intensity. This smile happens as the lips are stretched across the face and no teeth are showing with very little upward curl in the corner of the mouth and indicates a hidden attitude or thought, uncertainty, hesitation or lack of confidence. This smile is used to placate others or to pose for photographs or when we aren’t in the mood to socialize. Strangers passing on the street will greet each other with a tight lipped smile. The smile is a feigned or dishonest smile so that others don’t catch on that we actually don’t like them. It might also appear out of nervousness or stress so it can appear when meeting new people. For this reason we can call the tight lipped smile the “polite smile.”

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TWO. Tight lipped smile with high intensity. This is a variation on the smile above, yet the corners of the lips rise even further with some teeth showing, gaze is steady and warm and the posture is relaxed. We find this smile appearing when meeting new acquaintances, so it’s not a full honest smile, but does show openness to others.

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The uneven smile. This one is a fake!

The uneven smile. This one is a fake!

THREE. The uneven smile. We might see this smile associated with tongue-in-cheek humour or sarcasm. The smile happens when only one side of the face sports a smile and the other side does not. The opposite side may even be down turned or frowning. The uneven smile depicts a frame of mind in which opposite or conflicting emotions are present.

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FOUR. The upper smile. In this smile, the upper lid is raised to expose only the top row of teeth, but the true significance is that the lower teeth remain hidden. In the upper smile the jaw and teeth remain closed and the message conveyed is of medium pleasure and comes off as insecure. Used car salesman, who beam light from their teeth in this way, will seem to have a hidden agenda.

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The grin or smirk.

The grin or smirk.

FIVE. The grin or smirk. The smirk indicates smugness and arrogance. It is a tight lipped smile with the addition of a degree self satisfaction for good measure. The smirk has accompanying dominant body language such as head back, shoulders back, open postures along with dialogue riddle with exuberant pride. The smirk will also happen when someone is under direct verbal attack. It’s the sort of face that makes you want to say “Wipe that grin off your face”. Sometimes though the smirk is due to the stress of being put under fire and isn’t always an attempt at questioning authority.

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The broad smile.

The broad smile.

SIX. Broad smile. In this smile the upper and lower teeth are made visible. The gaze is relaxed and the smile is intended to convey joy and pleasure. This is a true smile and not one that is easily faked. The tell tale sign of an honest smile is the appearance of crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. Crow feet make it seem as though the eyes are smiling. It is difficult to replicate these smiles without being truly amused or in good company as the muscles are usually out of our conscious control. We should be careful to use this smile, as with all smiles, when most appropriate. In the wrong context the broad smile will simply appear insincere.

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