Monday, January 14, 2013

Faces Speak Volumes

No matter how hard we try, most of us cannot hide our true responses to situations.

My favorite category of facial communicators is the teenager. Love them. So honest. They have no qualms with advertising their displeasure with an eye roll and dramatic sigh or  happiness with a bursting smile and squeal.

I confess. I annoyed a Best Buy phone sales/clerk. Didn't mean to. And he never said anything to indicate I had. But his face did. 

Here's what happened:

I needed a service done for my phone. He had never done the service before. The exciting challenge to solve a new techy problem was on his face. His eyebrows rose as he went through his thought process. He pulled out his smartphone, looked up the directions on line and proceeded to follow the steps. The corners of his mouth rose, dimples appeared, the muscles in his cheeks moved up toward his eyes. He seemed proud and happy. Everything went fine. I paid, received instructions, he switched the phone, etc. 

Then the computer spit out three forms. He halfway looked at them and handed the papers to me. "Please complete these forms." 

One form required me to write my credit card information. "Why do you need this? I already paid," I asked

poof - his demeanor changed.

The corners of his lips dipped, the muscles and skin around his cheeks sagged, his eyebrows dipped toward his nose and the corners of his eyes lowered. He was not happy. 

"I'm not sure. The computer wouldn't print them unless they need to be completed."

"Yes but I paid already. I am uncomfortable with writing my credit card information on this paper when we don't know why it is needed or who will see it."

poof - his demeanor changed again to defensive.

He rolled his eyes and relaxed his head against the chair back. His smug body response said, "Lady you know nothing."

I understood his defensive communication. I have a teen daughter who an out do me with any techy device. Yet, he did not understand me. "I have had my identity stolen before."

"Your bank will refund the money. It's no big deal."

"Actually that doesn't happen in ever case. Including ours."

poof- his demeanor changed one last time to annoyed.

"Well fine." He grabbed a pen and blackened out the credit card number.

One observation I really noticed was how faces form a V when we are happy. Our eyebrows go up, the outer corner of our eyes raise, our cheek muscles go up, and our lips angle up.

When we are unhappy our faces form an inverted V. The eyebrows, eyes, and corners of lips angle down. The cheek muscles sag.

The facial communication on the clerk, told me his side of the story better than words.

Watch people's faces around you. The person could be having a bad day, or forgot to bring their lunch. Do you see V or inverted V?  Perhaps we can reach out to those in need when we notice their facial communication.

Photo courtesy of


Janice said...

Yes, faces speak a thousand words without opening the lips!

When my son was young we went through many of the How to Draw This and That books at the county library. One of the books had "topsie-turvies" or some such name. It showed how to draw a face with wrinkles on the forehead so that when it was turned upside down it would look like a face with a frown. It was a lot of fun drawing those faces with the frowns and smiles all on one head! Thanks for jogging my memory!

Have a smiling good day!

Mary Vee Writer said...

And you as well, Janice :)