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Reikistar
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30 Mar 2022, 1:48 pm

Does anyone else have this weird problem?

I'm not sure if this is down to self-consciousness, but I don't feel natural when making facial expressions. I can't openly smile, for instance. When I try to smile I feel like I don't know what my face is doing. Also, when listening to someone in a conversation, I'm hyper aware of trying to make the right facial expressions and not looking weird. I've been told I have a poker face and seem indifferent (I'm actually highly sensitive).

I feel like everyone else is so natural with their expressions and I'm like a robot trying to work out how to move my facial muscles in accordance with what is expected of me.



autisticelders
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30 Mar 2022, 2:27 pm

I have it too, its called flat effect.... there is lots of info to be found in an internet search.
the face is not very expressive of emotions , due to our neurology.

Very common among autistic individuals. I can sort of smile, but I am not spontaneous, and other facial expressions are poor to non existent for the most part too.

My voice also has a flat sort of monotone to it.

I always thought I was very expressive of voice and facial features but recently saw myself on a video for the first time at age 70. I was not even remotely like what I thought I was. Amazing.


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Reikistar
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30 Mar 2022, 2:55 pm

autisticelders wrote:
I have it too, its called flat effect.... there is lots of info to be found in an internet search.
the face is not very expressive of emotions , due to our neurology.

Very common among autistic individuals. I can sort of smile, but I am not spontaneous, and other facial expressions are poor to non existent for the most part too.

My voice also has a flat sort of monotone to it.

I always thought I was very expressive of voice and facial features but recently saw myself on a video for the first time at age 70. I was not even remotely like what I thought I was. Amazing.


Interesting....I will look up flat effect.

It all makes sense now I can see myself as part of the autistic spectrum. I never feel natural. I feel like I had to learn the rules of how to behave in a conversation, even what facial expressions are needed. I've got better with people I know well and trust, but I'm certainly not spontaneous.

Seeing myself on video would be my worst nightmare. Audio is fine, I've recorded myself lots of times. I think I'm more expressive when I speak. I wouldn't say I'm monotone.



Blue_Star
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30 Mar 2022, 2:57 pm

It's flat affect, not effect.



HeroOfHyrule
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30 Mar 2022, 4:05 pm

I have problems making "proper" facial expressions. I have to force myself to do them and it's hard to "feel" if I'm doing it right or not. I usually have to get myself to smile and laugh even when I do find something amusing.

There are also some expressions that I naturally make when I feel certain emotions, or am put in specific situations, but they're not really the "proper" ones and people sometimes think they're weird or misunderstand them.


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DavidJSNSW64
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30 Mar 2022, 4:42 pm

I find Zoom meetings great for seeing what my public expression is and adjusting it if necessary. For much of my life, my expression at any given time has been out of sync with others and I really object to someone asking me if something is wrong or if I am angry just because my face is not what they expect at that time. Then of course I do get angry which is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Basically I'd like people to mind their own goddamn business and leave us to have our facial expressions regardless of whether they are 'appropriate' or not.



Joe90
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30 Mar 2022, 4:59 pm

I sometimes look sad when I'm not interacting with anyone, and people say "cheer up", which I don't really like much. Sometimes I'm making a certain facial expression on purpose and people still tell me to cheer up, like sometimes I'll put on a serious or even innocent expression so that people know I'm being serious or whatever, but then it's always "smile! Cheer up!" Why have I always got to smile all the time? Who does smile all the time?

I'm not too bad with facial expressions when I'm interacting - unless I suddenly become conscious of it. But people have often said that I have a face of a thousand words, meaning I'm very expressive in my facial expressions, so that's good.


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auntblabby
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08 Apr 2022, 7:03 pm

Reikistar wrote:
Does anyone else have this weird problem? I'm not sure if this is down to self-consciousness, but I don't feel natural when making facial expressions. I can't openly smile, for instance. When I try to smile I feel like I don't know what my face is doing. Also, when listening to someone in a conversation, I'm hyper aware of trying to make the right facial expressions and not looking weird. I've been told I have a poker face and seem indifferent (I'm actually highly sensitive). I feel like everyone else is so natural with their expressions and I'm like a robot trying to work out how to move my facial muscles in accordance with what is expected of me.

you basically took the words right outta my mouth :o i have all the same issues. :|



DavidJSNSW64
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25 May 2022, 5:22 pm

People who tell me to 'cheer up' risk their health and safety. It is so offensive to instruct someone to have a particular emotion. If anyone doesn't like the emotion I am having now they can move away from me.



ToughDiamond
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26 May 2022, 2:46 am

As far as I know my facial expressions might be a little subdued, but not greatly so. I'm aware of having to deliberately pull my face a little in order to reflect what I'm feeling, and if I didn't do that then I'd probably just look very bland all the time.

But I do have a problem with smiling for the sake of it and deliberately pulling faces to display feelings I don't have. I see other people doing those things and it just makes me suspicious of them - I tend to think if they fake their expressions then they can't be sincere. I suppose I do it a bit, e.g. if somebody tells me a joke and I don't find it funny, I might force a bit of a laugh rather than leave them feeling they've completely failed to entertain me - in the same way I might clap after somebody's publicly performed a piece of music I didn't really enjoy very much. So I'm not entirely free of it, but I never like myself for doing it, and I keep it on a fairly low level.

I'm probably technically capable of acting out facial expressions though. If I'm telling an anecdote I often pull faces to reflect the supposed feelings of the characters in the anecdote, but that's not dishonesty, it's just adding a bit of colour and interest to the story. Occasionally I see a musician perform a song and notice that their expression is very out of touch with the song's sentiments, and sometimes I see that as a flaw in their performance, though my own facial expressions while performing are pretty limited. I'm usually too focussed on getting it to sound right and remembering the words. But again, I don't like to see a performer taking it too far.



KeepWaiting
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26 May 2022, 2:56 am

I was called stoic once upon a time. I think I’m more awkward than stoic.



Suzyb
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26 May 2022, 3:29 pm

I can relate to a lot of this. I was always told to smile as a child. I am told I look miserable when I am not. I have a movement disorder so my mouth moves a lot but tends to be in a pout like position so people think I am posing when I am not and I also have problems with the nerves in my face so I think that might contribute towards my inabiity to make any facial expressions other than a frown. Someone mentioned the monotone voice and I have this too. All my children were told they had no expressive voices when reading at school so I sat night after night doing homework with exaggerated voices.