How have NTs survived with their smiles covered behind masks

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ResilientBrilliance
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09 Oct 2021, 3:46 pm

If this has been asked before, sorry, please share the link.

Is anyone else surprised NTs have survived the pandemic with their precious smiles covered behind face masks? NTs always make such a big deal out of smiles, I'm honestly shocked they didn't go crazy without seeing smiles during the pandemic. Maybe I underestimated how important eyes are to the smile? Are the eyes more important than the mouth?



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09 Oct 2021, 3:51 pm

A smile is imposed on others, not something people value for themselves. How many times have you been told to smile by someone wearing a scowl?



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09 Oct 2021, 4:04 pm

ResilientBrilliance wrote:
If this has been asked before, sorry, please share the link.

Is anyone else surprised NTs have survived the pandemic with their precious smiles covered behind face masks? NTs always make such a big deal out of smiles, I'm honestly shocked they didn't go crazy without seeing smiles during the pandemic. Maybe I underestimated how important eyes are to the smile? Are the eyes more important than the mouth?


I remember thinking at the start of having to wear a mask how important it is for me to still engage with people in a none verbal way and so I have used eye contact and smiling with my eyes quite a lot when wearing a mask. With this I'm talking about at places like supermarkets at the cash register etc.

I'm presuming this is something NTs may have done unconsciously whereas for me it was something that I knew I had to do consciously.



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09 Oct 2021, 4:21 pm

The nice thing about wearing a mask is that you can poke your tongue out (well not too far) or pull a funny face, grimace etc and no one is any the wiser.

Or perhaps its just me.............


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theprisoner
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09 Oct 2021, 4:27 pm

Not everybody wears a mask, especially now, but even back during the height, i saw plenty of people that didnt, or half-assed improperly wore a mask. It takes more than a virus to rock the NT world.


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09 Oct 2021, 6:09 pm

This is why I don't believe those ''mind in the eyes'' tests are an accurate way to test how well you can read facial expressions, because although the muscles around the eyes tell a lot about emotion, you still can't be 100% sure without the whole face present. All I see in those tests is just a pair of eyes staring at me.

I often heard NTs complain that they can't always tell how someone is feeling when wearing a face mask, even though they can still see the eyes (unless it is very obvious, like a person is frowning hard or something). So that's enough evidence for me to prove that those mind in the eyes tests aren't accurate at all.


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09 Oct 2021, 7:28 pm

I do have sympathy for extroverts dealing with quarantine. Must be really stressful.



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09 Oct 2021, 7:35 pm

I can tell if someone's smiling at me even with them wearing a mask. There is a very specific expression people make with their eyes, and people also sometimes sound a bit different while talking when they smile.


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09 Oct 2021, 8:02 pm

ResilientBrilliance wrote:
Maybe I underestimated how important eyes are to the smile? Are the eyes more important than the mouth?

Yeah, I think so.
I know I've read in articles about body language, that when you're trying to figure out if a smile is genuine or not, it's all in the eyes.


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Arathors
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09 Oct 2021, 8:09 pm

Eyes are very important in the smile; they're part of how people discern fake smiles from real smiles. A real smile - also called a Duchenne smile - uses muscles around the eyes. It can be faked, but most people don't think to do it because they're too focused on the mouth aspect. They just don't think about it, because picking up on the eye muscle contractions is automatic for them. As a result, they say a fake smile "doesn't reach your eyes", even if they don't know anything about Duchenne.

Facial expressions can be difficult for me sometimes - more so with masks, of course - so I look for crinkles around the eyes, without furrowing of the brow, to distinguish a "real" smile. But it's not foolproof. The right side of my face is less expressive than my left; I've got less subconscious muscle control over it. So I'll deliberately smile more with that side of my mouth to even things out, because otherwise my smiles look like smirks. But getting a Duchenne smile on that side is difficult for me, even if I mean it. I can look in a mirror and do it, sure, but not at speed in a conversation.


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09 Oct 2021, 8:42 pm

smiling is cultural
Australians as a rule don't smile as much as Americans...



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09 Oct 2021, 9:23 pm

Arathors wrote:
Eyes are very important in the smile; they're part of how people discern fake smiles from real smiles. A real smile - also called a Duchenne smile - uses muscles around the eyes. It can be faked, but most people don't think to do it because they're too focused on the mouth aspect. They just don't think about it, because picking up on the eye muscle contractions is automatic for them. As a result, they say a fake smile "doesn't reach your eyes", even if they don't know anything about Duchenne.

Facial expressions can be difficult for me sometimes - more so with masks, of course - so I look for crinkles around the eyes, without furrowing of the brow, to distinguish a "real" smile. But it's not foolproof. The right side of my face is less expressive than my left; I've got less subconscious muscle control over it. So I'll deliberately smile more with that side of my mouth to even things out, because otherwise my smiles look like smirks. But getting a Duchenne smile on that side is difficult for me, even if I mean it. I can look in a mirror and do it, sure, but not at speed in a conversation.


I feel like actual like smiling where teeth show is hard for my physically, but my jaws got a slight misalignment in the past quack orthodontists convinced my mom to get me braces so I suffered those for a couple years when it turns out to actually get my teeth aligned fully correctly I'd have to have jaw surgery. And not willing to do that, its not visible on the outside like my face does not look crooked or anything so I don't think it's worth it.

Not for certain if that is the reason that sort of smile is hard but seems possible.


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cyberdad
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09 Oct 2021, 9:29 pm

it's interesting, I wonder what the role of mirror neurons are with smiling? anyone?



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09 Oct 2021, 10:31 pm

I'm on the opposite side of the spectrum as face-blindness; Sometimes I can't stand looking at people's faces because there's just too much information there, for me.

Facemasks do hide some information but not enough to hide smiles usually unless it's just a very slight smile. The biggest tell is the cheeks around the cheek bones and right under the eyes. Aside from that, there's also eyebrows and ears. If their mask is pressed against their face tight enough, you can also see the mask move outward on the cheek near the sides of the lips.

There's also much beyond the face, too. Tone of voice, word choice, expressiveness of their speech and body language, how inclusive they are of you to their own world, how invested they are in yours, how easily they laugh, and more.

Rather than smiles and expressions, the worst part is probably the loss and increased difficulty of physical closeness and intimacy. Nothing makes ya feel quite as distant as being near someone and having to hold back your impulse to physically interact with them.


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09 Oct 2021, 10:35 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
I feel like actual like smiling where teeth show is hard for my physically, but my jaws got a slight misalignment in the past quack orthodontists convinced my mom to get me braces so I suffered those for a couple years when it turns out to actually get my teeth aligned fully correctly I'd have to have jaw surgery. And not willing to do that, its not visible on the outside like my face does not look crooked or anything so I don't think it's worth it.

Not for certain if that is the reason that sort of smile is hard but seems possible.
I'm one of those people who have had jaw surgery. It was pretty intense but I got through it no trouble at all. But the thing is, my face shape still isn't symmetrical. Ah, what to do.

I'm much more confident about smiling though, even through a mask.



cyberdad
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09 Oct 2021, 10:58 pm

I look for the crinkle on the edge of the eye to indicate smiling through a face mask