Years before “RBF” was a thing on the Internet, my sweet husband had coined a similar abbreviation of the phenomenon for me: CBF. Instead of Resting B Face, he used Chronic for the first word.
I’ve long suffered from RBF/CBF. It took Brandon a longggg time to learn that I actually WAS NOT MAD. Thankfully, he now just walks up, says “CBF??” and I say “Yep!” and we move on with the conversation.
Here’s the crazy thing. People used to tell me–not infrequently–that when the first met me, they thought I was…not-so-nice. Keep in mind though, that it’s not like I did or said anything that was unkind. The problem, I’d later find out, was that my face always looks like I’m mad. The only way to counteract this is to grin like a lunatic, which actually doesn’t do much for likeability either. You’re either mean or insane, and neither option is good.
Add to the face issue my introverted personality, and it’s honestly a miracle I have any friends at all. I mean, my family is forced to love me, so I have that. But then I have some friends too! Apparently, those brave enough to get past my face come to know and love me (well, mostly). I wonder, seriously…how many more friends I’d have if I didn’t have this condition.
You know that scene in Juno right? The stink eye in art class? I have probably given so many undeserved stink eyes to people. I hope they saw the movie Juno and figured it was probably just my face too.
Sometimes, I try to really work on my RBF. I’ll sit at my desk and try to concentrate on keeping my face really neutral. But before you know it, I’m back to glaring at my screen. I think this may actually come in handy at the office—when people come by to ask me something and I look like I want to kill someone, they might just walk away and never bother me at all!! (Just kidding. Everyone I work with just comes right on in, they know by now that if they waited for me to look up with a smile, they’d never speak…so they just start talking.)
At home, I think Harlyn just accepts me for who I am. She’s never like “Mommy, why are you mad?” unless I am actually upset. She must have some innate understanding of my emotions, because she never misreads me. Hopefully, Maverick will have this same trait and I won’t have anyone at home wishing Mommy was happier when I really, truly, am happy.
Ok here’s another thing about RBF. You get wrinkles. Now, I’m a 32 (wait, I’m 32, right? Yes. Yes I am.) year old woman, so I’m sure I’d have some anyway, but I KNOW that my forehead looks like it does because of this problem. Every once in a while, I become weirdly obsessed with my forehead and try to like, manually rub the wrinkles away. Brandon totally calls me on this too, like “OMG you are insane woman, stop touching your face like that!!!” But what if several minutes a day of rubbing my face can remove 32 years of frowning??? You just never know.
Because of my natural face, I feel like I often have to be overly friendly and smile more than the average person just so people don’t hate me. It’s exhausting. Or, if I don’t bother to go above and beyond, I worry that I seem overwhelmed, frustrated, and unapproachable. The struggle is real, friends.
I know there must be other sufferers out there, so please, let me know that I am not alone!!! Tell me all the things! Do people think you’re heinous upon meeting you, too? How do you cope with your annoyingly mad face??
In the meantime, I’ll just be here unintentionally scowling at everyone and everything.