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How can I stop being so scary?!

(19 Posts)
HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 17:47:45

Looking for some advice please!

I have always been told that I'm intimidating, cold and scary sad. A very good friend of mine told me yesterday that I have bitchy resting face and I still intimidate her sometimes! This is at complete odds with how I feel, and I really don't mean to come across this way to people! I actually lack confidence and feel quite awkward with people - especially new people. I get very shy and I just feel like I don't know how to make my facial expressions warm and friendly without looking creepy! I think this all stems from an abusive childhood.

I am currently training to be a psychotherapist as I'm a natural listener (much prefer listening to talking) and I want to help people. But I'm seriously worried that my clients will think the same as the vast majority of people, and not warm to me. Is there anything I can do? I've had lots of counselling in the past and it hasn't ever changed the way I come across to people. Am I stuck like this forever?!

Thanks!

EnterNicknameHere Sat 01-Aug-15 17:54:23

I could have written your post, even down to the "bitchy resting face" comments. I have been trying to make more of an effort to smile more but it feels so unnatural. I have been initiating conversation more in a friendly way with random people, at school for example, it actually seems to be working! Other people have started to approach me more smile

I feel awkward around people and don't like things like waving, but I decided to just fake it until it felt more natural and it seems to be paying off, so maybe try and smile at just one extra person a day to start with and it might start to come more naturally.

HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 17:59:17

Thanks enter, nice to know I'm not the only one! Guess I might just have to fake it until I make it smile

MadeMan Sat 01-Aug-15 18:06:58

If you look down and then look up, it's easier to flash a smile at someone or a camera.

holdyourown Sat 01-Aug-15 18:10:43

You could try reading 'Presence' by Patsy Rodenburg (should be on amazon)

sensiblesometimes Sat 01-Aug-15 18:11:47

Have you covered the 'theory 'compartmentalising' in your training ..

HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 18:18:48

Thanks hold. Will take a look

HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 18:20:36

A little, sensible. I'm relatively early on in my training though. I am aware of the general concept.

FuckingLiability Sat 01-Aug-15 20:11:09

I have been told that I am scary, intimidating etc. This has always come as something of a surprise to me because I have never really been confident but over time I've learned to put on a front. I guess it's been fairly effective!

It's not necessarily a bad thing - people don't really mess with me now and in my line of work that's good. The downside is that sometimes people extrapolate it and assume that you're just a total bitch, so when I mentioned to a colleague that I regularly donate to food banks, I got the response, 'What? But I thought you would just let poor people starve!'. Erm, THANKS.

KetchupIsNearlyAVegetable Sat 01-Aug-15 20:15:03

Counselling wont help with this.

Drama class or stand up comedy class will help to make you more aware of what you project and allow you to analyse and experiment in a safe supportive environment.

Hoppinggreen Sat 01-Aug-15 20:19:02

Sounds like me but its never caused me a problem and has actually served me well sometimes.
I have a good friend who us a psychotherapist and she's not very warm and fuzzy either but she says it helps keep things professional with her clients.
You may want to learn a few " tricks" but there's no need to change really. People who get to know you will like the real you, I have plenty of friends and if some people find me too scary then that's their insecurity rather than any failing on my part.

pocketsaviour Sat 01-Aug-15 20:29:43

If it's about the bitchy resting face - which I have in spades - try practicing raising your eyebrows so that your eyes are more open, which looks welcoming.

My eyebrows are set quite low and my hairline is quite high, and in repose my brows lower until I basically look like I'm sulking at the world. It's awful! I'm trying to practice keeping my brows higher whenever I remember, and hoping it becomes a habit.

I never realized I had this until I was recording a video one day and then got interrupted by a phone call and left the video running while I was talking, then played it back afterwards. When you know you've got a camera pointed at you, you're "on" - smiling, showing animation, etc. When talking on the phone, that face just totally disappeared and you would have thought I was talking to someone I hated. (I wasn't - it was my son!)

HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 20:40:34

Thanks everyone!

ketchup I haven't had counselling to tackle this particular issue IYSWIM, I just mentioned that I've had counselling for my childhood as I thought posters might ask or recommend it for confidence etc.

I hadn't thought that the way I come across might actually be a benefit for work hopping. Good to know.

HairyAndScary Sat 01-Aug-15 20:42:26

I know what you mean pocket. If I know I'm being filmed I actually look quite nice on camera as my face is deliberately more open and smiley. If I don't, and then I see the footage afterwards I think I look so moody!

Wrapdress Sun 02-Aug-15 01:22:48

I used to have a resting bitchy face, but then I did Botox and derma filler on the lines between my eyes and - boom - happy resting face!

Google before and after pictures of people who had these frown lines done. It's amazing.

SomethingBad Sun 02-Aug-15 15:16:35

I was also going to suggest Botox! If you get your forehead done it tends to lift your eyebrows slightly smile

tribpot Sun 02-Aug-15 15:29:36

Is "bitchy resting face" something any man would worry about ever? No, thought not.

On top of which, your clients aren't going to see your bitchy resting face, unless you intend to ignore them when they arrive until they're actually sitting down right in front of you. Instead you will be looking at them, being deliberately smiling and welcoming as you are when you're being photographed.

I would try not worrying about it. Being told you look scary is probably making you self-conscious so I'd be tempted to challenge people who do so on that basis. As in 'actually I tend not to be very confident in social situations' - just that, nothing more. You don't need to apologise or explain.

pocketsaviour Sun 02-Aug-15 15:34:12

Is "bitchy resting face" something any man would worry about ever?

They wouldn't call it by that term, but certainly men in any professional role also have to think about how they come across. If you have a guy who's default expression is angry or suspicious or sulky, he's not going to get very far in life.

spudlike1 Sun 02-Aug-15 15:54:32

Smiley face or serious face depending on what is required, look them in the eye or don't look them in the eye depending on what is required above all else be professional ..at all times ....oh and yourself smile

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