A smiling woman
Unsplash | Fleur Kaan

Woman Wonders If She Took Her Response Too Far After Boss Tells Her To 'Smile More'

How do you respond if someone tells you that you should smile more?

Some of us would internalize this irritating request and just smile. Some might make a complaint. Others still might take the opportunity to troll the person who asked.

A Redditor explained her actions in a classic post, but wondered if perhaps she had taken it a bit too far.

"Am I the [jerk] for giving a very silly ugly smile in meetings after my boss said I should smile more?"

Man smiling oddly
Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao

The question posed here gives a very brief summary of what happened, but it's truly a great story, so let's break it down.

"It felt...ick."

A workplace
Unsplash | Arlington Research

The poster, who notes that she's the only woman on her team at work, was told by her boss that she was coming off "harsh" with clients. He then asked her to display a more upbeat attitude and smile more.

None of her coworkers had ever been asked to smile more.

Coworkers in an office
Unsplash | Austin Distel

Feeling like she'd been singled out, OP polled her coworkers who confirmed that, well, she was probably being singled out. One of them suggested giving a really fake "pinched smile and bug-out eyes."

"I thought that was hilarious and decided to actually do it."

Mr. Bean goofy smile
Giphy |

"I started smiling more and more around my boss," she wrote. "But also a bit stupidly. Just keeping my mouth pinched tensely, gums on display, and purposely pulling my chin back towards my neck so I'd get a double chin."

She only did it around her boss, never actual clients.

Smiling woman
Unsplash | Vicky Hladynets

OP writes that her actions made her boss more and more uncomfortable, until he asked why she was putting on the face. Then her coworker backed her up and said, "What she was just smiling? What are you getting at her for."

Her coworkers had her back.

Coworkers in a meeting
Unsplash | Campaign Creators

They confirmed to the boss that she was just smiling.

Later, her boss called OP in for a one-on-one meeting. They hashed it out and came to an agreement that she could just be herself and not feel the need to be artificially peppy.

"I feel a little bad."

Smiling woman gif
Giphy | Dani Chase

"I basically gaslit my boss," she wrote. "My coworkers were in on it instead of being direct with him and just saying that he was coming across a bit sexist."

OP then asked Reddit if she was being a jerk.

Spoiler alert: she wasn't being a jerk.

"What do you suggest?" Schitt's Creek gif
Giphy | CBC

Many commenters chimed in and this was the resounding consensus.

Telling someone to smile can come off as invasive — after all, you don't know if there are physical or emotional reasons for their lack of smiling. Furthermore, it's almost always women who are told to smile, so there's an element of sexism as well.

How would you handle this?

A smiling woman
Unsplash | Fleur Kaan

It wouldn't be a great story if OP had simply refused the request. But the way she went about things is downright delightful.

Has anyone ever told you to smile more? How did you respond? Be sure to share your stories in the comments.