Smile, Smiles and Smiling



I was heading out our front gate today and a young lad of about fourteen happened to be coming along the footpath. He smiled at me with one of the warmest smiles I’ve seen in a long time.

Every time I think of him, I find myself smiling too.

I’m quite sure he’s forgotten all about our ‘meeting’ but it certainly woke me up to the extent to which a smile, yes a simple smile, can light up a day, a life.

I’ve resolved to do more now than mumble some kind of acknowledgement to passing strangers and actually smile at them. It certainly won’t cost anything and it might hold a lot more value than I’ll ever know.





Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and I love to write both non-fiction and poetry.

48 thoughts on “Smile, Smiles and Smiling”

  1. I think of this often. Being a walker (and before that a runner) I always note the people who look at me as I pass and return my smile, and those that don’t. I wonder how sad the lives must be of those who avert their eyes and have a fear of smiling. Smiling at each other conveys, to me, an acknowledgment that we’re all part of this world together. Smiling bonds us, I believe. I’m smiling at YOU right now. πŸ™‚

    1. Tric, be sure to let me know how you get on.
      Years ago, my mother took one of Dale Carnegie’s totally to heart and went off shopping and was all smiles and compliments. She ended up taking about 4 hours to do what normally took 30 mins!!

  2. Saw some smiles recently. Enjoyed them. Wanted to see more of them. Find them almost essential to having a good day. For that reason, I now carry an emergency red rubber clown nose in the glove compartment of my pickup truck.

    1. Hi Van, great to hear from you. If I see a guy driving a truck on the wrong side of the road and wearing a clown’s nose, I’ll ask him about Mark Twain over sundry drinks 😁

  3. Sometimes I think I only realise I’ve had an encounter with a stranger until about 3 seconds after, when we’ve passed each other by. Another symptom of not really being present in the moment, I suppose. Certainly can make me seem rude. I’m always resolving to take more notice, but usually don’t get much past that… thanks for a helpful reminder!

    1. Hi Tara, from reading your blog, I suspect you’re pondering all sorts of amusing things and probably have a smile on your face anyway.
      Loved your latest about the best jobs for writers.

  4. I particularly like it when a young person smiles at an older one first. In the UK, it has become quite unusual. We are more likely to be treated as a threat, a weirdo, or plain invisible if we’re the ones to initiate a smile with a random youngster whilst out walking. I blame it on the media injecting fear and suspicion into youngsters, through unbalanced reporting.

    1. Sarah, that sounds pretty awful. I’m even more glad than ever that I’m living in Tramore after reading about the UK situation as you experience it. Just hope it doesn’t spread here!

  5. What a lovely post, and I love that many people responded with their own similar stories. As I was reading, I immediately thought of someone who had recently smiled at me and made my day. Your post was contagious… I am smiling now!

  6. Yes, social smiles are great. How true! But you also remind me to smile even when there’s no one around. It strenghens the facial muscles to make social smiling less work (and frowning less natural). Plus, it can literally make you feel better. Working at home, I often unknowingly frown in concentration or frustration, with a permanent crinkled forehead between the eyebrows. When I notice my reflection in the laptop screen, I stretch and rub the spot to loosen those muscles, but smiling spreads the forehead, too, stretching it toward the temples. Smiling is a simple, effective tool for “increasing your face value,” as Dolly Parton said in Steel Magnolias. And it gives us smile lines–the right kind of wrinkles. πŸ™‚

    1. Couldn’t agree more about smiling versus smiling. I have a book of wit beside my computer at all times (one that belonged to my late father) and when I feel a frown taking hold, I dip into that for a smile and a chuckle. Never fails!

  7. I have learned many things about the simple smile.

    1. It takes less effort to smile than it does to frown.
    2. If you smile when you are in a bad mood, you will be in less of a bad mood.
    3. You just never know when a simple smile can make a stranger’s day.

    Keep on smiling!


  8. Recently I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in years. I was so thrilled that she came to see me when she happened to be in this part of the country. Afterward, even driving home and alone in my car, I realized I was smiling, a big smile to myself, just thinking about it, all day and into the next. Meanwhile, everyone I met was so smiley and friendly, and it must have been because I was radiating my happiness outward. It made me realize how powerful a smile can be.

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