How Do We Smile; Let Me Count the Ways

Rainbow Smile
Rainbow Smile

I got an email from a virtual friend the other day and I responded to it by saying that it had made me smile. What I didn’t say was that it had made me smile through tears ~ or what I think of as a rainbow smile.

There are just so many kinds of smiles:

#1. Nervous smile ~ well displayed at job interviews.

#2. Wistful smile ~ waving goodbye to friends as they disappear out of sight in a car or on the train.

#3. Cheeky smile ~ the little guys who come to the door looking for their football that has landed bang in the middle of the rose bed.

#4. Lover’s smile ~ the adoring gaze when eyes meet eyes and lips watch lips

#5. Sympathetic smile ~ makes me think of my father’s smile when he was trying (and failing) to teach me fractions when I was a kid.

#6. Pretend smile ~ that mask we don when we feel we should be smiling and force one onto our faces

#7. Stranger’s Smile ~ the little nod and smile at a stranger as we bid them ‘Good Day.’

#8. Beaming Smile ~ when you radiate happiness, especially on hearing good news.

#9. Eye Smile ~ when twinkling eyes do all the smiling.

#10. Blogger’s smile ~ when you find yourself smiling through the computer screen having read a blog post or a fun-filled comment.

Always remember that Smile also says ‘Miles’ and Smiles certainly can reach across the world like the biggest social bridges imaginable.

Go on, think of all the smiles that I’ve missed and tell me about the smiles that mean the most to you. 



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 sense of place.

20 thoughts on “How Do We Smile; Let Me Count the Ways”

  1. A babys’ first smile..walking into a room and seeing someone who hasn’t seen you in a long; the smile on elderly parents or people who you have eye contact with..the smile on patients in a nursing home when someone just comes in (some of them never have a visitor ). A secret shared when it’s a surprise party..not telling the guest while planning is going on…the knowing smile. A smile that appears when something in the mail like an overdue letter, a parcel or an e-mail from someone you haven’t heard from in a long time.

  2. The most magnificent smile I’ve ever seen is on my mutt pup….Oh how I love him so. He’s 16 years old and still rambunctious and creating havoc wherever he goes but he’s one in a million 🙂

    1. Lennon, I had a long conversation with my son about dog smiles when I was planning this post. He said that he knows exactly when his dog is smiling and it’s not a tail-wagging smile.
      I’m so glad you brought it up too, as I believe that dogs smile and they certainly generate them in those who love them.

  3. An OMG smile when you find out you have done better than expected in an exam, but the one I really love is the smile I give myself when I look out of the study window and see all of the good things that surround me. The birds signing and occasionally fighting, the rustle of the light breeze through the palm tree after a night of howling gales, the wide expanse of blue sky littered with lot sof little clouds…and that’s just today:):) What a lovely blog post this morning Jean…

  4. I’m a big fan of the Panic Smile. When you hear something you can’t believe you just heard come out of someone’s mouth, and in your confusion you smile because you’re terrified of what else you might do otherwise.

    1. Yessss! Now how did I not think of ‘Glad to be Home’ Smile. The one when you shut the door behind you and lean against it with a big smile, especially if a dog comes racing out with a huge welcome!

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