It is a well-known fact that people with strong empathy are more efficient at distinguishing a fake smile from a real one. You don’t have to look at facial muscles, the typical scientific means for distinguishing the difference. You can see it in their eyes. While genuine smiles are lively and engaging, with full attention to their subject, fake smiles are usually accompanied by dull and lifeless eyes.
Authentic smiles carry no harm. They project a genuineness and vulnerability that open the soul to true intimacy. A compelling reason to respond in kind. But a fake smile can also draw in an HSP, especially one that is exceptionally empathic. It is crucial that you, as an HSP or empath, know the difference. Your response depends upon it.
Reason #1 – To Hide Great Sadness
With the rise of social media, the feeling that we always have to be happy and show the world that everything is right with our world has grown. After all, that is all we see. People putting their best foot forward. Yet there are people who face great sadness and depression every day. Those people can often attempt to hide their sadness.
We as highly empathic people can see right through that. We are also drawn, through that same empathy, toward wanting to help those people. This is part of our gift to others — a sympathetic ear, comfort and support.
As long as we maintain healthy boundaries for ourselves, this gift contributes positively toward healing a hurting world.
Reason #2 – To Manipulate You
On the other hand, a fake smile may represent something far more sinister.
A smile is the true universal communication gesture. We all respond to a smile. Part of the smile’s power is to convey warmth, joy, and openness. But manipulators can use that maxim to draw you in for their own deceitful purposes.
Narcissists and psychopaths are drawn to empathic individuals because that trait opens us up to exploitation. These types of people are very destructive with agendas that are exploitative and tyrannical. Care must be taken to stay away from these people.
An early warning sign that will help you in identifying a manipulator is a fake smile. Narcissists and psychopaths’ ability to feel happiness is nonexistent. In its place is the need for power. A smile is one of their weapons to gain power over you.
As a highly sensitive person, it is vital that you to distinguish between the two types of fake smiles. Both will want to draw you in. Your response should be very different to each one.
Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson
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