How I Learned To Embrace My “Resting Bitch Face”

Stella Guan
7 min readDec 28, 2021

What It’s Like To Be Told To Smile More Your Entire Life

My first memory of becoming self-conscious about my face was around the age of seven, when my mother mentioned casually that I looked prettier when I smiled.

Even as a child, I understood the unspoken message — I was not pretty when I didn’t smile.

At that age, I thought it was ridiculous.

Why would I have to force myself to smile if I didn’t feel like it? What’s wrong with my normal, expression-less face?

Photo by Jim Flores on Unsplash. This is NOT me! For my real “resting bitch face”, check my profile picture.

When I turned twelve, I got into a fight that almost turned physical with a boy in class.

He was one of the “naughty kids” that always caused trouble.

One day, he said to me: “You’d look fine if you just cover up the bottom half of your face.”

I almost hit him with a broom — we were on cleaning duty for the classroom that day.

Fast forward to adulthood, I finally learned of a name for the predicament I had been in my entire life revolving around my face — apparently, I suffer from something called the “resting bitch face”.

Accepting That People Will Always Get The Wrong First Impression

“I wondered if you were nice.”

A former colleague who later became a good friend of mine confessed how she felt about me when she first met me.

I chuckled.

The “resting bitch face” strikes again. At that point, I had already been through enough to know that people with my kind of face always come across as being aloof and cold.

…people with my kind of face always come across as being aloof and cold.

In fact, I realized that my middle school head teacher was afraid of saying anything that might hurt my feelings while she constantly reprimanded other kids with ease.

Not that I was an unruly kid, but I’m sure I did a thing or two that could use some form of advice from a teacher.

It’s probably safe to say that my “resting bitch face” had a little something to do with me being seen as a…