You’re An Emotion Mime: You Mimic Facial Expressions

You want to be liked. Of course you do. There’s nothing wrong with wanting others to respond to you in a positive way. People who are likable get many of the best opportunities in life. Jobs are given more often to the likable candidate over the slightly more qualified, yet less likable candidate. Others are repelled or attracted to you on your overall likability and how you make them feel when they’re around you.

So how can you make others smile and feel good around you? It’s simple—smile and others will smile at you; feel good and others will feel good around you. You see, you’re an emotion mime. And so is everyone else.

Have you ever noticed face mirroring, or mimicking? When you’re watching TV, do you sometimes catch yourself having the very same expression as the character that you’re watching? My husband, Burt, does this and it’s so funny to watch. His expression mimicking is more pronounced than in anyone else that I know; he’s the definition of an open book, very readable. For instance, he might be watching an episode of Discovery Channel’s “Naked And Afraid”, listening to some guy give an in-the-moment report of the tough conditions and how hard it is to make fire when the humidity is so high. Burt nods deeply in agreement. I smile because I know, that he doesn’t know, that he’s mimicking.

Energy is transferable and emotions are a form of energy. The advertising world knows this, and they use it on you every day. Emotion mimicking is being monetized all around you from billboards to commercials. When you see someone smiling a big beautiful open smile, it makes you smile too. Just by watching someone else’s emotion, happy or sad or any feeling in between, you can take on the emotion. Masters of social media know this too. Often people don’t even read a post or article, but they might ‘like’ it for a photo that makes them feel something good. The best click-bait photos across social media platforms are tight face shots of genuinely joy-filled people, happy couples, or playful pets. The formula is: Happy Faces, Puppies and Kittens, oh my!

Emotions are also mirrored through senses other than sight. People talk louder and faster when they are upset, out of control, or feel wronged or know that they are in the wrong. If someone is yelling at you, use this trick—lower and slow your voice and deepen your voice tone, and soon they will lower theirs to match, and they will calm down.

Take the knowledge of emotion mimicking through viral energy and flip the script in your favor. Be mindful of the emotions that you take on from the media all around you, and the people that you spend time with—protect your happiness. And remember, you have the same effect on others who observe you; emotions are catchy! Whether you are deliberate about it or not, you are an emotion mime. Having awareness of this phenomenon, and therefore self-awareness, can be useful. You can improve your influence and likability just by transferring positive emotions to those around you.