I found the article hihgly interesting, and this has to do with my nationality.
I'm from Bavaria, in South Germany.
After WW II Bavaria had military posts of the US Army basically everywhere.s
So one of these days I ran into a WEst Point officer and we evetually got engaged. When I was with him in the States to visit, I was overwhelmed by the friendliness I encountered everywhere.
Everybody was smiling at me, even strangers in supermarkets apologized and smiled when actually I had bumped into them.
I felt very welcome and it was easy to make a contact.
In good old Germany, it is different.
Even though I come from Bavaria which is much more easygoing and mellow than the North, (no wonder, we make the best beer in the world, he,
)people here will frown when they feel like it. They'll tell you their honest opinion, and not too softly. Their faces are mostly a total mirror of the inner mood. Honesty and authentizity trumps.
So when I came back to Germany, I noticed this for the first time:
"Wow, how grouchy people look. But most people just had indifferent faces, I just missed the smiles.
Here, when you smile, you're either with good friends, or you have "intentions".
To pick somebody up.
I was even once asked by an American to smile.
I told him: "Why? I don't feel like smiling. "
He saiod: Yes, but it doesn't have to show. People will think you are mad at them."
This brings us to the biological and evolutionary PURPOSE of smiling:
It is an appeasing gesture.
Dogs and cats will wag tails, purr and give their cheeks into your hand, Human beings smile to show harmlessness and to appease.
Smiling is a huge inrstument we are using to signal to others that we are not looking for a fight, but friend-ly. Like friends.
Like in Germany friends smile at each other.
A bit less phoney smiles in the USA and a bit more friendliness to strangers in Germany would be my ideal.
PS: I have adopted a lot of the Americyan style, btw. It has the effect that people become very friendly and helpful....and that makes me happy and smile.
What a vicious