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What Makes You Smile

smile at strangers

One of my favorite things to do is to make people smile. But the best smiles are the unexpected ones – the ones that sneak onto people’s faces before they even realize what’s happening. Those are the ones that make me giggle.

Have you ever caught someone’s eye by accident and immediately looked away out of embarrassment, only to glance back to see if the person is still looking at you?

And, no, I don’t mean in a crappy bar when someone is being creepy and staring at you…I mean when you’re on a commuter train and everyone is in their own worlds and ignoring everyone else around them until suddenly you make eye contact.

If you’re that person who looks away in embarrassment, I challenge you to hesitate for just a second and to smile. You might just cause a reciprocal smile, and we could all use more smiling faces looking back at us.

Be the person who smiles at strangers. You’ll feel happier even if at first you’re faking it.

Be the person who evokes a smile from a stranger. It’s impossible not to laugh when you see a smile sneak up and catch someone by surprise – the face contorts and the eyes reveal the shock and confusion. Humans are funny that way, thinking they can or should suppress emotions. But you can’t stop a smile once it starts. Not a genuine one at least!

Remember when you were little and you would giggle with your friends uncontrollably? When you’d laugh at something so hard that you forget what you were even laughing about?

When something – or someone – makes you smile, do it uncontrollably. Let it go and enjoy that childhood feeling again.

Find something that makes you smile from the inside out. For me, seeing other people smile makes me happy. I like seeing other people pursuing their dreams, glowing with giddiness, and wild-eyed with wonder. I like watching people smile to themselves because of some inner monologue or memory. I like seeing someone walking down the street, happy as can be, smiling at the world. That makes me smile, too.

What makes you smile?

Whatever it is, do it every single day. Make yourself smile by finding something happy and then make it a habit.

No, smiling won’t solve all your problems. Just like being smiled at won’t make you instantly happy. But if a stranger’s smile can shake you out of your routine and realize – just for a second – that the world is still spinning around you, then it’s worthwhile.

Let your smile out and see what happens. Smile at a stranger and mean it. You might just brighten people’s days when they need it most. And if you’re not yet convinced, just join the laughing train:



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