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17 Types Of Smiles To Wear: A Guide For All Occasions

by Evelyn on May 8, 2008

What happens when you feel the first instance of joy?

That’s right. You break out in a smile.

A smile is a facial expression with the upward contours at the ends of your mouth :-) Sometimes, it may not be mouth that is telling of a smile; it may just be that sparkle in your eyes! Hence, it is very possible to use a smile to communicate a thousand words.

Most smiles are happy signs. They speak of joy, happiness, love or even pride. However, there are smiles that can also be an involuntary expression of anxiety, otherwise known as the grimace, or an expression of embarrassment in a sheepish sort of way.

Please also do not confuse a smile in a human with what seems like one in an animal. Animals baring their teeth – which you may mistake for a smile – is often used as a threat or warning display. In chimpanzees, rather than it being a sign for happiness, it can be a sign of fear.

I was most amused when I came across this statement found in Wikipedia: “Biologists believe the smile has evolved differently among species and especially among humans”. I just can’t imagine how a smile can look so different back in the days of my great grandma. So, for the purposes of record keeping, I am going to publish my glossary guide for smiles and declare it to be the most updated one at this point in time.

After 30 million years of human evolution, here is a list of smiles that you can currently wear – for all ocassions. (Note: Your intent is very important when it comes to projecting the smile you wish to put on).

1. Sweet Smile.


This is the smile that melts hearts. One look and you know you are done for! It is hard to say no to the request that accompanies it. I’ve been hijacked several times over this smile (see my elder daugther’s in the left picture)…Sigh!!

2. I am in Love Smile.

You can’t mistake this smile from the rest. This smile exudes the energy of pure love and bliss. It need not be just a romantic smile. A smile for the love of your pet also qualifies!

3. Most Beautiful Smile.

This is a smile that is Simply Breathtaking! It is a smile that causes others to skip a heartbeat! Hence, use it Sparingly, or ER will have to be alerted !

4. Happy Smile.

This is a smile that reflects a happy and joyful heart. My younger daugther, who had previously been more of an introvert, is now very much in her element (see left picture)!


5. Thoughtful Smile.

Your eyes look glazed. There is no eye contact in this smile because you are thinking about sometime faraway: the longing for someone or the cherished memory of a past. You can still remember the joy and how it felt like. It is as if you are living the moment again; so you break out into this smile.


5. I know it all Smile.

You have the hint of a smile. It is also one that you cultivate as you get older, your mind filled with wonderful stories from your past. It is a smile that speaks volumes about the wisdom you’ve gained about life.


6. The Sparkle in The Eyes Smile.

The eyes say it all. Sparkling with excitement and sheer joy over an important discovery. No words need to be communicated.


7. I am the Boss Smile.

Wear this smile if these thoughts run through your head: Say what??!!?? I am the boss. Come humor me!


8. Lucky Smile.

An almost embarrassed look. The smile that says "I’m Lucky Again!"


9. Amused Smile.

Make a guess: which is the amused and not so amused smile?

10. Naughty Or Up-to-No-Good Smile.

This is the smile that you would wear when you are embarrassed for being caught red handed at something naugthy. My younger daugther is very good with this! Her smile (see picture on the left) is classic and a dead giveaway!

11. Satisfied Smile.

Put on this smile after a most satisfying experience such as a delicious meal, connecting with a friend or beating the computer in a chess game.


12. Contented Smile.

This is a smile that needs to be distinguished from the satisfied smile. A satisfied smile is one for having felt joy derived from an external factor, whereas a contented smile comes from within. A contented smile reflects quiet serenity, a sense of peace and fufilment in everyday joys. It is a "In the Now" Smile.

13. Confident Smile.

Wear this smile for any reason that you feel confident about. Even if it means showing off your braces!


14. Proud Smile.

There is the hint of a smile that speaks of pride. A job well done. A Smile of Achievement.



15. Sexy Smile.

This smile needs some strategic positioning. It is to be projected at a 47-degree angle to the recipient, so that you are seen from your best side. You also need to tilt your head slightly downwards (for coyness) but with eyes glancing up (daring the recipient to come forward) and if you are female, fluttering your eyelashes with deliberate intent. Leaning your head on one of your hands denotes helplessness: That You Need to be Rescued Quickly!! Overall, there is a certain mystery to your smile. I know…it takes practice…..but I assure you it works…it was the smile that snarled my husband!!

17. Cheered Up Smile.

This is a smile that you wear with an uplift in your spirits. You put it on, after being in a better mood from a low. In fact, if it helps, this is THE smile that lit Tim Brownson’s face (see left picture) after failing to get his new top-of-range and pricey laptop to work. Using his advice from
7 Reasons To Be Cheerful
, I propose that you wear this smile, even if you are similarly tempted to hack your dysfunctional PC to pieces.

My 7 Tips To Bring Up Smile #17

Since this blog is on self help, I’m also throwing in my lifesaver tips for smile #17. I suggest you take notes carefully. There may just come a time when you will need a good cheer, from feeling lousy.

1. Munching Chocolates. Chocolates can work wonders, since it contains alkaloids such as theobromine and phenethylamine, which have mood enhancing effects. I keep a stack of them in my fridge, out of sight from my sweet-toothed kids.

2. Playing with my kids. My kids never fail to cheer me up. Of course, we have our fair share of trying moments. But mostly, their presence alone is great for bringing a smile to my face. There is something about them that makes me feel like squeezing and hugging them many times a day.

Here’s a piece of interesting research finding for you: Young children and toddlers laugh on average 300 times as compared to 15 times for an adult daily. Hence, if you want to be happy, then you should really be learning from the experts – children!! To them, life is just one happy event after another. And it should be the same for you too!

3. Walking In The Park. Being close to nature is therapeutic. Just breathing in the fresh air, taking in the sights of swaying trees and feeling the gentle breeze does it for me! I always feel better after a walk in the park.

4. Listening to Music. This is one of my favorites “Built to Last”…the tempo is really upbeat, don’t you think?

Only uplifting music makes the cut here. Now, don’t play the above song if you are trying to get over your broken relationship.

5. Watching A Comedy. I’m with Tim on this tip. The only thing is that I don’t watch as much TV anymore. But I know this tip works and will not hesitate to use it, if needed. My favorite shows used to be “Third Rock From The Sun”, “Friends”, “Seinfied” and “Mr Bean”. I would sit curled up in my favorite arm chair, eating chocolates and having a good laugh.

It’s funny how laughter can also help put things in perspective. Since these shows typically reveal how dysfunctional life can be, they earn top marks for helping you re-evaluate yours and throw your blues away.

6. Swimming. Doing laps can be rejuvenating. The rush of water while swimming is a good mental relaxer. Of course, it does not have to be swimming for you. Just about any exercise activity that puts you in a better mood will do.

7. A Good Meditation Session. This tip beats all the above 6 because it is about joy that arises from internally rather than from an external stimulus. What is to be noted is that joy on its own, may or may not arise during the meditative session. From my understanding of Buddhist teachings, neither do you attempt to seek joy while meditating. Simply Be in the Now while meditating.

Just being able to experience the sense of peace, above all the madness, is intrinstically uplifting. Inner peace comes when your mind settles and stays quiet, after all that frustration, despair and hopelessness over your troubles. In the meditative state, you feel a shift towards light. A veil of peace overtakes you and you find yourself cheered up, after the sitting. In Time, with Enough Meditative Practice, You’d Be Wearing Smile #12 – Naturally!

Photo Credits:

1) Tim Brownson’s lifesaver picture provided by MonkMojo.

2) Flickr: thanks_for_the_memories, sukanto_debnath, juhansonin, adjourned, lady with dreams, luckytom, punkrocknausea, raylopez, ninjapoodles, topgold, anahitox, topgold, cadmanof50s.

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SaiF May 8, 2008 at 10:03 am

Hey Evelyn!

Your daughter’s smile in pic #1 is simply beautiful! I feel happy the moment I see it! =)

But, as much as I love that smile, #15 really gets to me! lol

I was kinda shocked when you said 47 degrees… Come on really? Forty- SEVEN! lol So precise, ah? lol

Thanks for this happy post! Looking at the photos make me really happy! 😉

To Constant & Never-Ending Improvement,

The World’s First Teen
Personal Development Video Blogger

Isabel Joely Black May 8, 2008 at 10:59 am

That picture of Tim is viral! This is a delightful article. I really love the “I am the boss” smile.

Mags | Woo-Woo Wisdom May 8, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Gorgeous! All of them (especially your daughters)!

Thanks for this – I’m smiling now 😀

Robert Greenshields May 8, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Isn’t it great that smiles just catch on? As soon as you see someone else’s you can’t help developing one of your own. Thanks for sharing this wonderful list.



Clara May 8, 2008 at 12:44 pm

It is really true that smiling, even when you don’t feel like it, will affect your attitude for the better. I think we’re hard wired that way.

Shilpan | May 8, 2008 at 12:49 pm


Wonderful post. Your daughters are both beautiful. I never imagined that so much research goes behind seemingly mundane yet powerful action of smiling. I can feel the power of a beautiful smile now after reading your post.


Lorraine Cohen May 8, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Fabulous pictures Evelyn

Your daughters are precious. My cats make me smile – BIG
Animals and children are the best teachers!



Jonathan from May 8, 2008 at 4:40 pm


Your daughters are so beautiful! So are their smiles. =)

That’s why I always use my trademark “=)” because otherwise I’d have to constantly post a picture of me smiling.

My favorite is #17… by far. You go Tim!

Mark McCullagh May 8, 2008 at 6:51 pm

This post got me smiling! Just what I needed. Thanks Evelyn. Children and dogs, especially puppies, always get a smile out of me.

Evelyn May 8, 2008 at 7:29 pm

Hello Lorraine, Shilpan, Mark, Clara, Robert, Mags, Isabel Joely, SaiF, Jonathan,

It took me a while to put the pictures together. But it sure is nice to know that it did what it was supposed to do: invoke a smile from you.

Bias aside (for my other kids’ photos), I gotta say that my favorite is “I am the boss” smile. I couldn’t stop laughing when I first saw it. Of course, the other fav is #17, which inspired this post!

Have A Great Smiley Day :-)


Maya May 8, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Very beautiful. Definitely brought a smile to my face! Your daughters are beautiful and have a great smile too. Thanks for sharing this!

jenn May 8, 2008 at 8:58 pm

Loved it!!! thank you so much. I’ve been in a horrible mood all day and trying to shift it… you just helped! thanks!

holee May 8, 2008 at 9:08 pm

a true and authentic smile is from within..and ppl will sense and feel it.
smile is a form of energy that transform “smiling vibrations” and will rejuvenate the giver and receiver’s smiling gene.
let’s have a “smile a day” campaign to vibrate other’s smiling gene.

holee :)

Andy May 8, 2008 at 9:39 pm

Thanks for sharing Evelyn. Beautiful daughters you have! :) SMILE indeed!

Evelyn May 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Hello Jenn, I’m glad to know that this post is fulfilling its purpose :-)

What a great idea, Holee! Hmmm…thinking….

Andy, thanks! I love them to bits! Do Spread the smile…!!

Love and light,

AnneMarie Callan May 9, 2008 at 4:37 am

Even being on skype and chatting with friends using the cute icons brings smiles and laughter.

Wonderful post, the contented smile was particularly beautiful, as your daughters, of course.

Evelyn May 9, 2008 at 8:21 pm

That’s right, Anne Marie. It’s connecting that brings the smiles.

Thanks for enjoying the post!

Have an Awesome Day!

Vered - MomGrind May 9, 2008 at 9:54 pm

Both my daughters are experts at the sweet smile. They also mastered the happy smile and the up-to-no-good smile. :)

I think most of my smiles are a little guarded and careful. Maybe I should watch my kids more and learn to smile freely, like them.

Darlene Norris May 10, 2008 at 9:24 am

I love the “know it all smile”! That lady has definitely seen it all. I know how she feels! The pictures of your girls are precious.

Evelyn May 10, 2008 at 10:06 am

Verd, I laugh all loud when I share a joke with my kids or just playing with them. They know that I can sometimes be quite crazy!! Only thing though is that they sure look better than me anytime on pictures!

Darlene, it’s nice that you know how she feels. Perhaps you have the same smile too. You should capture yours next time, send the photo to me or post it on your blog. Other than the contented smile, this is a smile that I hope to “grow old” to.

Many smiles :-)

sophia May 14, 2008 at 3:45 am

What a lovely article!! And so true, by the way. As a student I am very impressed :)

Daniel Richard | Winning Everyone May 18, 2008 at 1:54 pm

Ah! #7 is my favorite! The “I am the Boss” smile!

#1’s taken in VivoCity? Looks very familiar to me. :)

Evelyn May 19, 2008 at 10:49 am

Thank you, Sophia, for your lovely comments.

Daniel, you’re spot on! Yes…it is taken at VivoCity. My kids love to go there for its open space.

Suzie Cheel July 15, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Hi Evelyn ,

Such a happy post, love the photos- especially the Know it all. Your choices were wonderful.

thank you for your beautiful writing

Evelyn July 15, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Thank you, Suzie. Once in a while, I still take a peek at this page. It has a life and energy on its own!


spaceagesage October 1, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Aren’t kids’ smiles the greatest? One of our cats smiles when he is fully and contentedly being loved up by his humans, or at least it sure looks like it.
I know the “I’m too irresistible to be denied look” from having a few kids in karate who just melted my heart with their life-loving smiles.

Evelyn October 2, 2008 at 12:20 am

@Keisha, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Yes…most certainly, doing a kind act for others can help bring on the smiles.

@spaceagesage, glad that you’ve enjoyed this post :-)

Neha January 23, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Stop Ok, Enough


C'est La Mode November 10, 2010 at 8:55 am

Picture #7 is so cute! The little boy’s smile is great. Thanks for a smile-full post!

Rachel November 11, 2010 at 1:36 am

I’ve included a link to this post within my rhyme of the week, because I thought the entire article was freakin sweet. :o)

Spreading Smiles

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