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Types of Smiles

By Edited Oct 18, 2015 4 13

I think smiles indicate happiness, pleasure, and kindness.  But, as others have pointed out, and as I recognize after thinking about it, smiles can show other feelings and moods as well.  Those other feelings and moods include: guilt, mischief, and shyness among others.   

So, what are some of these other “smiles”?  What do they look like, and what do they mean? 

Different Types of Smiles

6. Guilty smile

The guilty smile shows no remorse, no concept of right and wrong or at least the lack of a conscience.  Here, Mr. McClellon is smiling while pleading guilty to shooting another man in the head.  McClellon is twenty years old in this photo.[1052]  While the smile might indicate happiness, it more likely shows a disturbed past or chemical imbalance. 

Guilty Smile

5. Shy smile

This smile conveys modesty.  Maybe someone is praising you, and, while you’re proud of your accomplishment, you’re uncomfortable with the accolades. 

This smile may also convey a crush.  Perhaps someone called you out on your secret love interest.  They realized you’re sweet on a friend or co-worker, while you want to hide your true feelings, your shy smile can’t be repressed. 

Shy Smile(70210)

4. Uncomfortable smile

You just got caught doing something you shouldn’t be doing - while not illegal or immoral - you may have been caught singing when you didn’t realize anyone was listening.  Maybe you are at work and your boss catches you shopping on-line.  The uncomfortable smile emerges when you’re caught tongue-tied and in a position you would prefer not to be in.

Uncomfortable Smile

3. Devious smile

If you know something someone else doesn’t, this is the smile for you.  But, on the flip-side, this is the smile that lets us know you have inside information!

Devious Smile

2. The salesman smile

Just sign here, what could possibly go wrong?!  

Salesman Smile

We all encounter this fake, “too many teeth” smile everyday or at least anytime we enter a store (buying a car anyone?).  Or, perhaps, someone comes to our home or business to sell you something.  This type of smile lets the astute observer know that the salesman doesn’t even believe the crap he is saying, and has never tried (or will never try again) the product he is peddling.  

Beware of this smile folks - something is lurking in the background, and you won’t find out what it is until the peddler is long gone.

1. Baby’s smile

This is the best and most honest smile of all.  There is no deception, no lies, no false promises, and no hidden meaning in a baby’s smile.  It simply means “I love you and I am happy to see you.”  And the smile you give back is just as beautiful.

A Baby's Smile

In the end, I believe most people smile because they are happy, kind, and are in a pleasant mood.  But, it never hurts to be aware of other possible meanings behind the smile.



Nov 10, 2011 11:31am
So so on an ego boost that you mentioned myself and that Irene and myself inspired this article. You missed off my "over smile" that shows aggression,lol. Think "Desperate Housewives", when they smile but would rather stab each other to death. And I wish they would, ha ha.
Great article Kris.
Nov 10, 2011 4:00pm
Thank you :) I am happy you enjoyed it!
Nov 10, 2011 4:00pm
This comment has been deleted.
Nov 10, 2011 6:44pm
I never knew there were so many types of smiles; that Rahm Emanuel does seem to have a "devious" smile doesn't he? Good article Kris - thumbs up!
Nov 10, 2011 7:06pm
I didn't either until I did some digging. Thanks for your feedback!
Nov 14, 2011 8:37am
Yeah Kris, nice article! I bet since you've completed this you've started noticing more varieties of smiles, so you could probably write a part two!
Nov 14, 2011 12:37pm
Ha! You're right! Thanks for the comment.
Nov 14, 2011 8:45am
Really cool article :) I am smiling (hopefully like a baby) right now :)

Made me think of children smiles, when they know they have done something wrong but they'll get away with it because they are cute and you'll surely believe that the cat ate all the chocolate :)
Nov 14, 2011 12:38pm
The guilty child smile that easily gets them out of trouble! I forgot that one, maybe because it no longer works for me!
Nov 14, 2011 4:47pm
It works just fine for me when it's my nephew doing it...
Nov 14, 2011 4:14pm
I have my youngest son, currently 14 months old, who gives me that smile, right before he is going to do something he knows he shouldn't.
Nov 14, 2011 7:31pm
Your son is cheating lol! That's awesome :)
Jan 12, 2012 4:41pm
How bout a phoney smile too? Don't like those who offer fake smiles. LOVE the baby's smile. Great photo! Is this a personal photo of a child of yours? So cute and really brightens one's day!
Jan 12, 2012 6:33pm
Ha! That's like the salesman smile :) And the baby picture, that is my niece! Thanks for you kind words, and I am glad she brightened your day! She does mine too!
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  1. John Zambenini "McClellon pleads guilty to manslaughter." The State Journal: Frankfort, Kentucky. 2/11/2008. 7/11/2011 <Web >

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