Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Me and My RBF

 “You’re just like your father.”

That was my mother’s comment when I mentioned how surprised I was when I was told that the reason why our neighbors hardly said hello to me on the street was that they were a bit scared of me. This was when we had just moved and I hardly knew anyone in the neighborhood. I was hardly home because of work and if I was home, usually it meant just staying indoors without seeing anyone else. That meant that people didn’t know me that well, so what people thought of me was based on what little interactions I had with other people.

RBF even back then

My sister explained that people thought that I was hard to read. They were afraid of saying hello to me because they did not know how I would react. My mother said that it was because I was like my father: I had a poker face just like he did. If you catch me at an unguarded moment, my expression is, as she said, blank. You would never know what I was thinking. I think that is her polite way of saying that I had a resting bitch face, to be honest.

Here’s the thing: I have always thought of myself as a friendly person. You can put me in a group of people I don’t know and I would probably be able to find a person or two to strike up a conversation with. Not that we would be BFFs by the end of it all, but that I would be friendly enough to talk to people I don’t know if the situation gave me the opportunity for it. 

If a person smiles and greets me hello, I’m the type who would smile back. Unfortunately, people don’t usually smile at me first or give me the opportunity to open a conversation with me. Turns out it’s because people assume that given my facial expression I’m a snob or that I am, for lack of a better word, bitchy. Yes, I am aware that what I said meant that I wait for people to make the first move, but that’s actually because I’m more introverted and shy that way. Break the ice then I’m good, but before that, I tend to keep to myself.

I’ve learned that people who have met me but haven’t gotten to know me tend to assume that I am “masungit” or “mataray,” Tagalog words for being, well, bitchy. I didn’t know about this until someone actually told me to my face that it was usually the first impression that I give to people. This, I was told,  is why people do not approach me as much. 

I swear I'm a nice person.

I think people who really know me would know that I am far from being bitchy. I can’t help that my default facial expression is in RBF mode, it’s not like I am aware that I look a certain way that makes people perceive me as bitchy or unapproachable. And I can’t exactly go on a default smile all the time (that would make me look like a crazy person).

The reason why I love to blog would probably be because of that in a way...people assume I am a certain way because of the RBF, but if you read my blog, you’d know that I’m not like that at all. In a way, my writing is what breaks the ice for me and the people I’ve become friends with. Most of the people I’ve recently befriended were people I met online, people who got to know me without seeing the RBF (thank God for photos of me smiling on social media, hahaha). 

I’m grateful that in spite of the RBF, there are people who went the extra mile to get to know and be friends with me. I guess that means that they are the good ones since they did not make any assumptions based on that little fact about me.

Do any of you know anyone with RBF? Do you have it? What is your experience with it? 


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