Monday, June 22, 2009

The Mean Girl: A debate


I believe most people think I’m a nice person…once they get to know me. But I am learning more and more, that before that introduction happens and I’m just another face in the sea, that face is not radiating kindness. There are those people that walk around with a constant smile and an encouraging word to every person they see, and I happen to think that’s great. In fact, most of my friends are like that. I’ve always said that in comparison they make me look worse, because I am now superimposed next to the epitome of “friendly”, and here I stand in stark comparison as the girl who just seems pleasant enough. I am a caring, thoughtful, attentive person to those people I know, and I thought to those people I might not know as well, but I’m hearing that perhaps what I consider to be a smile and acknowledgement, isn’t always reaching it’s intended target the way it should. Here are the most common sentiments I hear in regards to my not-so-nice first impressions…

I look intimidating: This comes from both men and women so it’s not like I can just blame it on the opposite sex. I don’t want to be an intimidating person (unless I reaaaly don’t want you to talk to me), so I must figure out what it is about my presence that gives off that vibe. I like people. I want people to like me. It shouldn’t be a daunting task to be my friend, but a lot of times before someone knows me, I can seem a bit unapproachable.

I look standoffish: Perhaps this is a little bit related to being intimidating, but I believe this delves more into the realm of coming off as a snob or being a bit stuck-up. Of course I’m going to tell you that I’m anything but, and I’d venture to say that most people, once they know me, would totally agree, but nevertheless I’ve heard this comment more than I would wish.

I look mean: I’m not sure what it is about my face, but for some reason if I am just walking around or minding my own business, it can resemble that of an ice queen. My face just doesn’t constantly have a smile on it for some reason and I’ve heard that it looks like I’m mad about something or I am not in a good mood. But to be honest, I think it’s just how my face is. I really don’t think I can help it.


There are those of you who know me well and I’m sure you’d be happy to say how even if you initially may have had that impression of me, it couldn’t be further from the truth now that you know me. And maybe there are some of you who know me only as an acquaintance who thought the exact same thing when you first had an encounter with me. I’m curious to know what you think and if you could possibly give any insight as to why. Maybe that could help me figure out something I am doing unconsciously that I could alter in some way. I don’t think I’ll ever be winning awards for most delightful stranger you’ve ever met, but I can try.

26 comments:

Jasmine said...

When we first met 15 years ago, I thought you looked mean. And I'm happy to say not much has changed since then.

JUST KIDDING! :)

You should just think of me all day and then you'll be smiling in no time! :)

Daniel said...

Ms. Glenn,
Just a thought here. Only you could ever decide on its application, if even necessary for you.

This made me think of Jesus’ great illustration of the Good Samaritan, to be ‘outward’ in ones care and concern, in ways that demonstrate it. To total strangers. Even towards those who we know may even dislike us.
He had earlier spoken about showing caring actions only towards those close to us. First recorded mention is his famous (is it still today, with so many poorly educated people, spiritually-speaking?) Sermon on the Mount. About the fact ‘It’s no big deal if you show care about your own; even the tax collectors (people utterly hated by the Jews then, and viewed as the worst of people) love there own. So what if we’re good to our friends only, that’s no big deal.’ He then went on to say we should strive to be like our Father, who would reach out to all, even allowing totally unappreciative “sinners” to have good lives, benefitting from the things He made.
Well, those were just my brain thoughts …

Bianca said...

Really, the only thing you need to do is smile more. Seriously.

But not like a coy, coquettish smile. More like a Hi-I'm-really-nice smile. If not, every girl will hate you for being a flirt and every guy will love you because they think they have a chance with you :)

Brianna said...

Jaz and Bi...you don't count. You're the nicest people. Ever. Jk

Brianna said...

Daniel...that's a little deeper and more intense than the point of my post. I actually AM a nice person, I just have a mean-ish look.




Daniel...t

Anonymous said...

Haha, daniel is deep....how can I follow that?

Well Bri, I first met you 8 years ago in my home state of Indiana as a recruit when I was invited to come and meet you, patrick and shadyblaze400 himself, lol. You seemed a little bit on the mean side because I'm sure coach dawn was like "just come and say hi" lol. Understood but when I took my visit to Tucson you were nicer, just a smidge haha. You're cool beans now after all these years....

Brianna said...

Lol...well what did I do exactly that made me seem on the mean side?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't say you look mean just not interested much with new people you meet ;)

Anonymous said...

i find it funny that you wrote a blog about this. you know how i feel... i think i've actually called you a mean girl before, but only after you rolled your eyes 3 times over at me! you have a very honest and genuine way of expressing yourself. if you're not happy, you let us know but if you are happy you let us know by big smiles and lots of loud laughter! i love that honesty from you.
so don't sweat it if you are called a mean girl, at least we know you're not fake!

Anonymous said...

That last anonymous wasn't me, lol. I came to the hotel yall were staying in with my parents and she was trying to sell the program or whatever. Patrick came up and acted like he already knew who I was, Mike was like "we need you for this 4x4 G" and you were like "hi, ok bye, nice to meet you" lmao. It wasn't that bad but something like that.

Daniel said...

Ms. Glenn,

Did my esoteric thinking just crash into your existentialism?

Is that Your chocolate in My peanut butter?

I think the extra Long Run yesterday socked it to my serotonin levels, LOL!

PS, What the heck does "Daniel ...t" mean? Remember, I can't do text/twitter speak.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm maybe if you lay off the power cleans you will look more approachable. ;)




-bAbY iM sToNeCoLd

Dana said...

This post is hilarious! Do you constantly have your guard up with people you don't know or something? LOL Just figure out the root and change it from there. I can only imagine you walking around all day with some crazy looking smile on your face thinking it's going to make you appear more friendly, but it's just going to confuse people if it's not genuine!! LOL I say DO YOU, facial expressions and all. Change only when necessary, not b/c other people may like you if. Good luck on this one chica! =)

#2 Fan said...

Well I know people just like you who are really close to me. All I can say is that the best way to handle your face is to address it when you first meet people. For example, upon being introduced to people, make sure that you're the first one to extend your hand out and smile. When you're on the receiving end of a handshake or meet and greet, it's very easy to look like a mean girl when you tilt your head, shake with your forefingers and smirk. Other than that, you won't be able to stop being you. If someone is not talking to you, immediately take it as a sign that you're giving off a bad vibe. In this case, you should start the conversation. Start with "Sorry if I look dazed or anti-social... I'm really having a good time, I just look like this." Laugh it off, and the other person will too.

Otherwise, I'm sure people who know you will debrief others before meeting you ;-)

Brianna said...

hmmm...there are so many anonymous on this post i can't keep track of y'all! and I can't remember who it was I rolled my eyes at 3 times...I roll my eyes at pretty much everyone!

@dana...I really am not that bad, I swear! You would like me. :)

@#2...yea, people should be debriefed. I like that.

Anonymous said...

It won't let me put Gustin down so I had to use anonymous. I'm taller than you I ain't scurd!

Kareem (Bahamas) said...

Hey Bri,

Its been a while since I browsed your post. This topic is interesting to me as I have the exact same problem. People who dont know me think I am unapproachable and mean. I will admit though that it takes me a while to warm up to new people and I am very cautious in doing so (for reasons I am not sure).

It does not help either that I am mostly on the quiet side and have a very expressionate(is that the correct word) face so I dont hide my feelings/thoughts very well (would prob be the worst poker player ever, yet funny to those who know me). Those who do know me well have a different opinion of me.

Everyone keeps telling me to smile more and I try to make a concious effort to do so. But for someone who loves to laugh it remains a challenge without looking fake.

Maybe one has to be genuinely interested in people in general. One thing I am trying to do now to have a more "pleasant face" is to think about my niece and nephews or some joke I thought was pretty funny. Maybe if you try the same you will smile more naturally more often. Good luck!

Jon Lustig said...

Never for a second have I gotten any kind of Holly Golightly vibe from you, and there's nothing wrong with that. People are so sensitive today, they take everything personally. A lot of people won't take the 30 seconds to see whether someone is simply happy enough being left alone or if they want to be. Anyway, are you sure it's not just your being an introvert who needs to be very comfortable with who she is in order to do what you do? Most people don't have nearly that much self-confidence in themselves, maybe seeing that much from you is what is intimidating.

Coach said...

I wasnt going to comment either but I have the same problem. I do it on purpose because I deal with kids alot and to keep crazy guys away. Im working on it but Im like Kareem, I can't put a fake smile on my face. There are people out there who live to figure you out for whatever reason.

Melinda said...

Okay, this may sound weird, but being from Miami, I know a lot of black people can "look mean." I'm white, so I could be off-base, but I think people who are as pale as me can sometimes think people with some color can appear mean. The other thing would be that the shape of the eyebrows can make a HUGE difference. Thanks for taking the time to care to find out. I've never met you (came here via Jasmine's & Bianca's blogs), so I'm just guessing, so take my comments with an extra grain of salt!

Marcus said...

You probably don't even remember this, but I think the quote from my friend Tolu after she met you at our house in Seal Beach was, "What's up with that girl, she think she too pretty to talk to somebody?" Or something like that. I personally didn't see anything wrong with the way you had acted, you were introduced, you said hi and you went back to your Mac, that's exactly what I would have done too. I explained to her that that's just how you are, you're not the small talk, wanna get to know every random person type, but you're actually real cool once someone does get to know you. I guess she didn't buy it because she still had an attitude (which kind of pissed me off actually), but when I told Nicole about it later that night she said you always get that because your pretty and if you are not outgoing and friendly with a big smile on your face, people (especially women) assume you're conceited.

If I were you I wouldn't worry about it, my personality is exactly the same as yours in this respect and I'm sure my icy demeanor has saved me from hours of (literally) painful small talk with people I couldn't care less about. I know Bianca and Jasmine might tell you you should love and reach out to every child of God and all that, but I don't agree. I say life is too short and you should spend your time getting to know the people you wanna get to know or doing whatever else interests you. It's better than subjecting yourself to men you have no interest in trying to holler, or some random person's opinions on world politics or whatever the hell else they feel like expressing their worthless opinion on. Anyway, that's my priceless opinion on the subject.

Bottom line is you can't change who you are so be yourself, the people who really know you will straighten out those who assume you're mean, and if they still wanna believe your a bitch then who cares, you've got enough friends to last three lifetimes.

Dana said...

I'm sure I would chica! =) I can totally understand being misunderstood based on how you appear to be. That's probably one of the reasons why the phrase looks can be deceiving was coined. =)

Nicole said...

You have to face it Bri, people are gonna assume that people who look "like you" are stuck up. It sucks, I know, and I don't even really know WHY it happens, but I've seen it enough times (especially with you) to know that it just does.

We were at a party after a meet one time and some girls from UCLA came up to me and asked me if "that Brianna girl was nice" cause you seemed really mean but we seemed like good friends and I seemed nice. Now these girls didn't know me either and why they came to me and asked me about you instead of the other way around made me scratch my head, but I figured it was because of how you looked. Not to say that they didn't think I was cute, cause we know how cute I think I am :), but I'm more of an "around the way"-cute, while you're more of a mixed girl- "good hair"- cute. (Think School Daze- Wannabes vs Jigaboos, or Deltas vs AKAs).

Same with Tolu. When Marcus introduced you guys, she did the same thing you did which was say "hi" and go about her business. It's not like she tried to engage you in conversation and got shut down. But still, she assumed you were stuck up while you assumed nothing about her.

Either way I think you're fabulous so I would say not to worry, but if it really bothers you try putting a smile on and saying hi when you meet people or even when you just pass folks in the training center.

Nicole said...

BTW for all the Deltas and AKAs out there- not saying that all Deltas are around-the-way girls and all AKAs are stuck up, I'm just talking about perceptions.

Brianna said...

@jon...I think you're right. I am more of an introvert than some people realize.

@kareem and coach...three cheers for not being fake!

@melinda...I think that may be true but I don't really know. I don't other people of color would think that, but perhaps it's partly a cultural thing.

@marcus...I laughed so loud when I read the part about Jaz and Bi thinking everyone is a child of God. And then I shared it with them! haha. I knew you would agree with me...although I must say you are on a slightly different level than even I am. You wouldn't smile at Mother Theresa if you met her! haha. But you're a doll to me.

@nicole...I know we have discussed this plenty of times. You are my biggest advocate because you really know me and know I'm a big sweetheart. And I will never in my life think I should not be nice to someone because I have "good hair". Hahahaha...that is so laughable.

Leah said...

I have got the same comments ALL my life. I also get "Smile! It can't be that bad!" and "Cheer Up!". I also hear lots of rumors about how mean and unhappy I look. I am not a big smiler either, but just cause I am not smiling doesn't mean I am not happy! Great post!