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It's not exactly a diagnosable condition, but "bitchy resting face" can be problematic for the poor folks who have it.

Randee Dawn,
September 28, 2015

It's not exactly a diagnosable condition, but "bitchy resting face" can be problematic for the poor folks who have it. That is: A default facial expression that comes off as overly serious or even aggressive. But there's good news for those who have BRF (or as it's sometimes called, "resting bitch face") — they might in fact be great at communication.

At least, that's the determination of Rene Paulson, who admits in an essay on Quartz that she has the face; that, plus having a sarcastic talent means she's easily misunderstood when trying to communicate with others. But as the successful head of her own company, she writes, "I view my [BRF] as much a blessing as a curse."

She points to Dr. John Lund, a researcher and public speaker on interpersonal communication, who has said, "Instead of communicating to be understood you have to communicate to not be misunderstood." Since owners of the face have to go that extra distance on a regular basis, they quickly become an expert in ensuring others "get" them.

MORE: Bitchy resting face is real (kind of), but there's hope

"Women confronted by a world that automatically attaches negative attributes to their non-smiling face must quickly learn how to communicate and also hone a finely tuned awareness of both our own emotions and the emotions of those around us," she writes, emphasizing that women with the condition have to be extra self-aware and empathetic.

That said, she notes, constantly being hyper-aware of others' reactions can be tiring. "I often find a two-hour meeting with strangers more exhausting than a 16-hour workday."

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