Advice · Anxiety · Honesty · Rideshare

1. Smile

A week ago, I finally did the Good Thing that Uber/Lyft drivers are supposed to do and installed a dash cam. It has both an interior and exterior camera and records audio.

A few days after installation I returned home, removed the micro-SD card from the camera, and popped it into my laptop to take a look at the audio/video quality on a larger device.

The assessment of the video quality came to a grinding halt when I realized something:


Not only that, but I have a perpetual frown. A carp mouth, if you will. My lips are almost permanently affixed downward. I clicked through clip after clip, almost an hours’ worth of footage, and the expression rarely changed.

It. Looked. Awful.

This explained the unease and tension I’ve sensed when talking with strangers. I always thought I had a ‘neutral’ expression when really, I was going around looking like Beaker–


–except not nearly as cute.

After this shocking—to me—revelation, I put the SD car back into the camera and went about my day. I began to actively smile. Forcing myself to keep it up.

And people, let me tell you, my cheeks started to hurt. Muscles in my lips started to twitch. Everything felt really, really weird.

But! A most amazing thing has started happening.

People are being super friendly. Extra talkative. I made almost double what I normally do in tips… and I’ve only changed this one thing.

Don’t laugh. I honestly had no idea what I had been doing for so long. I’m working on it, but still am not entirely body aware. I didn’t realize how off-putting my “resting” face had been for all these years.

And in the process of being more “friendly” in appearance to my passengers, I learned something else. Smiling gives me an added benefit. There are studies that link a smile to endorphins. It creates a positive feedback loop that keeps your brain thinking that something awesome is happening.

It’s been a week, and it’s far easier to smile than ever before. Such a simple change, and yet it has made a world of difference in my everyday life. Who knew? I sure as hell didn’t.

So thank you, dash cam.

2 thoughts on “1. Smile

  1. Ran across your blog with the Lyft tag (I also drive Lyft and started a blog to chronicle passenger stories). Good post. Makes me wonder if my neutral is the same on a guy’s face! I’ll try harder to keep the smiling top of mind. Thanks!

  2. It’s been a topic of discussion in a group circle one. Most found people with RBF unapproachable and intimidating. I will always give it a try because you never know. ❤️

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