I’m one of those people strangers always feel compelled to shout, “Smile!” at. I’m the person others think is mad when it’s just my normal expression. I don’t smile for no reason, and I was completely fine with that. But now that I’ve done it, I kind of want to tell everyone to do it. So, here are 17 easy steps to smiling randomly. You’re welcome in advance.
1. Get dumped–but not technically dumped because this would require some form of communication between the two parties. Just get someone you dated for a bit to suddenly stop responding to texts so that if you were slightly more naive you might worry he had been in a serious accident or was possibly dead, though you’d have no way to ever find out for sure.
2. Be understandably annoyed for a few days.
3. Go for a run.
4. As you walk to the subway from the gym, start thinking about how maybe there is something to all the “endorphins make you happy” crap because for some reason, you don’t feel as annoyed as you did earlier in the week.
5. Start thinking about how normally when someone dumps (or suddenly stops contacting) you, you question what you did wrong and worry about your personality flaws that probably didn’t help the situation, but in this case, now that you’ve had 3.5 days to wallow in feelings, you’ve come to the–shocking–conclusion that you are actually pretty awesome. In fact, if you were being completely honest, you’d say that the phrase you once included at the end of your OkCupid profile, something like, “Contact me if: you can’t understand why someone so awesome is still single,” that, at the time, you wrote as a joke, is reflective of your actual situation. You’re awesome. You know this for a fact. And seriously, any guy who might seem awesome can’t be that awesome if he doesn’t think you’re worthy of a quick text saying, “Hey, I suddenly realized I’m not good enough for you–or maybe, okay, we just don’t work together.” And come on, you have so much to offer that it would be ridiculous to contemplate the idea that the latest turn of events was anything other than another experience to file away under Something That Happened That Isn’t a Big Deal and Doesn’t Mean Anything Significant But in the Grand Scheme of Things Had to Happen Simply Because It’s on the Path You’re Currently On Which By the Way is Exactly the Path You’re Supposed to Be On. (Luckily, your filing cabinet is purely abstract, or else that title would never fit.)
6. Keep, just, feeling good. For no reason.
7. Start to feel the corners of your mouth twitch up in a way that would be frightening to you if you weren’t in such a randomly good mood.
8. As you continue walking toward the subway, give in and let yourself do it–just a little smile at first.
9. Recognize how crazy and also cool it feels to be randomly smiling as you’re walking. All of the people passing you have NO IDEA how content you are right now with this situation, so you try to look into strangers’ eyes even more than you usually do, hoping they might catch a glimpse of your expression and question where it came from.
10. Amuse yourself with your previous thoughts so much that you smile multiple times.
11. Bask in the feeling of random happiness.
12. Realize you typically only feel this giddy-happy sensation when you’re excited about an upcoming event, or you think a man loves you.
13. Marinate in the sense of joy you’re getting from knowing you are so totally in charge of your emotions right now and you’re choosing to make them positive ones.
14. Keep thinking about how strange this all is to the point that you are smiling so much you think you might start laughing.
15. (Optional) Go home and eat a Weight Watchers microwave lasagna plus half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and a bowl of ice cream, and instead of being mad at yourself for consuming all of those extra calories after your “healthy” dinner, lie on the floor in a restful state while you ponder the potential implications for being able to experience this natural–and yet so unfamiliar–feeling of happiness.
16. Wonder whether posting the secret to smiling randomly on your blog will somehow spoil it so that you’ll no longer be able to achieve the seemingly without cause effects.
17. Smile again and think, Who cares? If it stops working I’ll just go back to being the sarcastic, cynical, yet still awesome person I am, and that’s not a bad alternative.