We’re not saying don’t be happy – but there are valid reasons for not going overboard
You might want to stop smiling so much.
We don’t mean to put a downer on things, but a new study suggests that appearing overtly happy can have a bit of a negative impact on our lives – and, possibly, careers.
A research paper from New York University says that people who often appear really excited and jubilant – you know the ones – seem to others a little naive, among other things. It’s better to just be quite happy.
Quite where the line is that determines whether you’re being frustratingly, painfully jovial is difficult to ascertain.
How do we know our smiley conversation with a co-worker has crossed over into ‘do please calm down’ territory? And how are we to gauge whether, to counteract this, we’re just being downright moody?
We run the risk of being a bit ‘OTT’
Either way, for those who really go hard on the smiling, it’s worth noting the study, which was conducted by New York University’s Alixandra Barasch, Maurice E. Schweitzer, from Wharton School, and the University of Chicago’s Emma E. Levine.
They came to the conclusion that too much visible elation could potentially prove damaging after a series of studies, which tested the link between “the magnitude of positive emotions people display and others’ perceptions of them,” reports Business Insider .
Past research has found that people often get to their ‘happy places’ by suppressing negative thoughts. They also tend to be more trust of others. According to the scientists, this is a clear sign of wandering through life wearing rose-tinted glasses, filtering out the sadder aspects of life.
And this doesn’t always do us good.
Condensing it all down, the first study asked university students to rate their emotions – a simple scale measuring how happy they felt from 1-11. Participants were then asked to judge one another on naivity. Those who said they were happiest were also found to be thought of as the most naive.
Further studies backed this up, and also found the happiest among those involved were seen to be perhaps superficial – it’s that idea of ‘fakeness’. If you’re OTT on the ‘hey guys!’ thing, people might respond with caution, and even derison.
Individuals who said they were feeling super great with life in general were also sometimes thought of as ‘goofy’ and ‘gullible’. You’re probably thinking of some American movies now. Mean Girls,maybe?
Overall, the best way to act, according to the research, is somewhere in the middle. Maybe tone down the “awesome!” comments, and the “omg how was your weekend?” stuff.
We think you should probably just be yourself – but don’t fake the joy. That’s where the real problems are, it seems.