“As I stood in the hallway, I looked on as she got out of the elevator and started walking towards me. My heart started ramming against my chest. Beads of perspiration forming on my forehead. A warm tingling started running all over my face. I wish I could vanish, for she was looking at me now. She knew what I was feeling insides. My uneasiness was on display. I felt betrayed. And then just as she passed by me, she paused, just for a moment, and then let out a smile, before she continued and pass by me… “
I was watching my friend as the above scene developed in front of me and as I know him very well, I took the liberty of describing what he must have felt in these moments. Now in the end the girl smiled and I’m sure he must be thinking when she smiled. Someone might think that she smiled as she found my friend’s situation cute and hence the smile. But it easily could have been an expression of mockery displayed in the form of the smile. To tell, one has to know the context. Context is the key here.
Our verbal and nonverbal expressions are tied with the context, the situations in which they are used. Worst of the slangs used with friends becomes epitome of love. But even a polite “sir” used in a sarcastic manner to someone you always called your “bro” can pierce heart of the listener. In the above case, as I knew both the guy and the girl in this situation, I can safely say that the girl was just amused. For she never had a good opinion on “watchers” and the guys who don’t have guts to directly talk to her. And sadly my poor friend knew that too. It was certainly demotivating for him.
Laugh and smile are two of the many facial expressions through which we express our happy emotions. A guy reciting a joke certainly would get disappointed if he only gets smiles from his audience. Similarly, someone telling a story about his grandmother isn’t expecting hearty laughs from the audience. The tears in my parent’s eyes on the day of my convocation were certainly not demotivating for me . I knew the context. But for someone stumbling upon my parents just after that moment of convocation and not knowing about the context might assume that they are beset by some grief.
So both smile and laugh can create positivity, in most of the circumstance. And they can be an instrument of demotivation too, depending upon the situation. A lesson I learned the hard way in Mr. R K Jha’s class when I overheard a joke from my friend and let out a smile, which Jha sir happened to see and promptly I was asked to get out of the class. He was explaining about the atrocities done by Germans in Poland in the World War II.