Friendly or fake? What you're telling people with your smile

May 18, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. ET

Your smile speaks volumes. Make sure that it's saying the right things about who you are and who you want to be.

Group of women smiling |

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What's the first thing people notice about you? If you said your eyes, your body or your personality, you're probably a little off base. In fact, a recent survey revealed that nearly two-thirds of men notice a woman's smile before anything else (that's what they're saying, anyway).

Since your smile is such a key component of first impressions, it's important to know what your grin says about you before you head into social situations. According to researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, people employ six different types of smiles in daily interactions. Here are what those smiles mean to the people around you.

The Duchenne smile

The Duchenne smile |

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When you smile "with your eyes," you're employing the Duchenne smile. This type of smile is completely genuine and it activates all of the muscles in your face, including your lips and eyes. It communicates authenticity and warmth. And, sorry: It's really hard to fake. People who regularly use the Duchenne smile live longer and have better relationships than people who don't.

The amused smile

The amused smile |

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Typically, the amused smile is accompanied by laughter and throwing back your head. You probably use it after you hear a good joke. People who use the amused smile regularly are seen as having a good sense of humor and playfulness.

The interested smile

The interested smile |

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When you raise your eyebrows and smirk, you communicate that you're interested in something or someone. While raised eyebrows by themselves simply communicate surprise, the added smirk signals an openness to new ideas and thoughts.

The love smile

The love smile |

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Have you ever seen a person's face melt — figuratively, of course — when you tell them you're in love? The love smile is characterized by a softening of the eyes and lips, typically with dilated pupils. If your eyes soften and you smile, either broadly or reservedly, you're communicating love or adoration.

The flirty smile

The flirty smile |

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If you've ever been really into a guy at the bar, you've probably used the flirty smile. The flirty smile may not be entirely genuine, but it certainly communicates interest in the object of desire. You can master the flirty smile by looking coyly from the corner of your eyes with your head turned. Make sure to smile subtly, or else you'll just be throwing side-eye at some unsuspecting dude.

The embarrassed smile

The embarrassed smile |

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When you smile while looking down at the ground, you're communicating that you're embarrassed or apologetic. The embarrassed smile is a non-verbal way of declaring that you're in the wrong. Of course, this is a great posture if you've made a legitimate mistake, but stay away from the embarrassed smile at work so you'll be taken seriously.

As you try to parse out the meanings of all these smiles, the most important thing to remember is to smile broadly and warmly with the Duchenne smile as often as you can. If, however, you're embarrassed of your smile and try to hide your teeth, this can come across as condescending or rude. Feel confident as you flash your teeth by using a high-quality whitening and strengthening toothpaste like ARM & HAMMER™ Truly Radiant.

Tell us: Have you ever given the wrong impression with your smile?

This post was sponsored by Arm & Hammer.

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