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Fix that RBF

And other communication nuances

I was recently told that I looked upset during a meeting. This couldn't have been further from the truth, so I quickly converted my RBF into one of those slight smiles you give when you catch yourself mindlessly RBFing. Much to the delight of my colleauges, I worked hard to maintain the grin for the remainder of the meeting.


Where does “RBF” come from?

Kanye. Posh Spice. Johnny Depp.

They've all been accused of having RBF. But you don't have to! Kids are perceptive, so keep in mind that education might not be the best place for RBF. Fortunately, we help you recognize it and combat it. Here are 8 signs that you might be presenting with RBF. RBF may be more than just a cultural zeitgeist; it is a real thing and there is some research on the matter.


Nonverbal Communication

Sometimes our facial expressions communicated unintended messages, so it is important to be aware that our nonverbal communication can communicate irritation, frustration, or even appear emotionless (a.k.a. RBF). Even when I am feeling contemplative or content, my “go-to” facial expression may appear unwelcoming, and this could not be further from the truth.


Legacy Education didn’t come up with these, but here are the 8 Signs You're A Teacher With RBF:

  1. Your colleagues ask if you're mad... and you're not

  2. People turn the other direction when they see you relaxing

  3. Your spouse or significant other asks if you've had a bad day when you are simply relaxing

  4. A coworker does something kind and thinks they've done it wrong... just because of how you looked at it

  5. You are repeatedly told to smile on staff picture day

  6. You find yourself overcompensating when you want colleagues to like you.

  7. Your boss always makes eye contact with you during meetings like they’re checking to make sure you’re not mad about the news they’re delivering

  8. People don’t get your jokes or sarcasm because your tone is all wrong.

Source: Teaching in the Tongas


Humor aside, keep in mind what you intend to communicate with others and let's commit to making each environment we set foot in a better place to live and work.

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