10 Main Types of Smiles and What They Really Mean 

Smiles' social functions in groups are a good method to classify them.  

Positive feelings like contentment, approval, or even delight in suffering cause many smiles. The researchers call these “reward” smiles because we use them to motivate ourselves and others.  

Reward smiles 

This is the "social smile," which you would use when meeting someone new or in a formal setting. The focus is on social graces rather than emotion.

Polite Smile 

The Pan Am Smile is a pleasant, professional smile commonly used in the service business, named after Pan American World Airways. Not sincere but polite.  

Pan Am Smile: 

Possibly sarcastic, this smile. A small, typically crooked grin suggests amusement at someone else's expense.  

Sardonic Smile

Sometimes termed a "grimace," this smile isn't visible. It's an attempt to hide misery or suffering.

Miserable Smile

This faint but provocative smile is often accompanied by eye contact and a head tilt. It expresses romance or teasing.

Flirtatious Smile:

Similar to the sarcastic smile, this one has a lip curl on one side to show disdain.  

Contemptuous Smile

Self-conscious or awkward people may grin embarrassedly. Usually accompanied by a flush, it can indicate anxiety or discomfort.  

Embarrassed Smile:

Anxiety or stress triggers this smile. Often rapid, tense, and not reaching the eyes, it indicates anxiety.  

Nervous Smile

People who understand one other typically smile when breaking the rules or sharing a secret joke.  

Complicit Smile:

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