A few weeks ago I was on the subway with my boyfriend, Matt, when a young couple and their baby sat next to us. The little girl was probably about one year old and was sitting in her stroller glaring at her parents. As she looked around, Matt and I smiled and waved at her. Matt and I both love babies and there’s nothing we like more than making silly faces at random babies in the hope of making them giggle (if we succeed, we often plot how we would steal the baby). This particular baby, however, did not respond to our smiles. We didn’t worry, though, we just tried to make some of our other go-to faces that induce baby giggles. No success. We continued, unthwarted, to play peek-a-boo, make quiet monkey noises, and pull out every trick we had. Nothing. We didn’t know what to do. We kept trying, but literally nothing happened. The baby just stared us down like we were the least amusing people she had ever seen.
She was, I realized, the first baby I had ever seen with Resting Bitch Face. It was amazing and terrifying. I was legitimately intimidated by this baby – she just was not pleased with anything. She gave the same unhappy face to her parents, who did not seem surprised. This was clearly not the baby’s first time sporting the RBF.
As obvious as it was that we would not succeed, Matt and I continued to try to engage RBF Baby. I know this is a silly blog post, but RBF Baby taught me something important about adults who have RBF: it’s really not intentional. RBF Baby smiled just before we got off the train; her parents had given her a cookie. So here’s the other lesson I learned from RBF Baby: not everyone is going to like you, and sometimes trying harder makes them like you less. It’s often better to just cut your losses and let them not like you. Giving someone a cookie, though? That will always make them smile.