According to Urban Dictionary (I can’t believe I’m quoting Urban Dictionary). A RBF is a person, usually a girl who naturally looks mean when her face is expressionless, without meaning to

While the concept of a RBF is not new to me, I only found out its “official name” a couple of months ago. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one “suffering” from it. The first time I realized I had a RBF was at a pre-grade 7 meeting at my high school in Hong Kong, sort of like a mini orientation. As I was sitting in the classroom listening to the teacher go on and go about stuff a group of students walked by and I looked…. WORST MISTAKE EVER. It just so happens that with my luck, the girl that walked by was what people called “big sister”, in Chinese it means the head of the gang sort of thing. Her name was Sarah and I remember it like it was yesterday. Apparently I looked at her funny and right then and there she declared me public enemy number 1. As you can imagine I was completely clueless at the time, I haven’t even started school yet and my RBF had managed to get me on Sarah’s most wanted list.

Now the details have blurred (or I tried to suppress it) as it was 15 years ago. From what I can remember the next few weeks of school went something like this. 1) Met new friends, 2) studied, 3) wandered aimlessly in shopping malls after school. The one thing that repeated itself was that there were constantly people coming up to me telling me that Sarah was going to beat me up.  The more stories I heard about Sarah, the more I wanted to crawl into a hole and die. Apparently she fights, like physically fights and one time during her fight her shirt and bra came off (no, not the sexy girls fighting in jello kind of fight, the actual bash your head on a curb type of fight) as winning at all cost was her motto.  At this point I should emphasize that she didn’t end up fighting me or more accurately beating me up, phew!! We had a mutual friend who was able to actually make the introduction and I got a chance to talk to her in person. Crisis Averted!

I’ve had a couple of more instances with less intensity happen in University where people who I met for the first time were either afraid of me or didn’t like me. It didn’t help that I was shy and spoke very few words. Thanks RBF!!  Though once we got to know each other those same people have become some of my closest friends. I have since become very cognizant of the fact that I have a RBF and I try to smile at everyone and everything.  Even when I don’t mean it, I smile (not the creepy, frozen fake smile, but a subtle motion of moving the corners of my mouth upwards).  I cannot change what was given to me, but I can find a way around it and make the best out of the situation.

As the cheesy saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover; you shouldn’t judge people who have a RBF before you get to know them.   Based on my own experiences I tend to seek out and befriend the people who others dislike. I like to find out for myself exactly what type of person they are, sometimes (there are a lot of A-holes and b’ches out there too) they are simply misunderstood. So the next time you get the urge to judge someone based on their face, take a moment to realize that RBF IS a very real and unintentional thing.