The real reason why Russians don't smile.

The real reason why Russians don't smile.You won’t be able to miss that when visiting Russia: Locals don’t smile. From the first point of contact at the airport where you do your best to appear acceptable to the sombre-faced border patrol officer to looking at the people in the streets, you will notice that Russians keep a serious expression on their faces, especially when they are out in the public.

Why Russians don’t smile?

Men on Elenasmodels sometimes ask about the fact they don’t see too many women smiling in their ads on the dating site.

One of the guys recently commented:

Foreigners often ask why Russians don't smile.

So, what is going on? Why Russian ladies look so serious in their photos on the dating site?

There is a simple reason, of course… Would you be happy living in freezing cold for half a year with just two weeks of sunny warm weather a year? Just kidding. That’s not the reason why people from Russia keep serious faces. To find out the real reason, read on.

Profiles of Russian women.

When viewing ads of ladies from Russia seeking partners abroad, you may notice there are not much teeth showing in happy grins. What is going on?

Why Russian women look serious in their pictures on dating sites

The reason why many girls on EM have solemn facial expressions in their photos is the same as why people in Russia don’t smile in general.

It’s the culture.

  • Russians simply are used to keeping a serious face, while Americans are used to smiling.

Why do Americans smile? Try to explain it. They aren’t always happy, right?

The same about Russians. It’s just a culturally acceptable facial expression — sombre and serious.

There is even a Russian proverb that states:

“Smiling without a reason is a sign of a fool”.

This is why Russians aren’t of a very high opinion about ever-grinning Americans, possibly. Especially when they see Americans at a culturally important and grave sight such as the place where the family of the Last Russian Tsar Nicolay II was murdered in 1918 by Bolsheviks, and guys from the USA pose for a group photo with broad smiles. Locals are in shock seeing that!

Smiling Russian woman.

People in Russia do smile, but they need a reason to put on a happy face. One reason for that could be your visiting her after months of communication on a dating site — this will make a girl very happy!

Cultural differences

When I just moved out of Russia to live in the west, I was often approached by people who asked if there was something wrong. I couldn’t understand why, but then I realized that it was because I didn’t beam when our eyes met, which is the culturally acceptable procedure in western countries, or didn’t lift the corners of my lips when they greeted me. That’s not the way how people behave in Russia, so for me it was normal, but for them it meant that something was wrong in my life or that I was unhappy about something they did or said. But that wasn’t the case, I just behaved normally for me, how I was used to behave.

It took me 3-4 months to get used to casually looking happy rather than serious. But once I started doing it, people stopped asking me if something bad happened. I adjusted to the new culture and now I don’t even notice that I start beaming when someone looks at me and they do the same. It feels normal. In Russia, people will just look away unless you know each other. It’s not acceptable to look at strangers, it’s considered rude.

Another thing is the type of smile: People from Europe in general use more subdued tones of voice and facial expressions, while Americans are too loud and too expressive, in the opinion of Europeans.

Think “Mona Lisa smile”, that’s what people from the countries of the former Soviet Union would use when they are happy, not a broad green with all 32 teeth showing. You may think the person looks sad, and she is actually smiling!

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci: Does the young woman in the painting smile or not? That’s the type of a happy smirk you may see girls from Moscow displaying. In Europe, facial expressions are more subdued than in America.

Many western guys look serious on their photos on EM as well

We do recommend men to smile in their photos and most of them don’t. You can run a simple search and you will see it yourself.

Even Mr A. Schwartz doesn’t grin happily in the photo that he posted with the question — so, why not?

Simply put, many people don’t realize the importance of a smile for the first contact with a stranger. They just didn’t think of that!

Others believe that their photos don’t matter — these girls just want to immigrate, right? (Totally a wrong concept, read here why.)

And the third type of people may believe (just like the guys who refuse to post photos in suits, because “I don’t normally wear a suit”) that they don’t need to smile because they are not constantly smiling in real life.

The same reasons, in addition to the cultural predisposition that we discussed earlier, will apply to women from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, etc) as well. Some of them don’t understand how important it is to appear welcoming, others think it’s unnecessary and it will do as it is.

Happy couples who met on Elenasmodels.com.

Women from Russia smile when there is a reason to be happy — for example, on their wedding day. These lovely couples met each other on Elenasmodels.com

More reasons for Russians to don’t smile

In addition to the broad cultural predisposition to looking serious, there are more reasons why people in Russia don’t smile.

Obviously, since smiling requires a reason to appear happy, if you do walk around grinning, then you have something going for you. Why are you so happy? The authorities may wish to know, because the majority of people are concerned with the daily survival, so why are you different? Maybe you are on drugs and present a danger to the public’s safety?

Police officers may pick you from the crowd for questioning, and who wants that?

You will be standing out of the crowd grinning for no reason (this is how Russians easily pick foreign tourists, especially pickpocketers, which are a never-ending problem in large cities).

No need to stand out like a sore thumb. This is why Russians don’t smile. It’s just the way people live.

And by the way, people in Russia do smile. When they are really happy. They like to express the emotion they really feel without faking it (although there is a saying, “fake it till you make it”).

If a girl from Russia is happy, then she will smile! You will know it straight away.

So, if you managed to put a smile on a Russian woman’s face, then you have the sincere and genuine feedback in an instant. That’s one great point about it, right? 🙂

Top-5 reasons to marry a Russian woman.Read also:

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ritka-777
Guest
ritka-777

in my opinion, Russians smile enough, as they live in a beautiful country with great sights and features of nature: a warm climate, several seas, and high mountains leaving the sky with their tops. All this allows a Russian person to be content with his life without wasting time on sadness and resentment.

Olga86
Guest
Olga86

Yes, difference in culture is one of the reasons. Russians (and me personally too) often think that it is not sincere to smile at the person whom you are not too much happy to see or about whom you just don’t care. In this regards Western people’s abundant smiles sometimes seem a bit artificial to me and kind of confuse me (“what’s happening? why is he/she so happy to see me?”). Also I prefer not to smile when I’m in bad mood, if i try it’s always a tense unnatural smile, so I dropped it. As to the girls on… Read more »

Eva2910
Guest
Eva2910

As for me, russian people dont like to do this because they think about their appearance! i mean if you smile a lot you will have a lot of wrinkle…just joking. to be serious its just too cold there! its too hard to smile when you cant feel your legs, friends!

Dennis Pacelli
Guest
Dennis Pacelli

Eva you are correct I have deep smile lines, seriously!

Barbie
Guest
Barbie

Yeah I think that this is absolutely true. But it actually depends. Our countries have different histories and we were raised also in a different way. Americans and Russians both pretty emotional. But in the USA these emotions are addressed to everyone and in Russia only for friends and family. We are quite friedly people just no as much as Americans.

Olesya
Guest
Olesya

I am very serious too. And you will not see my photos with smile оn dating sites. But it doesn’t mean that I feel unhappy. I am really happy and I adore my life! But in my childhood my parents often told me: «If you laugh a lot, then you will definitely cry». Since then I try to check myself.

Natalia
Guest
Natalia

I have also heard this phrase many times. I never smile without reason. I just don’t see the need to do so. It is better not to smile for nothing and stay sincere, especially with people whom you do not particulary like. It is different with friends or people you are glad to see.

Nikki
Guest
Nikki

I agree that some girls just don’t feel sexy with a 32 teeth showing on photos! so they’d better make such an enigmatic kind of look, you know, languid gaze and parted mouth.. )
or! some want to make an impression of a seeerious ladies with a seeerious intentions, cause only seeerious gentlemen are welcome )))
but I think it’s fine, everyone’s different and it makes easier to make a choice of a person

Burak
Guest
Burak

The thing is, I don’t smile either on photos, who am I to judge? that’s like wanting to marry a virgin as a non virgin. Whatever floats their boat.

Nina
Guest
Nina

I think that this is not a very right point, that russian girls don’t smile) We are very kind and open people, and we have the most beautiful women in the world) Sometimes we are not smiling because russian people always have a lot of stuff to do and we have really quick pace of life.

Monk
Guest
Monk

You are right!

Dennis Pacelli
Guest
Dennis Pacelli

Nicely stated!

radmila
Guest
radmila

I think, Russians don’t smile a lot because the feelings are something personal. We don’t like to show our feelings to strangers or colleagues. That`s why Russians smile when they are with their families and close friends. Also, many people are afraid to look silly when they smile.

kolmot
Guest
kolmot

To be honest, being Russian is not very easy. There is a lot of negative information around Russian people. It concerns with a political situation in the country, social and demographic aspects, the place of living, material wealth and so on. Because of this, most people can’t live carefree. If person wants to change something in his life, he always forces to face different problems. Anyway, problems can’t be accompanied by happiness. Considering this information, I agree with an opinion that Russians smile rarely. Besides, I think that Russian government should improve the policy and turns it in a positive… Read more »

Burak
Guest
Burak

Never deny or ridicule your roots, things are how they are, life isn’t easy for anybody, Russia has one of the most beautiful and cultural cities on this planet, I am planning to visit Saint Petersburg soon, if this website will not work out for me, I will be on my way. I was going to visit Russia anyway.

Dennis Pacelli
Guest
Dennis Pacelli

Elena you are on top of your game!

Oleg
Guest
Oleg

I think that people in the Russian Federation very offen keep serious faces, because they lived in the north of the world. Their sadness is a reflection on the long winter. Also in the russian culture sadness is like fashion. Feodor Dostoevsky, Sergey Esenin, Maxim Gorky constantly forced in their works to empathize with others. Smile in our culture has the meaning of hypocrisy, but sadness is the opposite true reflection of the soul.

Bull
Guest
Bull

Some Russians do not even like to smile, but most of them enjoy doing it. Sometimes it is hard to give a smile to an unknown (or maybe even unfriendly) person. We are afraid that people may consider us crazy smiling for no reason. We are always smiley in a company of friends or in a family.

Sophie
Guest
Sophie

Russians smile all the time. They just don’t smile at strangers or because they have to. I actually think it’s a good thing, at least I know if a Russian person smiles at me one actually means it. It’s much better than fake smiles that don’t even mean anything.

Tatiana
Guest
Tatiana

As for me, I often look serious on my photos, but it doesn’t mean that I’m unfriendly or unhappy. I appreciate good humor and fun but why should I always smile to everybody? Russian people are very merry , friendly and hospitable and they enjoy life as nobody else. They don’t often smile, but they laugh loudly)

Ann1991
Guest
Ann1991

Yes, they don’t smile at strangers or anyone. Not like this American who keeps smiling the whole day long. I’d be much more comfortable in Russia. This fake smile constantly makes you look like an idiot.

Robert
Guest
Robert

I never forget one event in England:
Local GP.
Before me was a guy from Ukraine, and another from Estonia (but he was Russian). By the time I get next (most gloomy among the 3 of us) the assistant was in full panic:
“Why are you don’t smile? What’s the matter with everybody?”
Me:
What the … reason do I have when waste my time for a med. check? Are you happy when must visit a doctor?

Effect: Assistant shocked, and continue to type with shaking hands. 😀

Even after 11 months every local was sure I come from really far. 🙂

Mariya
Guest
Mariya

I love when people from EU or US or other part of the world raise the question why Russians do not smile. I totally agree that this is simply part of our culture. When you smile, we think that you are crazy or up to no good. Funny fact, but it is true. Actually, we do smile a lot but mostly with our closest friends. Smile for a stranger? No way. I have lived in Finland for a long time and even Finnish people, who are known to be too closed and serious people, smile more often than Russians do.… Read more »

Irina
Guest
Irina

Unfortunaly, it is true. I notice that i smile just several times during the day. I can only smile and laugh in the company of my relatives and friends. But they told me that they like my “serious” photos. That is why I don’t worry much about this issue.

fanast
Guest
fanast

As for me, I think it depends on the person. Yes, Russian people tend to keep their face serious mostly. But for instance I do love to smile and I know that the smile helps to build on communication. It’s just that some people don’t want to be liked by others. But I think it will change as more and more people learn about networking and they understand the value of the smile soon!

Paul Rose
Guest
Paul Rose

American here….hi 😀 I laughed and laughed as I read this article in which every word is exactly the case. I had a wonderful hostel host named Olga in Chisinau Moldova and we talked about things. She explains to me my confusion over my experiences. “don’t say hi to strangers, they will think you’re up to no good”. “Don’t look at strangers, same reason”. I was going to a grocery store deli counter everyday and the girls all knew me. The girls at the counter wouldn’t even look in my direction. I just assumed they were busy with other things… Read more »