With 75% of people being able to correctly identify whether or not a recipient liked the gift they received, how can we better fool people (and spare their feelings)?
- Make eye contact.
- Smile with your mouth and eyes, not just your mouth.
- Don’t put the gift aside. Lift it like a trophy and show it off.
What do you say when you receive a gift you are not too fond of?
Eye contact, or lack thereof, is one easily spotted sign that the recipient did not like their present. They try to avoid eye contact with the giver in case the expression on their face gives away their true feelings. The expression on a displeased recipient’s face is often a ‘social smile,’ which involves only the mouth muscles. When someone is truly happy about something, they smile with both their eyes and their mouth; what is often called a Duchenne smile.
In terms of the gift itself, the recipient tends to rewrap it and put it out of sight fairly quickly if they do not like it. Contrastingly, if someone really likes a gift, they hold it up like a trophy, passing it around and showing it off. They also tend to hold on to the present for a little longer. If it’s a scarf that they really like, for example, the recipient may stroke it for awhile, or even put it on.
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