Resting Bitch Face Syndrome

resting bitch face syndrome, rbfs, theindiechicks, according to jewels, friendships, attitude

Resting Bitch Face Syndrome, or RBFS as some call it, is real and it’s ruining lives! It’s a term that I’ve heard a lot lately, but surprisingly a lot of my friends haven’t and that clearly had to change. I’m here to spread awareness about Resting Bitch Syndrome and help you find your way to a cure. There is hope, there is a way out, and The Indie Chicks can help you.

What is Resting Bitch Face

Resting Bitch Face Syndrome is when somebody is relaxing, listening to another speak, driving, pushing a grocery cart, or otherwise mellow but their facial expression is semi-murderous. They look annoyed, angry, frustrated, irritated, or pissed. They look like their partner cheated on them, their dog shat on the floor or their kid puked on their boss at a company party when in reality they’re perfectly happy, they just happen to be a victim of Resting Bitch Face Syndrome.


The signs and symptoms of Resting Bitch Face Syndrome are varied. They can range from “Bitch, step off my man before I cut you” to “I’m PMS’ing and out of chocolate”. This person looks to be relaxing, but their face says they’re ready to spring on you like an angry spider monkey and claw your face off. Also possible are arching of eyebrows, frowning, fidgeting and other signs of agitation.

Keep in mind that these are just facial expressions. The person isn’t actually angry and chances are you aren’t actually in any danger.


Thankfully Resting Bitch Face Syndrome is not contagious but it can prevent people from coming near you when you are around the Resting Bitch Face Syndrome sufferer.

In fact, when you are around somebody with Resting Bitch Face Syndrome chances are you will smile more to counteract their angry facial expressions and to try to subconsciously coach them to do the same.

Side Effects:

Resting Bitch Face Syndrome is not a victimless illness; it will leave a trail of wounded people in its wake. Here are some situational side effects that you can expect to experience if you have Resting Bitch Face Syndrome.

Boyfriend Woes

Your boyfriend will probably not buy that you aren’t angry with him when you constantly look pissed. This will lead to him asking you if you are okay over and over again. He won’t trust you when you say that nothing is wrong. You’ll get frustrated and eventually you’ll snap and tell him every little thing that annoys you. A blow up will ensue and there goes that relationship all because you have Resting Bitch Face Syndrome.

Kiss Your Friends Goodbye

Your bestie may know about your Resting Bitch Face, but your new co-worker, gym pals, or dog park buddies certainly don’t. Your Resting Bitch Face says, “Go the hell away” and eventually they’re going to stop trying to talk to you and do just that.

His Friends Will Never Like You

Do you know what kind of a first impression Resting Bitch Face Syndrome gives off? Not a good one. His friends are already skeptical of the new chick coming in after his totally psycho ex and then in you come with your angry face every time you turn off your saccharine smile.


The problem is that Resting Bitch Face Syndrome pops up when you don’t want it to. For example, out at a bar when you’re trying to meet guys. Resting Bitch Face will kill your chances of hooking up faster than you can say, “I have a 4 cats and enjoy knitting in my free time.” He wants to send you the drink and come over to talk to you, but he’s terrified that you’ll open your mouth and tell him that your grandpa just passed away. Resting Bitch Face is a real killer when it comes to meeting people out on the town.

The Treatment:

Luckily there is hope for those with Resting Bitch Face Syndrome. Life doesn’t have to be spent scaring people off before you even open your mouth. With a little training and some intervention from your friends, you can lead a life of smiles and friendly hello’s.

The Smile

Simple, right? Well, yes if you practice a bit. Spend a little time in front of the mirror and practice with small adjustments to your face. You don’t want to have a huge Joker-like grin on your face all the time, but you can manage to throw a smile in when appropriate.

Tip: To look like you mean it try smiling without teeth. Nobody shows teeth all the time.

Bonus: Too lazy to actually smile? Invest in bronzer and highlighters and use makeup to make people think you’re smiling by contouring and highlighting the apples of your cheeks.

The Smirk

This one doesn’t require quite as much work as the smile. All you have to do is raise one corner of your mouth for heaven’s sake. It says, “I’m confident, a little sassy, maybe sarcastic, but certainly not angry.” That’s definitely an improvement of your prior Resting Bitch Face symptoms.

Tip: Pretend you are laughing about something in your head (or remembering a steamy make-out session) and the smirk takes on a less ‘snarky’ vibe.

Bonus: Guys might see this confident smirk as a challenge and all guys love a challenge. Your “go away” instantly turned into a “come hither”.

The Thinker

Looking lost in thought makes you look like you’re ignoring everyone around you but at least you don’t look angry about it! Rude is a lot easier to forgive than somebody with a murderous resting facial expression. People can usually respect an “aha” think tank moment and give you your space, happily.

Tip: Try to consciously relax your face muscles while you “think” or you’ll just look constipated.

Bonus: While you may come off as a little distant your boss and coworkers will always think you’re hard at work! Winning.

What’s important to remember is that there is a cure for Resting Bitch Face Syndrome, but first you have to recognize the symptoms. Accepting your Resting Bitch Face is the first step to fixing it. If you know somebody who has Resting Bitch Face Syndrome, the key to their happiness may be in you stepping in with an intervention.

Kill Resting Bitch Face Syndrome, with a smile! 

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie Zantopoulos

Julie is Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of The Indie Chicks. She's working on publishing her first book, a collection of short stories, and writing a young adult novel series. Other loves include whiskey, the Flyers, and anything LOTR, Harry Potter, or Young Adult Lit. Don't be shy about following her on Instagram or emailing her to discuss contributing to The Indie Chicks.

  1. I admit – I have suffered from RBFS and it is NOT a pretty sight. My face all droops weird and I look like I’m plotting a murder.

    But then when people would be like, “Are you ok? You look so angry!” I would be like, “MAYBE I AM!”

    So… RBFS leads to actual anger, depression and isolation. You don’t have to live like that. Get help/

    1. LMAO at the RBFSA meetings, Marie.

      Chiara, I have to say that there are times where it must be a blessing, where you really DO want to be left alone. I suppose “suffering” from this syndrome is relative.

      1. Ok – you caught me. I love people staying away from me. I have marks all over my body that make people want to ask, “Omg, what’s that tattoo say?!” and start a convo. If I look like a depressed serial killer right off the bat, maybe they’ll just guess what my tattoo says and skip the interaction.

  2. I suffer from BRF on a daily basis. I just can’t physically help it. It’s even worse when my sunglasses are on. I have had numerous people, after gettign to know me, tell me that thought I was a mjor bitch or were intimidated by me. It’s a cross. I bear it.

    1. I bet without seeing your eyes is magnifies the facial glaring you do. haha. If you don’t mind it and it doesn’t bother you to come off that way then hell, Own It, Chicka!

  3. See, what it is is that when I’m resting, I’m usually thinking. And it HURTS to think for dipshits like me. So I can’t help it and refuse to take responsibility for myself!

    1. Listen, dipshit, when you don’t accept responsibility for your behavior and the way people view you, you open yourself up to internet trolls and real life haters. Just saying. Stop thinking so much you brilliant unicorn, you.

  4. I have the opposite, the “wipe that goofy grin off your face because you look like a moron syndrome” is that possible? Even last week when the car I was working on broke down in the 2nd lap and we lost the hope of cashing in on $100K for the win I was smiling and grinning while we were loading up, until the owner growled at me. I tried frowning. It’s just not me, so I basically told him I’m not apologizing for being happy. He laughed, I laughed, he told me I was awesome, I told him I knew that, then well, I kept loading the gear and returned to growling at others. Sigh. I’m a smiler. Can’t help it.

    1. I’m a natural smiler as well, Marie, which makes the Resting Bitch Face people hard to be around. My first thought it to try and cheer them up and that’s hard to do when they’re usually not even upset to start. 😉

  5. Ah yes, this has made waves in the media lately. I love the fake PSA announcement they made about it. I admit, I’ve struggled before with looking bitchy, when usually I’m just really deep in thought. I think my face gets too tense for people to handle, haha.

    1. The media attention to it is hilarious especially because I’ve been telling my bestie for years that she was afflicted. I know that my “Not now, I’m working” face is WAY too intense for most to take in. Luckily I’m not a RBFS sufferer though.

  6. Apparently I have this, all the time. Or whatever the male equivalent is. Or maybe it’s the same thing. But I’m always being asked why I’m mad or what’s wrong and I’m like, nothing, this is just my face!

    1. It applies to both genders despite the “bitch” part. Well, now you know how to treat your affliction. Acknowledging your ailment is the first step towards healing.

      I’m suddenly very happy we have an online relationships where I don’t have to worry about feeling like I’ve displeased you when you glare at me. 😀

  7. I slightly suffer from this syndrome! In high school, I even had a teacher once comment on it, lol. I was told I looked “intimidating” simply because I was thinking/concentrating, and my face was busy being bitchy looking. However, if you’ve ever met me, I’m pretty sure I’m quite the opposite and actually smile more often than anything. But when I’m not, it’s intense, apparently.

    1. I like the duality of that for you. All business and then sunshine. 😉 I think everyone has their RBFS moments but for those for whom it’s an all day every day occurrence I can only imagine that it keeps people away.

  8. Lol #dead. I see this all the time ESPECIALLY among black women. It’s like they are angry at life. I want to go up to them and be like, “BITCH, FIX YOUR FACE!” I never do though. I just shake my head and walk away. Some of the most beautiful women are ruined by RBFS.

    1. I’ve known a lot of women that were angry at the world and didn’t have RBFS and I’ve known genuinely happy women who look like they’re going to go postal any second. It’s the strangest thing. Honestly, shaking your head and walking away is probably the safest course of action for a guy.

  9. This has to be one of your most genius of posts, J! I absolutely love this and the timing is perfect. I referred a Twitter buddy of mine to read it because she says that she has this problem. She’s not mean, but her relaxed state isn’t inviting to men. Maybe this can help her get the “treatment” that she needs. :)


    1. Wow. That’s high praise for the piece since I think most of my pieces are pretty genius. 😉 Thanks, Quincy. I hope that your friend gets some value from this. She, unlike the majority of the readers, seems to want a “cure”. A lot of the ladies reading this have embraced, and actually like, their Resting Bitch Face. Go figure.

    1. Again, another women who WANTS to have RBFS. Here I am trying to help ladies and you’re all like, “Nah, I want to keep people away”. haha.

      Thanks, as always, for reading and commenting. 😉

  10. Oh my gosh, Jewels, this ranks up with the cinnamon challenge. I was laughing openly and nobody is here. Resting Bitch Face Syndrome is not a victimless illness; it will leave a trail of wounded people in its wake. Yes, I do get that face, but I think It comes off more of a sneer and I am immediately hated. I will learn to manage my RBSF if it’s the last thing I do. lol.

    1. Tovah, I am SO glad you made it over here and commented. 😀 I know it’s hard to control what you’re not always aware you’re doing. It’s all about awareness and it was clearly my job to spread it. So happy you got a giggle out of it.

  11. Ah, story of my life… I remember beeing like 12 and having my mom ask “What’s wrong? Why are you looking like that???” and I was like “Umm… how?”. Later on in my life, EVERYBODY in school told me that before they got to know me I looked snob, posh and mean and they didn’t like me. Boys never came up to me, and those who did were extremely sure of themselves and guess what… I don’t like conceited guys AT ALL! Ah, what a cycle, ha? In college I managed to make only 1 friend, and later when we met other people, they all told me that I looked snob and stiff, again. My boyfriend often asks me if something is wrong, people in the streets are giving me the stink eye and when I am out for a drink I can see men intimidated by me… Thanks for your article. I will try the smirk smile… And then the whole smile, and then the relaxed eyebrows… One step at a time. :p In the end, I am quite happy with my life.

    1. Victoria, So long as you are happy that’s really all that matters. The facts are that sometimes it CAN put people off and if you don’t want to come off that way it can be difficult. I know that the tone of this article was goofy but the fact is that it really does inhibit the making of relationships and first impressions. Smile away, sweetheart. 😀

  12. This article is too funny! Just the other day my husband and I were walking in our neighborhood and this woman drove by with RBFS. Of course, I didn’t know about this condition at that time. Instead, I looked at my husband and said, “Oooh, she’s an angry elf.” Yes, too much Will Farrell for me I suppose. Great article!

    1. LOL. “Call me an elf one more time!” I die laughing every time. I am glad that you enjoyed the article. It seemed like a good way to make light of something that can be pretty hurtful and I’m glad so many people enjoyed it.

  13. For my entire life, I’ve been through people thinking I’m mean until they really get to know me! It’s really annoying and unfair especially considering the girls that walk around with fake smiles and are really bad people inside. It’s genetic I guess as my dad has the male version going on at all times, lol.

  14. This curse finally has a name. I think it has to do with your facial features and if your mouth tends to turn downward. One person who has the opposite of rbs is Meg Ryan. I always wished I could have plastic surgery, but I’d probably wind up loozing like the Joker!

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