TO KNOW

Understanding the Thai Smile

Thailand is known all over the world as the land of Smiles, there is the land of cheese, the land of hamburgers but the specialty of Thai people, before Muay Thai and massage, it is the smile!

To know: smile is said: Yim in Thai

The country where they smile for everything

Even if this is lost, especially in very touristic areas where culture clashes and stress are undermining the legendary Thai self-control (djay yen), smiling remains the great specialty of Thailand.

Here they smile for everything, even when they are upset, sad, or tired.

If you do something shocking by a lack of knowledge of Thai culture, such as sitting on a cushion used to rest the head, Thai people will be very embarrassed and will smile or laugh, but by gene, because it is very rude!

See: Do’s and don’ts in Thailand

Someone who wants to steal from you, rip you off, or even doesn’t like you, will smile at you too!

Being smiling is a way of life, of showing that you are a good, socially adapted person.

If you smile often, you will be well regarded by the Thai people.

The 13 Thai smiles (Yim)

There is a ranking of the different Thai smiles; here is a list, but we can surely find even more.
1. Yim thang nam taa: yim of extreme joy, to tears (nam taa = water eyes).

2. Yim thak thak thaai: a polite smile that is addressed to people you don’t know or know very little about.

3. Yim cheun chom: yim of admiration.

4. Fuen Yim: smile addressed to the one who makes a joke, not funny, out of politeness.

5. Yim mee lessanai: yim, which hides a bad intention.

6. Yim yao: a smile that means “you see, I told you so! ».

7. Yim yao yae: yim of resignation in the face of adversity.

8. Yim Sao: the smile of sadness.

9. Yim haeng: yim embarrassed.

10. Yim thor thaan: a smile of disapproval.

11. Yim cheuat cheuan : yim from winner to vanquished.

12. Yim sou sou sou: a smile of a person preparing to face the impossible, head held high.

13. Yim mai hok: yim forced (mai hok = not to leave).

A smile that sometimes disturbs

Some will say that smiling on all these kinds of occasions is hypocritical, that they prefer a frank look that expresses friendship, contempt, or anger so that the situation is clear.

Personally, like many expatriates, I prefer smiles to aggressive or depressed faces.

Moreover, it is one of the most difficult things for people who have lived in Thailand and who are returning to France, to stop seeing smiles.

Photos of smiles from Thailand

An anecdote about smiles in Thailand

A few years ago, I met a Frenchman in a small village in northern Thailand who told me about his discomfort.

Since there were very few strangers around, every time he walked down the street or to the market, he felt all the eyes on him, and it made him uncomfortable.

I then advised him to answer the looks with a smile, and he later told me about his surprise to see all the people respond to his smile at the same time with another smile.

So smile, you’re in the land of smiles!

And if you are still not convinced, read these tips from Mark Stibich, an expert in behavioral studies who have found good reasons to adopt this behavior:

9 good reasons to smile

1. It makes it attractive

A smiling person is always more attractive. Grinning repels, smiling attracts.

2. It puts you in a good mood

If you feel a little depressed, make yourself smile.

Chances are your state of mind will change at the same time.

3. It’s contagious

When someone smiles, they radiate, and the effect is reflected on others.

Smile a lot, and people will be looking for your company.

4. This helps to fight against stress

Stress leaves its mark on the face. Smiling prevents us from appearing tired.

So if you’re stressed, remember to smile.

5. It boosts our immune system

Smiling helps the immune system work better.

When you smile, immune functions work better because you are more relaxed.

6. It lowers blood pressure

Research shows that when you smile, there is a significant reduction in blood pressure.

7. It releases endorphins, serotonin, and other natural tranquilizers

Studies have shown that smiling releases these substances naturally, so don’t hesitate to use them with a smile!

8. It gives a natural facelift and makes you younger

The muscles used to smile dissipate wrinkles and make you younger.

So rather than botox or surgery, smile to stay young.

9. It helps you stay positive

Make this easy experience: smile and try to think of something negative without losing your smile.

Difficult, isn’t it?

When we smile, our body sends this message: “Life is beautiful.”


See also:

Wai: how to greet, thank and show respect in Thailand

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