5 Unexpected Social Benefits Of Blushing

I've always thought that my cheeks were unfortunately transparent. My skin is paper-thin and clear as glass. Anyone within a five mile radius can tell when I'm embarrassed. My cheeks surge with pinks and reds and purples that sometimes undermine my cool demeanor that I work so hard on harnessing. My words say one thing, my cheeks say another. When I'm upset, they're red. When I'm embarrassed they're fuchsia. When I'm overwhelmed, they're purple. When I'm "interested" they're the softest pink — thankfully, I imagine purple cheeks might not be the best complement to my flirting game.

And despite what a big part of my life my colorful cheeks have been, I've never understood it. What is blushing? What does it mean? Why does it happen? How does it affect me? What's its evolutionary purpose? What is the science of blushing? And so a little research was called for. As it turns out, there are no proven scientific explanations to justify blushing, only theories. Even Charles Darwin himself found the response to be perplexing. He's been quoted saying:

"Blushing is the most peculiar and the most human of all expressions."

So if we don't understand its evolutionary purpose, what do we know about it, and how is it perceived? Here are five surprising facts about blushing and its unexpected benefits.

Sincerity

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Studies show that blushing can be seen as an indicator of sincerity. People are more likely to believe someone is being genuine if their cheeks are pink. It's a humanizing reaction that cannot be faked.

Forgiveness

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People who blush while apologizing or getting in trouble are perceived as more remorseful than people who do not blush. You're more likely to be forgiven if you're saying sorry with the help of pink cheeks. It shows that your not just saying the words, you're feeling the emotions too.

Trust

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Studies also show that people who blush are more likely to be trusted. Because their face mirrors their internal feelings, people feel more comfortable trusting them. What you see is what you get. For example, can you imagine Frank Underwood ever blushing? I didn't think so.

Commitment

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People who are prone to monogamous relationships are often blushers. Studies indicate that people who are blush easily tend to be more committed and faithful lovers than non-blushers. It probably has something to do with an emotional openness and connectedness.

Vulnerability

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Blushers are considered to be highly vulnerable people. We see people who share their feelings on their face as emotionally open. Socially, it can be more comforting to talk to someone who blushes — it makes us feel at ease with their presence, and we trust that they're not trying to hide anything so we don't have to be on alert.

Images: Giphy, Sony Pictures