About to tell your boyfriend you cheated with his best friend? Pinch your cheeks first! Because according to the New York Times article “Hold Your Head Up: A Blush Just Shows You Care,” bearing a peachy flush makes others more sympathetic towards you.
Dutch researchers conducted a study in which participants read anecdotes and glanced at photos of people who had done a naughty deed, like committed adultery, and then rated their feelings towards these people. Subjects who were blushing in their photos were described as seeming more trustworthy and compassionate than those who were not. According to psychologist Dacher Keltner, this is because blushing communicates the message, “I care; I know I violated the social contract.”
But don’t always broadcast your blush. While it has been proven to accelerate friendship, turning pink might result in an old fashioned beat down. It’s best to keep your face from turning strawberry red when you encounter your middle school bully all grown-up. Luckily for me, I was born with an olive complexion.