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Would You Recognise These Body Language Signals?

People are always sending out body language signals. So noticing them and being able to interpret those signals is a very helpful social skill to have.

Some people have learned to read them naturally while others are particularly ignorant about the presence and meaning of body language signals.

So whether you’re naturally skilled or not, being extra attentive can help you learn to read body language signals more effectively. All you need to do is get to know the signs and have plenty of practise in reading them. Eventually, it'll become second nature to you.

7 Body Language Signals (And How To Read Them)

  1. The Space Between You: This is a good indicator of how warm the person feels towards you. Whether sitting or standing, the closer they are, the warmer their opinions are of you. And if you move closer and they move further away, this means they’re not interested. But if they get even closer to you as a response, it’s a sign that they really like you or feels very comfortable with you. Take note however that personal space varies from person to person. What you may consider close may not be that close for someone else.

  2. Their Head Position: Heads that are tilted more than usual could be a sign of sympathy. If a person smiles while tilting his or head, it can also be a sign of flirting. A person could be hiding something when their head is lowered. But it could be a sign of shyness or disbelief if he or she does it when complimented. When it’s done after an explanation, it could be a sign of uncertainty with what the other person said. It’s also a sign of respect in some cultures. It should be noted that some cultures see this as a sign of respect. If a person cocks his heads, he or she may be confused or challenging you.

  3. Their Eyes: Dilated pupils of the eyes show the person is interested. Taking drugs can also result in dilated pupils, and there are people with a condition called mydriasis, which is a permanent dilatation of the pupils. So don’t mistake them for attraction Glancing to the sides a lot could indicate nervousness, lying, or being distracted. Eyes that are looking at the floor may mean the person is timid or shy. Looking at someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect in other cultures. That’s why you shouldn’t feel bad when they avoid eye contact with you.

  4. Mirroring: This is a very genuine sign of interest. The person is subconsciously making a rapport with you. For instance, if you notice them changing position similarly when you do, they are mirroring you.

  5. Their Arms: Crossed arms mean the person is closing himself or herself to social influence. However, there are some who developed it as a habit or mannerism. It might indicate slight reservation, discomfort with weight or body, or could be hiding something. A person is taking a position of authority or being tough when they cross their arms while their feet are shoulder width apart. Arms behind the neck or head indicate that the person is laid back or open to what is being discussed. Hands on hips can be a sign of impatience or that the person is waiting.

  6. Nervous Gestures: Using the fingers to brush hair back is a common gesture of preening if the person likes you. However, it can also mean that their thoughts are in conflict with yours about something, especially if they raise their eyebrows. People with eyeglasses who keep pushing them up onto their nose and frown a little or raise their eyebrows also indicate disagreement. Squinted eyes or lowered eyebrows show scepticism and can be an attempt to understand what’s said or what’s going on.

  7. Their Feet: Impatience, nervousness, excitement, fear or intimidation can be demonstrated by a fast tapping feet or shifting movement of the foot. Take note though that people with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) normally do this anyway. Feet that are crossed at the ankles, while sitting, means the person is at ease. Keeping the feet very close together while standing means the person is trying to be proper. If another person’s feet keep touching yours, it’s definitely a sign of flirting.

Final Tips on Reading Body Language Signals

Remember:

  • Don't detach yourself in your interaction with other people by constantly examining body language. Otherwise, you’ll lose touch of where your conversation is at.

  • Pay extra attention to the face as the involuntary or subconscious response it gives is often very quick.

  • The key to understanding body language signals is careful observation.

  • Also consider that we all have unique body language called baseline behaviors.

  • Be subtle when making your observations so the person won’t get uncomfortable.

  • Focus on body language changes rather than the body language itself.

Remember - have fun and practice a lot to get better at it.

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