Translating Body Language
Following are some examples of body language, and what each example communicates to other people:
- Arms crossed over the chest. This example of body language can indicate that a person is being defensive. It can also demonstrate that the individual with crossed arms disagrees with the opinions or actions of other individuals with whom they are communicating.
- Nail biting. Nail biting is a type of habit than can demonstrate stress, nervousness, or insecurity. Oftentimes people bite their nails without even realizing it.
- Hand placed on the cheek. This example of body language can indicate that a person is lost in thought, or is considering something. Sometimes when the hand is on the cheek, it is accompanied by a furrowed brow, which further demonstrates deep concentration.
- Tapping or drumming the fingers. Finger-tapping demonstrates that a person is growing impatient or tired of waiting.
- Head tilted to one side. A tilted head demonstrates that a person is listening keenly, or is interested in what is being communicated.
- Touching the nose. When someone touches or rubs their nose, it can signify a number of things: it can be a signal of disbelief or rejection, or it can also demonstrate that an individual is being untruthful about what they are saying.
- Rubbing the hands together briskly. This can show that a person’s hands are cold. It is also a way of communicating that an individual is excited for something, or is waiting in anticipation.
- Placing the tips of the fingers together. “Steepling” of the fingers, or placing the tips of them together, is a demonstration of control and authority. This type of body language can be used by bosses or authority figures to subtly demonstrate that they are running things.
- Palms open, facing upward. An open palm is a sign of openness and honesty. It can be a show of submission – in older days when many people carried weapons, this was used to show that they were not holding one – or of sincerity and innocence. Some people open their palms during worship at church as a sign of submission and respect.
- Head in hands. Yet another example of body language that might mean a number of things, the head in hands move can demonstrate boredom, or it might show that a person is upset or ashamed and does not want to show their face.
- Locked ankles. When the ankles are locked together, either while standing or seated, it can communicate nervousness or apprehension.
- Standing up straight, shoulders back. This position shows that a person is feeling confident of him or herself, and is often accompanied with walking at a brisk stride.
- Stroking of the beard or chin. When one strokes the chin, he or she is communicating deep thought. Such a motion is often used unintentionally when an individual is trying to come to a decision about a matter.
- Pulling of the ear. People often pull the lobes of one of their ears when they are attempting to make a decision, but remain indecisive. This motion demonstrates the inability to come to a conclusion.
Each of these examples of body language clearly communicates a message even without saying a word. Now that you know about these examples, you can be on the lookout for people using body language in your every day interactions.