You'll occasionally hear that up to 70% of communication is nonverbal. "Nuh uh," other sources will insist, "it's, um, 93%," shortly before some other source concludes that it is, in fact, one million percent. These figures are all sort of not true, but at least they're they're usefully not true, because whatever number of percents your grumpy frown is shooting out, it's probably wise to do be aware of the situation. Luckily, adopting friendly body language is a simple affair, and turning a frown upside down is usually not, in case you are wondering, a surgical procedure.
Maintain Friendly Eye Contact
If you're one of those folks who gets uncomfortable with prolonged eye contact, ask yourself: what is there, really, to be uncomfortable with? Eyes aren't scary! They're just balls of goo that are inside your face and that can see everything. Which... okay, is actually kind of scary. But still, pointing your eyes at other people's eyes is a crucial part of friendly body language. We once read somewhere that maintaining eye contact 80% of the time is a good rule to avoid staring, but take that with a grain of salt, because the place we read it was in this sentence, and the time we read it was right now, as we are writing it.
Relax All Your Stuff And Junk
This sounds obvious, but if you pay attention, you may realize that you're often unintentionally furrowing your brow, wringing your hands, or furrowing someone else's brow with your wrung hands, none of which will communicate friendliness. Try to notice how you exhibit tension or discomfort with your body. If you tend to grind your teeth, relax your jaw. If your back feels tight, un-tense your shoulders. If your hands are grasped pretty tightly around somebody's throat, oh no, stop! You are too tense and are strangling a person.
Use Welcoming Gestures
If you're in an uncomfortable social situation—like if you're stuck all by yourself at some scary social function full of total strangers, or if you are in Cleveland—the tendency is to want to hunch over, cross your arms, and count the minutes until you are free of this horrible place. But what if there's some really cute person at this scary function, or somewhere in Cleveland? All they'll see is you hunching and glowering like a goblin. Better to try to keep your body language open—arms uncrossed, animated, gesturing with your outward-facing palms—and pretend that you wouldn't actually be relieved if this entire gathering was leveled by a truck full of pies.
Make a Smile Come Out of Your Face
Whatever percentage of anything at all is influenced by body language, smiles account for numerous percents of that percent. Smiling can override all the rest of your body language or change the whole meaning of a phrase. A genuine smile will transform a grouchy loner into a loner who is happy, or perhaps crazy, depending.
Besides, if you're a girl, which you almost certainly are, dudes find you more attractive if you look happy. If you're a dude, well, you'll still appear friendlier if you smile, but unfortunately you'll be less attractive than if you were either proud and confident or all forlorn and emo. Luckily, learning this news should make you all forlorn and emo, so everything works out in the end.