How to Read the Body Like a Book
Vaneskera lowered her eyebrows and stuck out her thumbs in a frightening, dominant manner until we agreed to publish this post. –Sparkitors
While Jono's already told us how to make our body language more friendly, he didn't reveal all the many things that body language can tell you about a person, if you know how to read it. Here's how you can spy on a person's true feelings, without them even knowing:
1. Hands and Arms.
Here are some common stances and what they mean:
Hiding the hands: By crossing one's hands behind his back or putting them in his pockets, a person is saying that he doesn't want to talk to you, or that he has something to hide. (If, however, the person's moving his hands from pockets to behind the back to straight out in front of him, it might mean he likes you, is nervous, and cannot figure out how to behave normally in your presence.)
Crossing the arms: A person in this pose is being defensive. If her hands are also in fists, she's feeling very defensive or hostile. If her thumbs are visible, but the rest of her fingers are hidden, she still wishes to dominate the conversation, despite having her defenses up. Fingers splayed across a person's arms might indicate she knows she's losing an argument.
Hand on cheek: When a person places a hand on his cheek, supporting his head during a conversation, watch his fingers: having two fingers on the cheek with the others tucked in represents interest. However, a flat palm represents boredom.
Rubbing the neck: This expresses frustration or fear.
Holding hands near the face while speaking: Human instinct tells us to cover our mouths as we lie, so watch for someone putting their fingers near or over their mouth as they talk. (And if you want to be a better liar, practice doing it with your hands held at your sides!)
2. The face.
Reading someone's face might seem straightforward, but the human face often gives away more than intended.
The smile: Real smiles create wrinkles around the eyes. A fake, forced smile won't.
Eyebrow position: High eyebrows show submission, while lowered ones show dominance. When a person is angry, her eyebrows lower to show that they are not afraid.
Direction of gaze: The direction a person is looking can reveal what exactly he might be thinking about. When recalling a picture, the pupils move up and to the right. When recalling a sound, the pupils are in the right corner of the eyes. When recalling a feeling, they are in the lower left corner. When talking to themselves, they're in the lower right hand corner.
Pupil size: It's well known that a person's pupils get larger when they see something (or someone) they find attractive. They also grow larger when the person is engaged in conversation or in problem solving, reaching maximum size when a solution is found.
3. Lower body.
While most people know a lot about upper body language, and faking it, they might not know to keep their lower body in check. This means that their legs can reveal their true intentions!
Standing: When a person is holding a neutral stance, take a look at her feet. When one foot points forward, and the other to the side, her pointing foot is generally angled toward the person she finds most attractive in the group. When her legs are apart, it's seriously called a "crotch display," showing that the person has no fear, or maybe that they're a little too relaxed in public.
Sitting: When a person sit with their legs wide, it indicates a dominant or open attitude, whereas crossed legs indicate a closed or uncertain attitude. When both the legs and arms are crossed, the person isn't open to communication at all. When a person crosses a foot over their knee, it is, yes, a "seated crotch display!" If, however, the person twists his legs around each other, he's displaying shyness.
Liars: Liars tend to move their lower bodies more when they lie. Be sure you're not actually at a hula-hooping contest before you start to judge on this one.
Are you good at reading body language?
Related post: How to Make Your Body Language More Friendly
We can tell you want to write for SparkLife by the way you're moving your arms in slow figure-eights. But read this first!