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How to Read Body Language and Send the Message You Want to Other People

Is your body language saying what you want it to say? Learn how to read body language and what other people take from your body language and gestures too!

Your body language has the ability to keep people at arm’s length or reel them in closer. This means that you could unintentionally be laying out a welcome mat for people you don’t want in your life or putting up a do-not-cross line for people you do. Either way, it’s bad news.

That is why it is so important to learn how to read body language. You want to be sure to promote the right messages, minimizing the likelihood that you’ll draw in the wrong people, which is exactly what you will be able to do by the time you are done reading this article.

In addition to making sure you come across correctly with your gestures and body language, you will also be more adept at reading the messages others are sending. This can help you interpret how a man feels about you, decide whether a friend is being honest or deceitful, and much more!

Let’s get to it then, shall we?

Your Face

What can your face say about you? First and foremost, if you smile a lot, it says that you’re a happy person who focuses more on the positives than the negatives. Plus, smiling often also tells others that you’re approachable and not likely to bite off their head.

A person who tilts their head a lot when they are talking to you is either flirting with or feeling sorry for you – two very different messages. A slight tilt may be a sign of aggression or even confusion. Therefore, it is important to take into account the context of your situation before deciding which one applies.

Your Eyes

Beautiful Eye of Woman

Eye contact is usually good because it projects an air of self-confidence. For instance, it tells a potential boss that you are capable of handling the job and it says to a potential partner that you’re interested enough in them that you are giving them your undivided attention.

The one exception is that certain cultures are not quite so keen on eye contact and may actually view it as a sign of disrespect or even aggression. So, don’t overdo it or you may give the wrong impression.

On the other hand, no eye contact whatsoever can be a sign of dishonesty – as in the person can’t look at you and lie to your face. Looking around or side to side a lot can mean the same thing, so be aware of others who are doing this while speaking to you if you want to get to the truth.

Some people believe that the ability to retain good eye contact is a sign of honesty, but it simply isn’t true. Someone who is lying to your face may try to look you in the eye just to get you to believe their fallacy, so be aware of this as well.

A great deception cue is to watch where someone looks when you ask them a question. Assuming the person is right-handed, they are more inclined to look up and to the right when they are recalling an event, but up and to the left if they are fabricating a story. A left-handed person looks the opposite ways.

Your Upper Body

What happens when you see a person who is slouched over? You may feel bad for them because they look sad or you take pity on them because they come across as someone who doesn’t have a very high self-image, right? However, if they sit up nice and straight, it projects confidence, which is a very compelling feature. Keep this in mind with your posture so that you promote the right image.

If you want to show someone that you’re interested in them, sit squarely facing them if you are across from each other or turn your body so that it kind of faces them when sitting side by side. And if someone does this to you, it is a good sign that they are interested in what you are saying and want to get to know you better.

Your Arms and Hands

Successful business woman with arms crossed smiling

Cross your arms in front of your body and you’re essentially putting a huge STOP sign on your chest. This signals people that you are going to keep them at arm’s length. Maybe you don’t like what they have to say, are bored, or are getting angry and putting up your defenses. No matter what the reason, the person reading this body language is going to get your “stay away” message loud and clear.

On the converse, if you want someone to feel like you are more open and comfortable, your hands can either be folded and in your lap (if you’re sitting), hanging at your side, or they could even be behind you. This says that you’re not a standoffish person and are willing to welcome them into your life.

Plus, if you keep your hands in one spot, you aren’t tempted to overly gesture, which can be distracting or annoying. Fidgeting is often a sign of anxiety, but it can also signal deception. For example, a person who puts their hand in front of their mouth may be trying to “hide” a lie they just told you.

Your Lower Body

Just as the position of your upper body allows others to read your body language, the same is true in regard to how you position your lower body. Position your toes so that they are facing toward the person you are speaking with and you’re giving the sign that you are involved in the conversation and focused on them 100 percent; position them away from them and it says that you’re looking for your exit route.

Crossing your legs tightly is the same as crossing your arms; you’re saying that you’re not interested and wouldn’t mind if the other person just went away. But if you sit with your legs sprawled out in front of you or crossed casually, you’re telling the person that you’re open and willing to converse with them.

Reading Gestures and Body Language

smiling female boss talking to business team

When it comes to learning how to read gestures and body language, it is important to realize that people often tend to mimic or mirror the person they are speaking with. This is especially true when there is interest there, so if someone starts to mirror you, then it may be a sign that they really like you and want to get to know you more.

Additionally, everyone is different, so you have to remember that when reading what their body is saying to you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer and everything must be taken in its entirety or you may misinterpret their thoughts or feelings.

The skill of reading and interpreting other people’s body language takes time but once you know how to project the image you want others to see and learn how to read what they aren’t saying to you, you’ll see an amazing change start to happen in your life. A change that brings good things your way!

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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