10 Things You Should Know About Body Language

Despite all of our advances in technology and civilization, we have never given up our basic instincts to communicate through body language. The unspoken word is one of the best ways to communicate how we feel about another person, family, friend, or partner. Here are several things you should know about body language and other behaviors that might help your relationships with others (Note, I’m not a psychologist, I’m just way more observant than the average person):

1. Crossed arms/legs: Confrontational and/or close-minded. Sometimes, we cross our legs or arms while standing or sitting just because that posture is more comfortable, and it has nothing to do with the person we’re talking to. However, during a conversation about a strong topic, like religion or politics, crossing legs or arms means someone is not open to what you are saying, and can even be waiting for you to finish your sentence so they can get in their two cents. The quicker a person’s response to you while crossing legs or arms means this conversation will go south fast. If this person is a date, it’s probably a good idea to find somebody else.

2. Head tilt: A strong expression of interest, usually related to the conversation. It’s generally believed that people do this when they want to hear clearer, but also when thinking deeply about what you are saying. The more someone tilts their head to one side, the more interested they are. Usually they will tilt their head in the direction of their dominant hand, or their political views. (I always tilt my head to the left, since I am left-handed). The less a person talks, and the more they head tilt, the more interested they are. This is an example of a friend or partner who genuinely respects what you have to say.

3. Touching the arms: Believe it or not, we are very conscious of the condition of our arms (Think about life without arms. These are an important part of our body needed to survive). People with autism especially, will react intensely to having their arms touched. But the average population receives a lot of information from having their upper arms touched, especially by a friend or potential partner. It’s an expression of comfort, to allow yourself to enter the personal space of another person and not be rejected. Touching the forearm, back of hand or wrist is an expression of mild comfort, but there is still an attachment that needs to be built. It’s also important to note that when a man clutches the upper arms of another person, they want that person close to them.

4. Sitting with knees spread: I know what you’re thinking, but this is not a sexual behavior. Usually friends, especially male friends, do this with each other when they feel comfortable, relaxed and safe. Men do this around women too, and it means the same thing, but they don’t do it as often.

5. Two-armed sideways hug: If someone hugs you with both arms but approaches you are your side rather than face first, then this is an affectionate friend.

6. Face to face two-armed hug: This means many, many things. But overall, whether you are friends, family, partners, there is some type of love involved, either romantic or unconditional.

7. One-armed hug: People who have known each other for a long time don’t do this, usually. If they do, they aren’t very close. If someone does this to you on a first date, they may not have much of an interest in building an attachment, or in some cases they may not be very attracted to you. 😦

8. Hand holding: Our palms and fingertips are one of, if not the most sensitive areas on our body. Holding hands is a very powerful expression of closeness, and even a desire to be closer if in a romantic relationship. But for friends this can mean a desire to build a stronger friendship and get to know that person more.

9. Kissing: Lips are nearly as sensitive as hands, and we kiss to release chemicals that build an attachment. The problem with kissing someone you just met, is that it creates a “false” attachment which is physical rather than emotional. Since the human species is naturally monogamous, it’s not a good idea to kiss on the first date. If you do kiss on the first date, even though you don’t want to date that person again, you’ll still be thinking about them for several days afterward. Our bodies can get a little confused about what we want…

10. Eye contact: The most important romantic gesture between two people is eye contact. Friends make eye contact too, and often develop unconditional love from it. But eye contact among couples is how we open ourselves to that person and make ourselves vulnerable. If someone does not willingly make eye contact with you, then they do not feel at ease with you yet. If your pupils dilate during eye contact, there is genuine love there.

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