How read the body languageIl linguaggio del corpoEl lenguaje del cuerpo

Pay attention to how physically close someone is to you. The closer they are, the warmer they are thinking of you. If you move slightly closer to them, do they move slightly further away? That means they don’t want your interaction to be any more personal than it already is. If they don’t move further away, then they are receptive. And if they respond by getting even closer to you, they probably really like you or are very comfortable around/by you.

  1. Watch their head position.
    • Overly tilted heads are either a potential sign of sympathy, or if a person smiles while tilting their head, they are being playful and maybe even flirting.
    • Lowered heads indicate a reason to hide something. Take note if someone lowers their head. If it is when he is complimented, he may be shy, ashamed, timid, keeping distance from the other person, in disbelief, or thinking to himself or herself. If it is after an explanation, then he may be unsure if what he said was correct, or could be reflecting.
      • It should be noted that some cultures see this as a sign of respect.
    • Cocked heads mean that they are confused or challenging you, depending on their eye, eyebrow, and mouth gestures. Think of how a dog slightly cocks its head when you make a funny noise.
  2. 3

    Look into their eyes.

    • People who look to the sides a lot are nervous, lying, or distracted. However, if a person looks away from the speaker, it very well could be a comfort display or indicate submissiveness. Looking askance generally means the person is distrustful or unconvinced.
    • If someone looks down at the floor a lot, they are probably shy or timid. People also tend to look down when they are upset, or trying to hide something emotional. People are often thinking and feeling unpleasant emotions when they are in the process of staring at the ground.
    • Some cultures believe that looking at someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect, or is only done with intimate friends or family, so this could explain why someone is avoiding eye contact with you.
    • Dilated pupils mean that the person is interested. Keep in mind, however, that many substances cause pupils to dilate, including alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA, LSD and others. Don’t mistake having a few drinks for attraction.
    • If their eyes seem focused far away, that usually indicates that a person is in deep thought or not listening.
  3. 4

    See if they’re mirroring you. If someone mimics your body language this is a very genuine sign that they are trying to establish rapport with you. Try changing your body position here and there. If you find that they change theirs similarly, they are mirroring.

  4. 5

    Check their arms.

    • People with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. Though some people just cross their arms as a habit, it may indicate that the person is (slightly) reserved, uncomfortable with their appearance (self conscious and trying to cover it), or just trying to hide something on their shirt. If their arms are crossed while their feet are shoulder width or wider apart, this is a position of toughness or authority.
    • If they are rubbing their hands together or somehow touching their own body, they might be comforting themselves (which means they aren’t enjoying the current situation).
    • If someone rests their arms behind their neck or head, they are open to what is being discussed or just laid back in general.
    • If their hands are on their hips, they might be waiting, impatient or just tired.
    • If their hands are closed or clenched, they may be irritated, angry, or nervous.
  5. 6

    Be aware of nervous gestures:

    • If someone brushes their hair back with their fingers, this may be preening, a common gesture if the person likes you, or their thoughts about something conflict with yours. They might not voice this. If you see raised eyebrows during this time, you can be pretty sure that they disagree with you.
    • If the person wears glasses, and is constantly pushing them up onto their nose again, with a slight frown, that may also indicate they disagree with what you are saying. Look to make sure they push up their glasses with an intent, not casually adjusting them. Look for pushing on the rim with two fingers, or an extra motion of wiggling the side of their glasses. The frown or raised eyebrows should tip you off. (Note: A frown may also indicate eyestrain, and constant re-adjusting of glasses could be the result of an improper fit. The distinguishing feature is whether they are looking directly at you while doing it.)
    • Lowered eyebrows and squinted eyes illustrate an attempt at understanding what is being said or going on. It’s usually skeptical. This is presuming they are not trying to observe something that’s far away.
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    Watch their feet:

    • A fast tapping, shifting of weight, laughing, or movement of the foot will most often mean that the person is impatient, excited, nervous, scared, or intimidated.
      • The meaning of feet tapping can usually be discerned depending on the context; if you are currently talking and they are tapping their feet, that is an indication of a desire to leave (though usually this behavior manifests when the person is anxious to get somewhere specific, such as a meeting, rather than because of what you’re doing specifically). Slow shuffling indicates boredom with the current situation. If during flirtation your legs/feet touch, tapping can generally be interpreted as nervous excitement. This is because if they were uncomfortable, they would discreetly move away from the contact, a much more subtle escape than indirectly trying to tell you to move away.
      • Note though that some people with ADHD will constantly jiggle their legs. It doesn’t mean anything, it’s entirely subconscious and, while eccentric, it is difficult to stop. Some people also do it out of habit.
    • If the person is sitting, feet crossed at the ankles means they’re generally at ease.
    • If while standing, a person seems to always keep their feet very close together, it probably means they are trying to be “proper” in some way. Sometimes feet together means that they are feeling more submissive or passive.
    • If they purposely touch their feet to yours, they are flirting!
    • Some people may point their feet to the direction of where they want to go or sometimes their interest. So if it’s pointing at you, he/she may be interested in you.

    TIPS

  7. It’s easy to spot a confident person: they will make prolonged eye contact and have a strong posture. They may also sit or stand very correct. Long eye contact can also be found in lovers’ or families eyes.
  8. For some people it’s only hard to look people in the eye during a discussion because of shyness. Don’t immediately take it personally.
  9. Keep in mind that each person has their own unique body language called baseline behaviors. Pay special attention to changes in body language rather than the body language itself.
  10. Watch the face – it will usually give off a quick involuntary and sometimes subconscious twitch when something happens that irritates, excites, or amuses them.
  11. When observing others, be subtle about it.
  12. You can watch someones breathing pattern to determine whether they are nervous or relaxed, short quick breaths indicate being nervous or under stress and deep long breaths indicate calmness, relaxed at ease.
  13. Watch your own body language, see what message you’re giving off.
  14. If he/she is smiling whenever you are talking to him/her, this is a BIG chance or you can just say they enjoy talking to you!
  15. If they lean forward, they’re interested in listening to you.
  16. Be aware of the persons mouth. Constant twitching usually means they are agitated or annoyed.
  17. When a person closes his/her eyes longer than the time it takes to blink, that usually means that he/she is feeling stress, alarm, or despair (although it could mean that their contacts are dry, this will sometimes be accompanied by rubbing of the eye).
  18. To become more aware about body language, watch TV with the voice off, every night, for three weeks in row. By guessing what’s going on just from body language, you’ll improve your ability to read it .
  19. When a person often tap their fingers on something it’s usually a sign of excitement or impatience.
  20. When someone licks their lips it can be a sign of interest or excitement because subconsciously when someone is aroused their lips tend to dry. But be careful it could just be that their lips are dry or that it is a habit.
  21. Lack of eye contact is a symptom of Asperger’s Syndrome. Those suffering from Asperger’s often watch the mouth of a speaker rather than the eyes, due to strong discomfort maintaining eye-contact. If somebody is avoiding looking people in the eye, keep in mind that they could potentially have this autistic condition.
  22. Also when a person elongates his or her blinks, it could possibly be a sign of annoyance, disbelief, or boredom.
  23. A lowered eye shows calmness.
  24. If someone you are talking to wears glasses and they don’t look at your eyes that often, it might be because their eyes are too weak to focus on both eyes, so they focus on something else e.g. lips.
  25. To tell if someone is lying to you the most common way to see if they are is by a small tensing of the muscles surrounding the eye.
  26. If a person pokes the head while you are talking,it might imply that the person is on doubt or not interested in you.
  27. Try reading the body language of other animals, like horses or dogs.

Warnings

  • Do not judge a person solely by their body language.
  • Take the person’s culture and beliefs into consideration.
  • Always consider that a person’s body language might be influenced by a medical condition.
  • You shouldn’t isolate yourself by constantly examining body language when interacting with people. Otherwise, there is no reason to gain a social upper hand anyway. This is paralysis by analysis.

 
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