presents to you; Body languages: 15 examples and their meaning

Body language is a nonverbal language that emphasizes or alters the meaning of the direct language we use.

We speak to others through our body movements, posture, eye contact, hand gestures, tone and volume of voice, facial expressions, and micro-expressions that hold meaning for us as well as for our audience.

Body language comes through most of the time whether you intend to reveal it or not. However, you need to be careful when assessing someone else’s body language.

That what means one thing to one person might mean something entirely different to someone else. This is particularly important to know when there are cultural differences between people.

The following body language examples are common. It’s usually easy to discern their meaning once you’ve learned them:

Arms Crossed Across The Chest


Your arms and legs are perhaps one of the first types of nonverbal communication that people notice when they see you.

Sitting or standing with your arms crossed across your chest is nearly always seen as defensive body language. Universally, people view a person that has crossed arms as insecure, annoyed, or closed off. When you do it, you’re closed off and disengaged. You may appear angry or stubborn.

If you see someone with their arms and legs crossed for a long period of time, remember that it could indicate that the temperature where you are is too cold. It could also mean they’re tired or simply supporting their shoulders in an armless chair.

Tapping Your Fingers


When you tap your fingers, you appear impatient and possibly nervous about waiting. If you’re a finger tapper, be aware that it’s one of those nonverbal signals that can get on others’ nerves.

Looking Down


Looking at the floor or ground makes you appear weak and unconfident. Unless there’s something you need to discuss down there, you need to keep your eyes on the level of the other person’s face. When you break eye contact, as you should every few seconds, try looking to the side.

Steepling Your Fingers


Holding your fingertips together and your palms apart let people know you have authority and control. Bosses and politicians use this gesture often to show they’re in charge.

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Pulling Your Ear


When you tug on your ear, it shows that you’re trying to make a decision but just hasn’t gotten there yet. You tend to look indecisive or noncommittal.


Crossing Your Legs


The way you cross your legs can tell others a lot about you and how you’re feeling at any given moment. If you cross them at the ankle, it may show that you’re trying to hide something. If you cross them at the knee but point your knees away from the other person, you show you’re uncomfortable with them. In most cases, the best option is to plant your feet firmly on the floor.


Smiles can mean different things, depending on the exact facial expression. There are happy smiles, shy smiles, warm smiles, and ironic smiles. The Duchenne smile consists of pulling up the corners of your mouth while squeezing your eyes to make crow’s feet. It’s considered a genuine smile, as opposed to a fake smile where you just expose your teeth. Have you ever heard of the term, “smiling eyes?” Some people are really good at sending a smile through direct eye contact. When you display an authentic Duchenne smile, you let people know you’re approachable and friendly.

Putting Your Head In Your Hands

When you put your head in your hands, it might mean that you’re bored, as if you’re so weary of life that you just can’t hold your head up anymore. Or, it can mean that you’re upset or so ashamed you don’t want to show your face.

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Gesturing with Your Hands Open and Palms Up


What you do with your hands makes a big difference in whether people trust you or not. Hold your hands open and gesture with your palms up to show that, no, you don’t have anything hidden from them.

Eye Contact

You need to make eye contact with the person you’re talking to if you want them to feel comfortable with the conversation and accept what you have to say. Scientists suggest that most people are comfortable with eye contact of about 3.2 seconds at a time if you’re a stranger. When you become a friend, they usually don’t mind having eye contact with you for longer at a time.

Tilting Your Head to One Side

When you tilt your head to the side, it usually means you’re listening intently and deeply interested in finding out the information you’re being told. It can also mean you’re concentrating very hard.






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