Women often don’t say what we mean, that’s why learning how to read body language is so crucial. A crossing of the legs, a flicker of the eyes… body language is the key to our innermost thoughts. Here’s how to find out what everyone else is thinking when your body is talking.
Someone crosses their arms or legs
Depends whether they’re sitting or standing. Imagine these scenarios:
- Your boss wants to discuss your recent absences. She sits with her arms crossed, says she’s sorry you’ve been ill, then asks if there’s anything she can do. She’s being genuine: folding arms or crossing legs while seated means empathy, so you’re not getting your letter of warning yet.
- You need time off for the dentist. Your boss stands, arms folded, while you talk. She’s not happy. Standing with crossed arms or legs is defensive. She may be disapproving of the time you want off; she may also want to be alone — perhaps you’ve asked at a bad time. Either way, that filling has to wait.
Someone smiles at you — a lot
Yes, they may be thinking how fantastic you are and want to be your best friend. But not if you notice the following…
- You bump into an old flame. He smiles at you — it’s a big, symmetrical smile that leaves the skin around his eyes strangely unwrinkled. He could have had Botox, but it’s more likely he doesn’t want to see you; the muscles around the eyes kick in when you really smile and are very hard to control.
- A real smile will fade after only a few seconds and you’ll notice that it’s very rarely symmetrical. The reason for this is because the part of the brain that governs our emotions is different to the part that controls our muscles. Which is why a genuine and emotional smile can’t ever be perfect.
Someone mirrors your gestures
It can be a sign that someone’s ‘clicked’ with you. But it’s also one of the easiest forms of body language to manipulate. For example:
- The new neighbours invite you round for drinks. Things are going well and you like them. You shift forward on the couch and within seconds they’re doing the same — they’re not trying to freak you out. It happens because when you’re in tune with someone, you unconsciously mirror their posture.
- At an interview you nervously lean forward, clasping your hands in your lap. The interviewer does the same. It might be he likes you and the job is yours… but it’s possible that he’s been told that mirroring the body language of a nervous interviewee will put them at ease.
Someone shifts from foot to foot
Yes, it could be that they are genuinely in a hurry. But they may also have something to hide. For example:
- Your cellphone bill is exorbitant, and you can’t work out the reason why. Your husband looks at you blankly. Your daughter denies all knowledge, while your 12-year-old son, on the other hand, is unusually lively for a Monday morning, and is keen to get to school. Make no mistake – he’s the culprit! Shifting from foot to foot shows fear of being found out, and wanting to get away before any guilt is spotted.
Someone’s pupils become dilated
Our pupils dilate because adrenaline is released when we’re excited or afraid. It can also mean someone fancies you, but this isn’t always the case. For example…
- You’re at the casino with the girls and notice your friend’s eyes are a tad dilated. She may have had one Pinot too many, or she may be on the verge of getting a full house. People’s pupils dilate when they think they’re onto a winner — some poker players know an opponent has a winning hand simply by looking at their eyes.
- You ask your other half how you look in a new dress. He says ‘gorgeous!’ and his pupils dilate. He could, of course, mean that you do look gorgeous, and he’d like to ravish you. It could also mean that he’s scared of what you’ll do to him, should he admit the truth.
Of course, we all want to know how to read body language so we can predict when someone is lying to us. So look out for the following:
- Lack of eye contact
- Excessive hand movements
- Biting fingernails
- Chewing the inside of the mouth
- Dry mouth
- Rubbing their nose while you’re speaking to them (they may, of course, have an itch but no itch lasts for over 30 seconds)
- If they’re telling an enormous lie, flailing their arms to the side, fully outstretched