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The Art of Body Language

Updated on January 7, 2015
Body Language
Body Language | Source

Body Language Fact

Women are better at sending and receiving messages through body language than their male counterparts. While men are good at reading messages through the body language of other men and sending messages to them as well, when it comes to the body language reading and sending of women they fall short in this category. Woman, on the other hand, are as equally as good at interpreting and sending these signals among both sexes, male or female.

Body Language Explained

What are you saying when you are not speaking? A lot more than you think. You say more with your body compared to your words. Have you ever heard the saying don't listen to what he says but watch what he does? This is because body language can also be much more accurate than words. It's easy to fool others but it's not as easy to fool yourself. Body language is the universal use of physical communication between people. Everyone in the world uses body language including some animals; it is a hard wired trait that everyone is capable of. For some it is a subconscious trait that they pay no attention to and for others it is a trait they use and interrupt consciously throughout their daily lives just as they do with verbal communication. Controlling, manipulating, and reading it as they go about their lives normally.

Body Language Tip

When dealing with body language there are things you will always want to be aware of at all times as to not alienate yourself and the people around you such as:

1. Different cultures have different forms of verbal and nonverbal communication. Physical communication varies in meaning depending on where you are in the world.

2. With body language much like verbal language there is always a chance for miscommunication. When you start to bring body language to your conscious life, take everything with a grain of salt.

3. Always be attentive to personal space. This can be a good flirting tool but it can also make people very uncomfortable. Learn the rules of personal space and abide by them. There is a different amount of space allowed for every type of relationship between people.

Different Types of body Language

Eye Contact- It's said that our eyes are the windows to our souls and for good reason. Just by looking someone in the eye you can see how they're feeling or what they're thinking. Every time you have eye contact with someone they read the expression and story in your eyes while you do the same to theirs. In some countries it's frowned upon to look other people in the eye for this exact reason. It may seem like an invasion of privacy but it's our way of determining who the people really are that we interact with on a daily basis. It's a way to look past the persona people put out there for themselves and to see the true person behind the mask of verbal communication. Eyes can portray many emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, happiness and sadness among many other emotions.

Body Cues- A head tilt, clinched fists, wrinkled forehead, scrunched eyebrows, looking down while walking, a hunched stance when someone enters the room, looking up, deep blowing breath outward, touching, giving or taking away personal space. These are just some of the many body cues you can send when dealing with body language. All of these examples are things you may see people doing on a regular basis and they have a certain meaning and emotion behind them. If you study these cues and the many others in the people around you, you're able to tell what they're thinking without them having to say a word. This is especially true with the people you know well. We use body language cues as the main staple in everything we do, whether we are aware of it or not. If you pay attention to the whole picture and not just the words you hear you see a completely different view.

The Way We Speak- When you're excited you talk faster, when sad or annoyed slower, when sarcastic you're snobby, when happy you have a high pitched energetic voice and when angry there are harsher tones and quickened sentences. The way in which words are said can communicate a lot more about the way we are feeling than the words alone can. Words can only convey a small part of what we're feeling and thinking. It's the way those words are played out and set in motion that can really create their true meaning. When words and physical communication are combined you get a full picture of what is trying to be represented by another person. The way a person speaks when communicating allows you to clearly receive and interpret the message that is being sent by them.

Photo Portraying Sadness
Photo Portraying Sadness | Source

Is Body Language Something You Personally Do Consciously or Subconsciously?

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The Use of Body Language

To Show Attraction- One of the ways in which we can utilize body language is to show that we are attracted so someone without having to put ourselves on the line and deal with the rejection or embarrassment of being turned down. In addition this type of body language can alternately allow two people to become very close very quickly allowing for a fast transition into a relationship. It can be a fun, flirty way to gauge someone’s interest in you. These are all the ways in which you can use body language to show that you’re interested in another person or to tell if that person may be interested in you also:

Keep in mind that you need a combination of a lot of these signs to be absolutely sure the person is interested and you should also remember that some people are just natural flirts who don't mean anything by their actions so just be aware of that.

  • Saying their name more often than normal
  • Invading their personal space
  • Staring or gazing at them sometimes with a shy look away
  • Looking them up and down from across the room or checking them out, especially if they let you catch them.
  • Touching them in general but especially their arm, back, or shoulders
  • Women touch their neck and face more than usual
  • Positioning your feet in their direction
  • Preening or grooming when around the person you like
  • Doe eyes, usually happens naturally
  • Being nicer to them than other people
  • Prolonged eye contact that lasts longer than it normally does
  • Subconsciously copying or mimicking the actions of the person
  • Bumping into someone a lot/they start showing up more than usual
  • Head tilted to the side when talking to the person
  • Smiling and/or laughing more than usual
  • Looking back and forth between the left and right eye then looking down at the mouth and back to the eyes

If you are getting a lot of these signs from a certain person than chances are they probably like you and want to get to know you. Don't jump to conclusions before you know for sure. Ask the person discreetly or find out through other means and make it happen or if you want them to stop just ignore the person until they get it.

To Prove Dominance- Another way in which body language can be used is to show dominance among people. The ways in which we show dominance include demanding more personal space than other people, standing feet wide apart with hands on the back of head, talking more and louder than others and boosted self-confidence. These are all signs that can be used to spot a more dominant person.

To Convey Emotions- The last way in which body language can be used is to let emotions out. It's used to tell the world about the way you're feeling without having to say anything. Some of the ways in which we communicate feeling through body language are clinched fists, tightened jaw, head tilted upward, scrunched eyebrows, wrinkled forehead, looking down while walking, avoiding eye contact, walking/talking faster, slower or differently, and smiling among many others.

Photo of Anger Being Conveyed
Photo of Anger Being Conveyed | Source

Body Language in a Nutshell and the Beauty It Holds

If you take anything away from this article let it be the knowledge that body language can deepen and expand your communication capabilities and open you up to a new world of insight. The beauty in the art of body language is the creation, action, and interpretation that are presented within it. If you take the time to pay attention to the small details of your environment, you begin to see the true beauty, and art form, in everything including the people around you. Along with this you can better judge your surroundings and the interactions you have with others. In conclusion body language is one of the most useful, underrated tools that we have to use. It's a sometimes hidden skill that can be one of the most vital additions to our everyday communication. The mystery and challenge it presents keeps this old tradition alive and with it the universal form of communication.

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thank you for the lesson on body language -- a reminder to watch what we're saying with our mouth shut. Voted Useful!

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