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Body Language: Arms and Feet

Updated on August 18, 2012

It is said that between 75 and 85% of our communication comes through our body language. Our faces show fear, anger, and happiness. We have heard about things in our expressions that give us a way, but our arms and feet can also show others how we are feeling, and maybe more accurately. Our feet move about and point us where we want to go. Our arms are defense in dangerous situations.

What our Feet Say

The feet wiggle, hide, and point to give a good impression of how the person is feeling. Bouncing feet are an indicator of excitement. The body language of the leg reacts to something that makes us happy. Someone sitting in a chair and bouncing his feet is all but jumping with excitement. This bouncing movement is not to be confused with impatient, which is more rapid. On the other end of the spectrum is foot-kicking. If someone suddenly moves his foot as if they are kicking the air back and forth, something has upset him.

Not only do the feet show if we are happy or upset, they also show where we are heading or where we would like to go. Suppose someone is standing and chatting with you and one foot points towards you but the other is oddly pointing in the other direction. This foot pointing does not necessarily mean that this person wants to run away from you, but it could imply that they are busy and may be thinking about leaving soon. A person engaged in a conversation will portray body language that shows interest, such as being squared with you, meaning his shoulders and feet will be pointing at you.

What the Arms Say

Arms protect our body and we use them in such to show our mood. When someone has their arms crossed, it called mean many things, such as being cold, but in the right context, it may mean that they are trying to block you. Protecting our organs is an innate process and the brain doesn’t care if a blow or a social threat is coming at you. On the opposite side of feeling threatened is feeling confident and comfortable. Arms up or clasps behind the back are both signs of someone who is confident in their situation. Think of a security guard and how imposing he can seem by simply clasping his hands behind his back. His body language is showing he is in control of the environment with no concern for threats and your brain is picking up on these cues.

Reading someone can be easier if you pay attention to their arms and legs. The arms are our shield, whether it is from physical or social attacks. Feet tell us where people want to go, or whether they are engaged in a conversation with you. Although these signs are not bulletproof, they can tell us a lot about a person’s feelings when considered in the right context. Also, keep in mind what your body language is saying to others.

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    • mrfigaro profile image

      Jon Myers 5 years ago


    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good points about body language. Another layer of expression indeed.