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Body Language & Impressions 101

Updated on July 8, 2012

Biting of nails

Nervousness! | Source

Arms Folded


All about body Language!

Where words fail, Your body can give away everything you're ever feeling or would like to say without words. The body has its own language. Some people are good at reading other people just by looking at their expressions or even by the way their posture is. Its pretty simple, if you can read the signs & know what to look out for. So lets delve deeper into the mysteries and art of Body language!.

Nodding or Head bobbing.

One of the most basic forms of the body language. A person can simply say yes or no by shaking their head. Many people don't realize it. Agreements & disagreeing can simply be done with this action.


Smiling can show that someone is in a positive mood, Friendliness & a good sign of confidence. Usually people that smile frequently can give the impression that their wonderful to be around which usually rubs of on you and others. Also There is smiling that can be fake & give the impression of sarcasm or nervousness, depending on the situation. Another physical fact about smiling is that it takes lesser muscles to smile than it does to frown.

Focusing or Attention Span

You can tell if people are genuinely interested according to their attention span, if their bored, uninterested or unfocused when they lose focus quickly, when they space out and don't listen to what you're saying or away in other world thinking of something else. Whereas you can control this and induce longer attention span in people by keeping things interesting, even in conversations.

Eye Contact.

Rapid shifting of eyes or when people don't look at you in the eyes, are all signs of when somebody is lying or hiding something. It is also associated with shyness and someone with little or no confidence at all. Also associated with nervous smiling.

Folding of arms or legs crossed.

When you see someone with their arms folded is usually someone on the defensive. That means they're closed to communication or in such a defensive posture that they are very likely going to close a conversation or argument & not going to give into further debate or conversation with others. It is also seen as a sign of a barrier formed to keeping others away. Also associated with Focusing & attention span. Regardless of what you are saying, that person is not going to give in or in most cases is done listening to you.

Physical gestures or Touching.

Many people don't realize that its the little things like touching of hands, or when someone puts their arm around you, sends signals. When somebody usually does this, it could be interpreted as many things, where they mean it as a sign of friendship, the other person could take it wrong as in a meaning of something deeper. Usually flirting. or if both people know where they want to it to lead, could engage with just simple things as holding of hands, playing with hair, locking arms etc. It could also show if someone is re-assuring you, or trying to calm you down. Physical gestures are one of the most powerful forms of body language.


A strong hand-shake is a gesture of people with confidence, Someone you can trust. Whereas someone with a weak or a halfhearted hand-shake can signify someone with little or no confidence & who are also in most cases unwilling. There are also some people that give out really tight hand crushing handshakes, a sign of intimidation.

Hands on hips

A sign of defiance, Mostly associated with aggression. Waiting to pounce you with conversational intelligence or smart ass talk. Ready to act in any given situation at hand. You can see this happen a lot in teenagers, which results in a frustrating outcome. A sign of readiness. Bring it on!.

Raising of hands with open palms

This is a sign of people gesturing innocence or sincerity. If you've ever tried to explain to someone that it wasn't you, or say something like "i dint do it", you'll find yourself with open palms trying to reassure the other with this signal. Many people can also make the lie seem believable with this simple hand gesture, if they know how to get away with it, if they understand body language very well.

Swinging legs.

Usually associated with boredom or impatience. When you see someone doing this, they're pretty bored and waiting to do something else, or engage in some sort of activity. On the other hand if you see someone sitting with legs apart, can signify that their calm and relaxed.

Rubbing of hands.

This is a well known body signal. It signifies anticipation. Usually when people are expecting or waiting for something. Just when they are about to open something or get into a a delicate matter. Almost everyone is familiar with this habit.

Tapping of fingers.

This is a sure sign of boredom. Its another way of someone telling you to move on & get on with it. Its associated with impatience & another way of saying 'i don't really care'. It also happens along with Focusing & Attention span. Happens when someone is getting spaced out thinking of something else & is unconsciously tapping their fingers on a desk or armchair.

Pinching or touching the bridge of your nose.

You will come across that people that do this. It is usually a sign of when someone is unsure, Scheming up something or just plain lying. You can see it happening in the office, Or when you catch someone, just after they've done something and is hiding that secret from you. The unbelievable amount of excuses that come after that, also with the touching of their nose, is when you know they're deviating from what is really going on.

Fondling or playing with hair.

When you are around someone that does this, it is a common sign of nervousness. Just look at a person when they're being interviewed. or when they're being questioned by authority figures. Also associated with lack of confidence. Sometimes most rarely, it is found to be when someone is feeling quite flirtatious, when excitement builds up. Happens often with women.

Forward leaning.

This generally happens when someone is interested in your conversation. Someone who leans forward whether you're standing or sitting, is genuinely interested in what you're saying. someone who is not, will obviously lean backwards with arms crossed & folded.

Head Tilting.

This happens when something piques someones interest & they end up tilting their head to the side. Mostly done out of curiosity. But yes generally when someone finds something interesting.

Biting of Nails.

Almost everyone knows this body signal, This is a sign of nervousness or anticipation. When the situation at hand can be unnerving or pretty intense that some people resort to biting their fingernails. You can often find people that are also deep in thought that bite their fingernails. Also associated with Pacing about.

Pacing around.

Another good sign of nervousness or anticipation. Seen in a lot of expectant to-be fathers. Associated with deep thought & sometimes biting of fingernails. When someone has done something wrong & is pacing about scheming up what to do or what to say.

Body Language, Getting the meanings right!

Though there are some clear impressions that ones body can speak, However it is not always interpreted the right way. For example crossing of legs which implies defensiveness could also mean that the person simply wants to go to the toilet. Also if someone crosses their arms implementing a defensive non conversational sign, could also simply mean that their cold.

It takes a long or a short while to figure out someones body language & what people actually mean without them having to say it. Some figure it out unconsciously while others do research and study on behavioral science and psychology etc. Body language is being used everyday!. It is an art powered by the mind, which can be a powerful tool & also your worst enemy!.

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Anxiety or Anticipation?
Anxiety or Anticipation?


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