“The language of the body is the key that can unlock the soul.”
It is an essential skill to have the ability to read and understand another person’s body language. Listening only to the words the other person is saying is not always enough. Although, if you listen very well you will pick up many cues and clues to what the person is really communicating or trying to hide from view. His or her body language can frequently tell you if a person is being honest with you in what she is saying and what she really feels deep inside.
Body language is the sum of the gestures and movements involving the body, from head to foot. Each signal of body language may have different meanings, depending on the situation in which it was delivered.
You can easily signal yes or no by the movement of the head. Nodding usually means “yes” or “I agree”. But in other countries such as Yugoslavia and Turkey, may mean “no”. Tilting the head backwards or to the side indicates that the person is thinking deeply or considering a though or idea.
Face (Eyes, Nose, Lips)
Facial expressions are obvious visible signs of how someone truly feels. But keep in mind that there are some people who have practiced ways to take full control of their facial expressions by making them somewhat expressionless or passive. Sometimes these people can communicate quite the opposite of what’s going on inside their heads.
Even with an inexpressive face, true meanins are often still expressed through the eyes. The eyes can speak volumes in any given circumstance. Eye contact is a strong indication of focus of attention, interest, attraction, and honesty. You can often spot somebody lying to you if he or she cannot hold an eye contact for a period of time. When the eyes look away, this may signify lack of interest, dishonesty, or boredom. But there may be times when looking away signifies attraction or simply a slight distraction. This may be the case as long as the person lokks back to the person to whom they are talking.
Touching or rubbing the nose is one of the most common self-touching gestures, which is usually done by people who are lying or trying to hide something. Blowing of the nose is a gesture seen as rude by most countries, but it is considered as healthy in some countries in Asia.
Licking or biting the lips is one of the typical signals of flirting done by women. Kissing is a gesture to show one’s affection, and also used as a form of greeting. But there are conservative countries, particularly in Asia, which do not allow public display of affection such as kissing. And in some cultures like in the Philippines and Puerto Rico, the lips are used for pointing instead of the finger.
Arms and Hands
There are plenty different hand gestures, and each of them has different meanings. The most common hand gestures are hands-in-the-pocket, arms crossed over the chest, hands on the waist, and handshakes. The first one may indicate nervousness or lack of interest. Crossing the arms is usually interpreted as a defensive posture, but it may also mean doubt, suspicion or boredom with what the other person is saying. The hands on the waist may indicate anger or fury, but men also do this to show their masculinity. A handshake, meanwhile, is a form of greeting in most countries.
Legs and Feet
Crossing the legs is commonly done by most people, especially women. Most of the time, it is done merely to get into a more comfortable position. However, there are countries that regard this action as rude.
The ability to read someone’s body gestures sometimes is not reliable. The gestures performed by a person that are often regarded as rude by one person may simply be a habit without any intention of coming across as rude. So, be careful in your assessment of the body language intepretation of others. And more importantly, be aware of your own. Be sure that your own body language is not sending out signals that you do not intend.