How to Read Body Language: 17 Signs to Watch Out for

Here are some secrets about how to read body language.

In our everyday conversations, we send out a lot of non-verbal cues without even realizing it because we’re not aware of our body language during the conversation.

People hear only what of what you say.

Non-verbal cues account for most part of our communication.

According to UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian, your body language conveys nearly 55% of what you want to say while your tone communicates 38% of your message.

Your words convey the rest – a paltry 7% of your message.

Understanding body language is a powerful tool which will help you succeed in your social as well as professional life.

This poste is an attempt to help you understand the most important body language clues so you can build rapport with your friends and co-workers and get the message even when they don’t say a word.

So, let’s learn how to read body language correctly.

The Shoulder Shrug: Display of Ignorance

The shoulder shrug is a universal signal of telling them you don’t know what is going on. It consists of exposed palms (honesty), hunched shoulders (protect the throat from attack), and raised brow (submissive greeting).

The Open Palms: Display of Honesty

Open palms are an indication of openness, truth, honesty, and submission. When someone show their palms, they mean to say they have nothing to hide and they are completely unarmed. Whether it’s a person taking oath in the courtroom or pleading their innocence, they show their palms more often than not.

Pointed Finger with a Close Hand: Display of Dominance

If someone is pointing their index finger with their palm closed, it could be that they are trying to show their dominance although they may not succeed with that.

No Crinkles around Eyes: Fake Smile

A genuine smile, also known as Duchenne Smile, comes naturally to all of us. However, we can’t create it every time we want. Researchers have found that natural smiles have a lot to do with the crow’s feet around eyes – they crinkle when we smile naturally. This is one of the reasons why we don’t look out best when we fake it.

Raised Eyebrows: Display of Discomfort

Much like the fake smile, it is also easy to catch a fake compliment if you pay attention their eyebrows. As per Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a profession at the University of Massachusetts, people raise their eyebrows to display of fear, surprise or worry. Nobody is being honest with their compliment when they do so with their eyebrows raised.

Lower Vocal Range: They’re into You

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, our vocal range communicates 38% of our message. More often than not, we tend to respond to a person without voice either raised or lowered more than normal. According to Psychology Today, women, when infatuated with someone during a conversation, tends to slip into a sing-songy voice while men drop their voice a bit as well.

Mirroring Body Language: They’re Connected

According to positive psychologist, Barbara Fedrickson, two people can mirror each other’s body language unknowingly when they connect mutually at an emotional level. Their gestures and movements will converge when they get along really well in a conversation.

Prolonged Gaze: Display of Intimacy

A prolonged eye-contact is an indication of intimacy between two partners. The constant mutual gaze is a strong indicator of arousal of sexual interest as well.

Gazing Too Long: Sign of Lying

While elongated eye contact is a sing of positive connection between two partners, sometimes, it may also be sign of dishonesty, especially when the person is staring at you for two long without batting an eyelid.

It is important to learn to read the differences between these body languages.

Expansive Post: Sense of Authority


An expansive posture is a sign of achievement and confidence. When you lean back and relax, it shows that you’re in control.

Crossed Legs: Sign of Resistance


This is often considered as a sign of resistance or lack of openness. Psychologists have remarked that crossed legs signal that the person is less approachable and often display a defensive and withdrawn attitude.

Cluster of Gestures: She’s into You

There is a series of gestures through which you can read the signs of attraction. For example, if she is looking down after an eye contact with you, shying away, or fixing her hair or clothes, it’s more likely that she is interested in you.  .

Laughing Together: Mutual Interest

According to evolutionary psychologists, humor plays a significant role in human development. It’s a wonderful way to connect with people. For example, when you smile at someone, it’s likely that you’re interested in the person.

Clenched Jaw: Sign of Anxiety

A deep furrow in your brows is a strong signal of stress and anxiety. So are a clenched jaw and tightened neck. These are called limbic responses, which express some sort of discomfort or tension depending on the situation we are in.

Erect Stance: Sign of Leadership

The authority of a leader reflects in their body language. They demonstrate some strong signs of confidence such as an erect stance, expansive body posture and steepling hand gesture. And it all look effortless and convincing.

Shaking Legs: Indication of Shaky Inner State

Studies reveal that a shaking leg is an indicator of anxiety or restlessness. So when you shake your leg, (which never goes unnoticed any way) you signal the front person how shaky you are from within.

Crossed Arms: Sign of Defensiveness

It may not indicate defensiveness all the time. People are also likely to cross their arms if it’s cold or if they are sitting on an armless chair.