Thursday, April 2, 2009

Body Language - The Hands and Arms

What Hands Say About People

There are 2 basic rules you have to remember when looking at hand gestures: Open palms (when you can see the palms of someone’s hands) suggests openness, honesty, and a liking, whilst closed palms(when you can see the back of someone’s hands) suggests that they may be hiding something, are closed to your ideas, or are feeling like they are in authority.

Classic examples of this are seen in every day life. When people are apologizing, they may say something like “I’m sorry” coupled with presenting their two open palms. The open palmed gesture is like saying “I feel comfortable around you, I like you, I am being honest, and I have nothing to hide.” If you see someone making open palmed gestures at you, take this to heart and read their other gestures to confirm how they are feeling.

Closed palm gestures are used frequently too. For example when a child is lying or concealing something they will hide their hands behind their backs, and when someone doesn’t feel like talking they will put their hands in their pockets – symbolizing that they are ‘closed’ and don’t want to talk.

Again it is important to bear in mind that hands in pockets may also simply mean that the person is cold, or something else. Remember to read all gestures in groups and context.

Arm Signals

In body language, the arms are known as barriers that are put up to protect a person from harm. Arms gestures are typically used when a person is lacking in self confidence, feels threatened, or just doesn’t want to hear what you are currently saying.

Arm gestures aren’t a definitive “I don’t like you”, however they do indicate when a person is having negative feelings towards you.

When someone is using repetitive negative arm gestures, coupled with crossed legs or ankles, you’ll know its time to change the conversation.

Crossed Arms over Chest

Both arms are folded across the chest – this is a universal signal used everywhere. Its meaning is clear, “I don’t agree with what you are saying, I am uncertain, I don’t like this situation”.

Self Hug

The self hug is characterized by one arm at a person’s side, and the other arm clutching at their elbow. As children, our parents or carers hugged us when we were feeling sad, uncertain, or tense. The self hug is an attempt to recreate the feeling of security we got from those hugs. A person using this gesture is likely feeling insecure.

Elbow Touching

Everyone likes to be touched. Interestingly, studies shows that people who touch others elbow are more liked than those who do no touching. I say elbows in italics because it is just that, elbows only.

The reason elbow touching is acceptable is because it is far away from the intimate parts of the body; touch a stranger anywhere above or below the elbow and their reaction may be a little different.

It is a fact that girls do more touching than guys, but equally: if a girl or guy touches your elbow it is a sure fire sign that they like you, and that they want your attention.

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Joanne, thank you for making this available

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