Have you ever wondered what your gestures, posture, and facial expressions say about you? Do you come across as friendly? Or closed-off?
Well, wonder no more! Today, you’re in for a treat as we unravel the fascinating world of body language.
In this article, I’ll show you ten body language cues that give people a clue about your personality. I’m pretty sure you’ll be much more aware of the way you move once you finish reading.
Let’s dive in!
1) Your smile
Let’s kick off our list with a classic opener: the smile. People who smile genuinely are often seen as warm, approachable, and trustworthy.
It’s not just about showing off those pearly whites, though. For a smile to be perceived as genuine, it has to be accompanied by wrinkling around the eyes and a huge grin.
On the flip side, a forced or fake smile can give off an impression of insincerity or even discomfort. No wonder,
So, the next time you flash those pearly whites, remember to smize! That speaks volumes about your sunny disposition!
2) Your eyes
Aside from bolstering the genuineness of a smile, the eyes also offer a peek (pun intended) into someone’s personality.
We all know the saying, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” But did you ever wonder why?
You see, eyes are highly expressive – they can tell people if you’re sad, happy, angry, bored, and all that. In nonverbal communication, that’s a pretty big deal.
Take eye contact, for instance. You can tell how much a person wants to engage by the degree they meet your eyes.
Basically, consistent eye contact suggests that you’re confident, attentive, and trustworthy.
Meanwhile, if you avoid eye contact or tend to dart your eyes around, you might come across as shy, insecure, or even deceitful.
And it’s not just your eyes; it’s also the way you move your eyebrows, as the next section shows.
3) Your eyebrows
Women love fussing with their eyebrows and making sure they’re on fleek. Of course, it’s always nice to see well-groomed brows. It gives you a polished look, making you look clean and refined.
But you know what? I think that more than the shape of your eyebrows, the way you move them matters more.
I once enrolled in a sign language class, and one of the things I learned is that our eyebrows play an important role – and I mean really important – in conveying an emotion.
Expressive eyebrows can convey a wide range of emotions and give insight into your personality.
For example, raised eyebrows can signal surprise, curiosity, or openness, while furrowed brows might indicate confusion, frustration, or skepticism.
Even when you don’t speak at all, you can say so much with your eyebrows!
4) Your handshake
You know what else gives people an idea of your personality right off the bat? The way you shake hands.
The handshake is a universal gesture of greeting that says a lot about you.
A firm, confident handshake often indicates a strong and assertive character, while a limp or overly aggressive handshake might send the wrong message.
This gesture is so important that hiring managers actually use them as a gauge of a candidate’s hireability. As a Journal of Applied Psychology study showed, people with better handshakes were seen as better prospects.
Simply put, if you tend to offer a warm, hearty handshake, you’re likely to be seen as friendly and confident. Just remember not to crush the other person’s hand, or you might come across as overbearing!
5) Your hands
While we’re on the topic of hands, pay attention to how you position them as well.
With so many possible hand gestures and positions, there’s quite a lot to unpack here. But I’ll lay out the most common ones…
- Open hands indicate openness and honesty – they give off the sense that you’re trustworthy.
- A fist sends a negative message, usually to do with anger, control, or possessiveness.
- Clasped or folded hands may indicate nervousness or self-protectiveness. They could also convey thoughtfulness or contemplation.
- Palms down gestures communicate authority and assertiveness. They’re often seen in those trying to establish dominance.
- Hands in pockets can be two things: 1) you’re casual or relaxed, or 2) you’re insecure or hiding something.
- Hands on your face act as a barrier or a cover, which could show you’re feeling nervous or self-conscious.
These are just a few ways your hands can give people a glimpse into your personality and emotions. And to add to that, the speed at which you move them also gives people an impression of you.
Do you move your hands quickly and decisively? You’re likely to be seen as an anxious person.
Or do you move them slowly and only occasionally? That tells people you’re pretty chill and laid-back.
So you see, there’s so much to think about in this area. But one thing’s for sure – according to neuroscience research, your gestures show connections with your thoughts and actions.
6) Your arms
Now let’s go a bit larger and talk about expansive poses. When it comes to expressing how open you are, your arms really step in and get that job done.
Think about it – when you talk to people who sit or stand with their arms crossed, I’m pretty sure you get the vibe that they’re guarded, anxious, or even defensive.
That’s not surprising; people do it (often unconsciously) to protect themselves or wall up against unwanted contact.
However, they could also serve a positive function.
According to body language expert Jan Hargrave, crossed arms are a self-soothing pose. It can help you concentrate and focus on a difficult task, kind of an “all right, let’s hunker down and do this” pose.
But what if you want to show people you’re at ease?
7) Twitching and fidgeting
We all have those little quirks and nervous habits that seem to take over when we’re feeling uneasy or stressed. Fidgeting, tapping your foot, or playing with your hair…they all indicate that you’re feeling anxious, uncomfortable, or just plain impatient.
I’ve noticed this in myself. When I’m feeling nervous, I tend to do two things: twirl my pen endlessly or crack my fingers.
But once I started delving into the study of body language, I had to find a way to stop that. I didn’t want people to think I was an anxious person, nor did I want to distract them with my visual noise.
So, the next time you catch yourself fidgeting, take a deep breath, and try to relax – you’ll come across as much more composed and confident!
8) Your legs
Here’s another source of visual noise – your legs. Did you know that your legs can be quite the chatterboxes?
Especially if you jiggle them or tap your foot over and over!
But even when your legs are quiet, they can reveal aspects of your personality, too. For instance, when you cross your legs at the knees, you show that you’re feeling open and engaged.
An ankle-to-knee cross, however, can signify a more reserved or defensive attitude.
Pay attention to how you sit and what it might say about your comfort levels and social openness!
9) The way you lean
How you position yourself when engaging with others can also say a lot about your personality.
If you’re someone who leans in when listening to others, that’s great! It shows you’re an attentive, engaged, and empathetic listener.
This body language cue can help you forge stronger connections and leave a lasting impression. So, lean in and let others know you’re truly present and interested in what they have to say!
And if you want to show people you’re in charge?
Lean over your desk or a table! Research suggests that when you do this with your hands spread apart, it shows you’ve got a dominant personality.
10) Your posture
Lastly, let’s talk about our overall look. Our entire posture is an important aspect of body language; it actually gives people a big-picture idea of our personality.
Standing tall with your shoulders back and head held high exudes confidence and self-assuredness. In contrast, slouching or hunching over can make you appear insecure or disinterested.
And you know another cool thing about posture? It can actually trick your brain into feeling confident even when you’re really not!
When you maintain an upright, open posture, it sends signals to your brain that you are in a position of power and control, which can boost your self-confidence.
As social psychologist Amy Cuddy said, “Our nonverbals govern how we think and feel about ourselves. Our bodies change our minds.”
So, when you’re feeling down, power through with a power pose. Chances are, you’ll be feeling much better faster!
These are just a few ways that body language can tell others what kind of a person you are. There’s so much more out there, but I hope these will be enough to get you thinking about the way you move.
As you go about your daily life, take note of these cues and see if you can spot them in yourself and others. Becoming more aware of your body language can help you better understand yourself.
When you know how to decode and use body language wisely, you can make better connections with the people around you. You’ll get your messages across much more clearly, exactly how you want them!
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.