8 body language gestures that perceptive people almost always notice

With the focus we place on what we say and how we say it, body language often flies under the radar as a silent but deadly important form of communication.

So if you’re someone who forgets to pay attention to micro expressions that flit over other people’s faces for only a second…

Or someone who tries to communicate solely by body language alone, you might need to do some catching up…

Because trust me – you might not have thought that swift smirk was seen by anyone else, but the perceptive people out there definitely saw it.

So if you want to work on your non-verbal communication, stick around as we uncover the 8 body language gestures that perceptive people almost always notice.

1) Crossed arms

Ah, my favorite….

Safe, warm, protective – wrapping your arms around yourself.

Whilst this is a go-to for many who feel anxious or standoffish, it doesn’t go unnoticed by perceptive individuals.

These hyperaware type folks pick up on this subtle gesture and read it as either a broadcast of internal worry, the fact that they’re not welcome, or that one person is lying or otherwise hiding something.

If you’re the perpetrator of a good arm cross, beware!

This one doesn’t go unnoticed…

And if you’re the one who sees someone crossing their arms and tailors your behavior or responses accordingly, count yourself highly perceptive as you’re noticing the subtlest signs being unconsciously broadcasted.

2) Lack of eye contact

A telltale sign that’s hard to miss for the observant among us is when someone avoids eye contact.

We’ve all been there – in the midst of a discussion with someone and they can’t seem to meet your gaze.

Instead, they’re looking all over. 

At the coffee mug in front of them. 

The people strolling around behind you. 

They’d seemingly rather stare right into the sun than just look you in the eyes.

And this one can mean a plethora of things; from anxiety, to signs of dishonesty, to someone who is bored and has a bunch of other things on their mind.

A tip for those who struggle with eye contact is to look at the space between the other person’s eyebrows.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for someone who can’t quite meet your gaze.

Chances are, they might well be hiding something…

3) Mirroring movements

This one’s great for dates and business meetings, so listen up!

Studies have shown that we are more likely to mirror the actions of people we like or admire.

Remind yourself that flattery is the highest form of praise.

So mimicking someone else crossing their legs or leaning in is an unconscious way of building rapport and showing empathy.

If you fall into the extremely observant category, you can even use this one to your advantage.

You’ll be able to read those copying your body language like a book, or start broadcasting silent messages to your love interest by copying what they’re doing. 

Either way, next time you spot someone mirroring your movements, remind yourself that it’s not just a random occurrence at all.

You’re demonstrating your keen observation skills and artful perception by being conscious of such a subtle non-verbal form of communication.

4) Fidgeting

Are you aware of someone who is constantly tapping their foot, twirling their hair, or fiddling with their fingers during a conversation? 


We have a fidgeter in our midst!

Fidgeting is often seen as an outward expression of internal restlessness or nervousness. It’s a common response when people are uncomfortable or anxious, but it often flies under the radar of those who aren’t all too perceptive, who focus only on spoken words.

As an observant individual, you probably pick up on these little movements quickly. 

You feel a pang of frustration at noticing someone is likely excessively anxious, but feel unable to point it out or try soothe them out of fear of seeming overly up in their business.

Yet, it’s not about being critical or too involved – it’s about noticing the unspoken cues that people unconsciously give off so that we may better connect with them and understand them.

So keep noticing those fidgets and taps – you’re looking at one of the most subtle yet most crucial indications of another person’s state of mind.

5) Lack of personal space

Few things seem more uncomfortable than someone looming into your personal space, standing just a bit too close. 

There’s enough oxygen to go around…

So do we need to share?

Everyones needs their personal space, so when you start to feel like someone is invading this bubble, it can feel intrusive and unsettling. 

As someone who is perceptive, you likely notice this space invasion more than most. 

You wonder why exactly they’re close enough to see each and every pore on your skin.

You know that respecting someone else’s personal space isn’t just about physical distance, but also about respecting boundaries, and understanding social norms.

So if you notice someone standing that little bit too close and start feeling put out by this, you’re likely showing again how heightened your self-awareness is.

6) Genuine smiles

Ever wonder how in some photos taken of you, you grin from ear to ear and look truly, genuinely happy?

But when someone says “pose!” or “say cheese!”, you look dead and lifeless…

Well, a true smile doesn’t stop at the lips. It involves lit up eyes and a total face glow, aptly named the Duchenne smile by psychologists. 

Just as your smile might differ between photos, you’re likely aware of when a smile is and isn’t genuine if you’re a highly perceptive individual.

This shows your fine tuned empathy and your ability to detect when someone is as happy as their smile makes out.

Be very thankful if you can tell the difference between the two. 

Being able to notice a genuine smile is a truly beautiful way to connect with people on a deeper level, and is a clear show of your empathetic nature.

7) Nervous laughter

Just as a disingenuous smile doesn’t quite reach the eyes and doesn’t fly under your radar, nervous laughter also sets off warning bells that many other people miss.

This nervous laughter often slips out when we’re uncomfortable or trying to diffuse a tense situation. It’s a quirky part of human behavior that’s often hard to mask.

And as an observant person, you probably notice this more often than others. 

You can tell the difference between a throaty chuckle and a high pitched and nervous giggle – being able to tell that the latter indicates someone who is uncomfortable or not exactly being honest.

Being able to tell the difference between the two is a skill, as some people just assume that all laughter means instant enjoyment.

If you can suss out the difference, you’ll likely be able to tell who thinks your jokes are funny, and who is laughing merely out of awkward politeness (in which case you shouldn’t consider a career in stand-up comedy…)

8) Handshakes

Finally, the biggest quickfire indicator of someone’s hidden emotions is usually the initial way in which they introduce themselves to you.

Handshakes are a very powerful method of non-verbal communication that can giveaway all sorts of silent emotions.

A firm handshake often signals confidence and self-assurance.

By contrast, a weak, sweaty and limp fish of a handshake likely indicates someone who is nervous and fearful.

So, how do you shake hands?

And what do you notice depending on the hands that shake yours?

Final thoughts 

If you’re reading over this list and nodding away, realizing that these are all little things that you pick up and notice on a daily basis, congratulations – you’re showing how perceptive and aware you are of the world around. 

And give yourself a pat on the back for that.

It’s not always easy being the observant one in a world that often overlooks the little details.

Owing to your ability to pick up on these subconscious cues, you might find yourself being labeled as nosy or intrusive, or up in other people’s business.

Obviously, you should avoid gossip or otherwise invading other people’s private lives.

Equally, if you are one of those perceptive souls who notices the subtle non-verbal cues that many others miss, don’t be disheartened. 

This attention to detail is a skill that many lack, that lets you in on the secrets only the body conveys.

So keep on noticing, keep interpreting, and most importantly, keep being the beautifully observant person that you are. 

Your immense depth and understanding stand out and shine in a world that often only skims the surface.

9 unusual behaviors that indicate a low level of social intelligence

They said a nine-to-five job was security. I quit mine to travel the world, and here’s how it redefined my sense of freedom.