There are times when people don’t get close to you.
And you have a feeling that it might be because you don’t LOOK like someone they could trust.
It’s a shame because if only they get to know you better, they’d know you’re one of the most reliable people around.
If you want to change that, good news! A bit of tweaking on your body language is all you really need.
Here are 13 body language tricks to make people instantly trust you.
1) Have an open body language
Try to think of the people who you know are approachable, and you’ll find that most of the time they don’t even have to utter a single word to make that impression.
One of the big reasons why they could do this is because they make sure to have an open body language at all times.
As tempting as it might be to cross their arms and slouch—especially in thick crowds like parties and conferences—they instead make sure they’re standing tall with arms held to their sides.
There’s more to having an open body language than just that, of course, but it’s a start.
Having an open body language makes you look approachable, receptive, and reliable. It gives people a positive impression on you and this would make them less hesitant to approach you.
2) Maintain the right amount of eye contact
Knowing how to hold eye contact properly is important if you want to be seen as trustworthy.
If you can’t hold eye contact—whether out of nervousness or simply because you simply don’t know how to—people will think that you’re hiding something or are otherwise untrustworthy.
But on the other hand, if you stare too long or too intently, people will think that you’re creepy and stay away from you.
The tricky thing about this is that there are no hard and fast rules here. Knowing how much eye contact is appropriate differs from situation to situation; this is a skill you can only grow by being more attentive.
3) Nod your head to show you’re listening
Sometimes the small things can mean a lot.
If you’re not used to nodding along to conversation, it might seem silly and too “extra” to start doing it all of a sudden.
But it does mean a lot—it tells people that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. By nodding, you’re basically telling them “please, keep going.”
And people, as a rule of thumb, like it when people make them feel heard.
But don’t just nod at random, of course. The secret is to actually pay close attention to what they’re saying, and to nod whenever they seem to have made a point.
4) Use gestures when explaining something important
Body movements do a lot to make you seem lively and open in conversation, so get your hands moving when you speak.
This makes others have the impression that you’re passionate at what you’re talking about and that you’re actually quite knowledgeable about it.
Someone can be shy and meek, but when they start expressing their passions, it’s inevitable that their hands have a life on their own.
If you do nothing but keep your hands idle, you’ll come off as stiff and unapproachable.
5) Make your handshakes firm
How would you feel if the person you’re shaking hands with simply lets their hand flop about lazily like a limp slab of meat?
What about if they keep their hand still, making it hard for you to actually shake your hands?
You’re likely going to think of the former as an unenthusiastic person, and the latter as someone cold and even hostile.
Physical contact matters a lot.
So learn how to do handshakes right. Be firm, but at the same time don’t be so stiff that it’s like you’re trying to arm-wrestle the other person.
A proper handshake and a warm smile together go a long way to making sure people have a nice first impression of you.
6) Take it slow
Someone who’s relaxed and who’s confident in themselves is more likely to win the trust and affection of others than someone who’s restlessly fumbling about and begging for reassurance.
So resist the temptation to rush. Take a deep breath and try to do things slowly and with care—whether that be drinking tea, eating your meal, or even speaking.
Sooner or later, you’ll end up coming off as calm, in control, and comfortable with yourself. And this will make people trust you easily.
7) Stay put instead of fidgeting
Moving slowly is just half of the equation. It’s just as important to be reserved with your movements.
Move your hands when you speak, but don’t throw them all over the place as if you’re trying to swat flies out of the air.
And of course, stay where you are and avoid moving your fingers needlessly. Don’t pace and fidget—that will make people think you’re not interested in them, making them trust you less.
8) Mind your distance
Stand too close to people and they’ll be uneasy, thinking that you’re trying to intimidate them or are imposing yourself on their personal space.
Stand too far away, however, and people will think that you’re being standoffish and even hostile.
You have to stay within 2-2.5 feet from each other to keep the right distance.
Without uttering a single word, you’re telling them “I trust you so I’ll get close to you, but not so close I’ll make you uncomfortable”.
It means to say that you are sensitive to their comfort level, and this will make them trust you in return.
9) Wear appropriate clothing
When you’re around others, it’s important to be aware what clothing is appropriate for the occasion because how you choose your clothes reflects a lot about you.
If you’re going to a wedding or a funeral, it would be a good idea to wear something formal and avoid anything too casual or gaudy.
If you’re going to the office, it would be ideal to wear office wear—especially if you’re going to talk in front of many people.
By making sure that you’re appropriately dressed, you’re making it clear that you respect the people you’re with… which is important if you want to earn and keep their trust and respect.
10) Be present
If you want to seem unavailable and disinterested, then you should make yourself look busy.
So if you want to be seen as engaging and open, then you should strive to be present and alert.
Moreover, if you’re with other people, it’s generally considered rude to be occupied doing random things—like reading a book, minding a phone, or getting lost in your imagination—while everyone else is busy talking.
So unless there’s something REALLY important that demands your attention, keep your phone shut off, stop daydreaming for a while, and focus on the people around you.
11) Let your body language match their emotions
That is to say, if someone is clearly down and depressed, then refrain from looking disinterested or cheerful.
Likewise, if someone is clearly happy and is enthusiastically sharing their joy, then try to avoid looking pissed or stressed… even if you actually are.
Of course, these things can’t be faked. They have to come from you naturally.
The important thing to remember is just this: be emotionally present. You don’t even have to think about body language if you’re genuinely engaged.
12) Show that you respect their boundaries
Don’t touch people without having gotten permission. But if you already did by accident, apologize if they look uncomfortable.
Aside from physical touch, mind your distance too. Back off if you see people being uncomfortable with you being a bit too close.
It’s important that you pay attention to their body language and respond in kind. By doing this, you’re telling them that you acknowledge and respect their boundaries.
This is important if you want them to trust you—fail this, and people will think you’re suspicious no matter how hard you try to prove yourself.
13) Exit with a warm smile
The way we say goodbye can leave a strong impression on others.
It won’t matter even if you didn’t exactly talk a lot. What’s important is that you made a good impression, especially in parting.
So say goodbye with a warm smile, and tell them—as genuinely as you can—about how much you enjoyed talking with them.
Pay attention to propriety as well, because there are times when a parting hug would make a good impression, and there are times when it’s basically the number 1 faux pas.
If you truly want to have people trust you, the two most important things you must keep in mind are moderation and attention.
Socializing with other people is a complicated dance. There’s so much you need to pay attention to, from the way you hold yourself to the physical responses of the people around you.
So don’t worry if you mess up. Learning how to present yourself in such a way that people will find you sociable and trustworthy is a skill that takes a lot of time and effort to learn.