Understanding Body Language

It may not be obvious but everyone, including you, uses body language to communicate feelings or emotions. People often subconsciously display movements, facial expressions, and gestures during conversation that can signal to others what they are truly thinking. In many cases, having a decent understanding of body language can come in handy. After all, knowledge is key!

Taking time to research and learn about different physical behaviors to look out for, can improve a person’s awareness and thoughtfulness when interacting with others.

“I think it’s really important, when talking to someone, to be able to tell how they feel about you,” says JWN sophomore Bianca Norton.

Sometimes a so-called friend is not as interested in the relationship as we may think. Being familiar with physical signs of disinterest is important to avoid wasting precious time and energy on a friendship with someone who is not as invested as you are.

The direction in which a person’s feet are pointed, may not seem very significant, however the feet and sometimes the entire body will naturally face where their attention is directed. Some signs of being engaged in conversation include making a good amount of eye contact, facing the speaker, and leaning in even the slightest bit.

It is especially fun having the ability to identify body language signals when it comes to romantic relationships! Awareness can bring confidence that will replace excessive overthinking. 

Norton shares an example of body language she has witnessed. “I’ve noticed that some people mirror the actions and language of those they are comfortable with or are trying to become more comfortable with. They act or speak similarly to a person, sometimes subconsciously, as a way to gain their acceptance.”

The concept of reading body language is relatively simple but it is important to pay very close attention because some signs go easily unnoticed. For example, if after entering a room a certain someone’s eyebrows raise at the sight of you, even just for a quick moment, that is a sign of interest that is generally positive.

A more commonly known indication of interest is eye contact. The desire to look at or admire a specific person is inevitable when romantic feelings are involved. Although many tend to stare or glance at the ones they are attracted to, others might avoid eye contact with those they feel strongly about. 

Of course, personality plays a significant role in identifying the meanings behind physical behaviors so remember that there is never only one answer and personal interpretation should always be considered.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, many people were left with damaged social skills due to living with very little social interaction for so long. Become more confident in your communication skills and more aware of how others are feeling. Simply dedicating a small amount of time to learn about body language can benefit you and the people you interact with tremendously.