Can I read Other People’s Body Language?

Our body can express attitude and feelings that were are unaware of, and we often don’t realise that we are sending these signals out on a daily basis


We don’t know how to interpret other people’s signals on a conscious level. When you know what to look out for you will be amazed – and this will help you to communicate more effectively in job interviews, meetings, presentations, and socialising, as well as helping you to spot those unconscious gestures that tell you whether someone is secretly attracted to you.

Body gestures can tell us a lot

Learn to recognise body gestures for a deeper understanding of people:


  1. Posture: A good firm upright posture with eyes looking straight ahead is assciated with confidence and health, whereas – drooping shoulders and head slightly bowed suggest dejection, shyness, illness, and negative traits.
  2. Personal space: You can often judge how a person feels about you from how close they place themselves in relation to you. If a person positions themselves too far away- this could imply that they are being ‘stand-offish’ and weary.
  3. Pointing: The way a person feels can be indicated by how they point their body. I.e. if you are talking with someone and they point themselves towards the door or another person – then they probably want to go. Also – if someone stood next to you turn slightly toward you then they are expressing interest.
  4. Eyes: These are the most expressive part of the face .When people encounter something they like, their pupils dilate and become larger. Whereas when they become negative about something – their pupils contract.
  5. Arms and hands: Folding arms can indicate a protective or defensive gesture. Also, if you are trying to persuade someone to accept your viewpoint;  folding arms can indicate that they are very sceptical. Whereas – someone who keeps their arm unfolded is signalling that they feel confident and unthreatened. Also rubbing their hands together often signals positive expectations.
  6. Legs: Crossed legs convey the impression of negative feelings, such as shyness, disagreement or anger. When the upper ankle of one leg rests on the knee of another leg, the person is signaling a competitive attitude. Also – if the upper leg is clammed in place with the hands, a very firm position is being taken by that person and they are unlikely to change their mind.
  7. Handshake: An over- strong grip suggests that the person may try and dominate you. Whereas a soft, limp handshake may imply that they feel in a weaker position to you, or indicate apathy. A good positive handshake is when someone uses their free hand to touch or rub your arm as this indicates sincerity.

Copying other people’s body language:

One of the best ways of recognising whether someone is for or against you is to see whether they mirror your body language. I.e. when one person crosses their legs, the other will do so too.

TIP: You can copy other people’s body language to win their confidence, minimise  negative signals and maximise positive ones to appear more confident.

Sources: Allan Pease, Body Language, ‘How to Read Others’.

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