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Clues to Understanding?

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Body language is far more telling regarding the truth of a speaker.  It’s something that is invisible to the naked eye, but visible on a subconscious level.  When you watch people talk, it will quickly become noticeable whether their words reflect their thoughts.

This became abundantly clear to me when I watched an actor acting.  If you find a married actor professing love and affection for a spouse or partner, often their head shakes side to side, no, when they are supposed to be effusive in their affection for their partner in the movie or play they are involved in.

It’s equally obvious when you watch politicians or speakers on any subject.

Facial expressions, body posture gestures and eye movement, touch and use of space are clues to what is really going on.

For example, when someone is speaking to you and they are angry,  I’ve noticed they tend to display an “approach” tendency.  When you think about anyone you’ve  spoken with who feels weak or submissive, their posture displays “avoidance” tendencies and they move backward.

Combine eyes, eyebrow, lips, nose, and cheek movements and you are often able to discern an individual’s mood.

Body language is a subset of nonverbal communication.  It varies depending on whether a person is sitting or standing.  If a person is sitting, they lean forward and their head nods affirmatively,  implying  they are open, relaxed and generally ready to listen. On the other hand, a person who has their legs and arms crossed with the foot kicking slightly implies that they are feeling impatient and emotionally detached from the discussion.

If standing during a discussion, a person will often stand with their arms  akimbo, feet pointed towards the speaker suggesting they are attentive and interested in the conversation.

Gestures or movements made with body parts (e.g. hands, arms, fingers, head, legs) may be voluntary or involuntary.  Arm gestures can be interpreted in several ways. In a discussion, whether standing or sitting, folded arms are considered a non-welcoming gesture.  It may mean that they have a closed mind and are most likely unwilling to listen to the speaker’s viewpoint. Another type of arm gesture also includes an arm crossed over the other, demonstrating insecurity and a lack of confidence.

Covering one’s mouth suggests suppression of feeling and perhaps uncertainty. This could also mean that they are thinking hard and may be unsure of what to say next.

This topic came to mind while watching a movie and quickly reinforced my previous thought on the matter.  It certainly would be helpful on a first date, or even a second date in order to ascertain whether you and the other individual are on the same “wave length” as it were.

All of the above may indeed be linked.  However, it’s also important to know a culture, for various movements may differ depending on the social norm of any given nationality.

Next time you are involved in an important or serious discussion with a family member, for example, give it a try, see if you can find any “cues” that would suggest either they agree or don’t agree with the topic at hand.

While they may or may not be valuable in ascertaining a person’s true thoughts and beliefs, I find it particularly interesting when we are blogging.  We can’t see a person’s posture or facial responses  our only clues as to how they feel comes from what we read.

Therefore I have to ask, are these clues to understanding another reliable?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve noticed regarding body language in your daily interactions.



Perception is everything. We trust our eyes to tell us the story.

We determine a person’s honesty and how trustworthy they may by what we discern upon looking into their eyes. We watch others reactions in order to perceive their motives and feelings and our eyes give us clues to an individual’s mood.  And truly it happens literally in the blink of an eye.

How often we are touched and sincerely moved, completely undone when peering into the eyes of a loved one we find tenderness reflected there. A moment of panic or doubt consumes us as we share something valuable and close to our hearts with another and we are suddenly calmed, their approval and acceptance untold, wordless, but completely understood.

How wrenching it can be when we peer intently at another and find the depths of pain or sadness reflected there, well hidden, but for their eyes which tell us a deeper unspoken story.

Eyes have specific appeal.  We write romantic sonnets poetry and stories about eyes.

We enjoy the beauty of our surroundings, pictures, or art.  Yet oddly enough we close our eyes when listening as a beautiful poem is read aloud, or picture a loved one while reading something particularly profound in a letter they wrote, or even when listening to music as it conjures up pictures in our mind.  Pictures we created with our eyes and wish now to recall.


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