Natasha Biagio takes a look at body language: how to decode it, and when not to read too much into it.....
Body language has become a significant tool used in our communication with one another, and if used properly can aid us in all aspects of our lives, be it on a date, in an interview, or when quizzing your boyfriend on where he was last night.
But body language can also be grossly misconstrued, so it should really only be used as a “clue” rather than a fact (unless you’re that hunky Mentalist bloke!).
For example: I had just gone into the kitchen at work and heated my lunch. I was alone in the kitchen and found myself standing with my arms folded. This would usually be perceived as me being defensive.
However I assure you I was in no way feeling threatened (although microwaves do freak me out a little), rather, I was feeling bored while waiting and to be quite honest, standing with your back straight and arms down just screams “zombie” to me, and from experience, standing in a ninja-roundhouse-kick stance just gets you funny stares from people. I wasn’t defensive; I did what my body felt comfortable with.
Similarly, when I get stressed or angry, I tend to stroke my ears. Comforting move you might think? Maybe I’m just trying to hold onto my ears to keep my hands busy instead of slapping you silly about the face!
Here are some body language indicators to give you a little insight into what others are trying to communicate:
Looking right – This is usually construed as either creating, fabricating or guessing. Or for the layman, being a fat liar! Again, use with caution, do not heatedly accuse your husband of lying to your child while telling a bed time story. He could be “creating” a new spin on Snow White, and these kinds of accusations will only land you in the dog box!
Looking left - This indicates recalling, remembering or retrieving facts. So if he looks up to the left when telling you the lipstick on his collar is from a little old lady who’s puppy he rescued out of a tree, chances are good he is telling the truth (or he has read this article!)
Answering a question - Apparently people who are lying will usually answer your question using your wording. For example: “Did you put that dent in my new BMW?” The response: “No I did not put that dent in your new BMW” Instead of “No I did not!” can be construed as a lie.
Pair it with looking to the right. But again use with care unless you’re an expert (or saw the offender sneaking back into the house sheepishly with your car keys).
Direct eye contact – This indicates honesty or faked honesty. So remember in your job interviews always look your interviewer in the eye when answering questions. Or remember eyes front, when telling a little white lie like “No I didn’t eat the last Rolo”.
Fast head nodding – If you are telling a story and get the fast head nod from someone, they are indicating to you to hurry up or that they feel like you have made your point. Move on.
Crossed arms – Indicates defensiveness or reluctance, but can also be seen as just plain tiredness. Be careful not to misread this one.
Crossed arms with clenched fists – This exudes hostility, aggression and defensiveness. Chances are good they didn’t believe you when you told them you didn’t take the last Rolo (I told you – eyes front!) evacuate the room chop chop!
If all else fails, just smile and wink seductively. We’re women after all and have to use all tools necessary to beguile the masses.