With the focus we place on what we say and how we say it, body language often goes under the radar as a silent but vitally important form of communication.
So if you’re someone who forgets to pay attention to micro-expressions that flash across other people’s faces for just a second…
Or someone who tries to communicate exclusively through body language, maybe you need to catch up…
Because trust me, you might not have thought that quick grin was seen by anyone else, but the observant people out there definitely saw it.
So if you want to work on your nonverbal communication, stick around as we uncover the 8 body language gestures that observant people almost always notice.
1) Crossed arms
Ah, my favorite….
Safe, warm, protective – wrap your arms around yourself.
While this is recommended for many who feel anxious or distant, it does not go unnoticed by observant individuals.
These hyper-aware people pick up on this subtle gesture and read it as an expression of internal concerns, that they are not welcome, or that a person is lying or otherwise hiding something.
If you are the perpetrator of a good arm cross, beware!
This one doesn’t go unnoticed…
And if you are the one who sees someone crossing their arms and adjusts your behavior or responses accordingly, consider yourself very observant, as you notice that the subtlest signals are sent unconsciously.
2) Lack of eye contact
A telltale sign that is hard to miss for the observant among us is when someone avoids eye contact.
We’ve all been there – in the middle of a conversation with someone and they can’t seem to meet your gaze.
Instead, they search everywhere.
At the coffee mug in front of them.
The people walking around behind you.
They apparently prefer to stare straight into the sun rather than just look you in the eye.
And this can mean a plethora of things; from fear, to signs of dishonesty, to someone who is bored and has a lot of other things on his mind.
A tip for those who have difficulty with eye contact is to look at the space between the other person’s eyebrows.
Otherwise, keep an eye out for someone who can’t quite meet your gaze.
Chances are they might be hiding something…
3) Mirroring movements
This one is great for dates and business meetings, so listen up!
Research has shown that we suffer from this more often reflects the actions of people we love or admire it.
Remind yourself that flattery is the highest form of praise.
So mimicking someone else crossing their legs or leaning forward is a subconscious way to build rapport and show empathy.
If you fall into the extremely observant category, you can even use this to your advantage.
You can read those who copy your body language like a book, or send silent messages to your love interest by copying what they do.
Either way, the next time you see someone mirroring your movements, remind yourself that this isn’t just a random occurrence at all.
You will demonstrate your keen observational skills and artistic perception by being aware of such a subtle non-verbal form of communication.
Do you know someone who constantly taps their foot, twirls their hair, or plays with their fingers during a conversation?
We have a fidgeter in our midst!
Fidgeting is often seen as an outward expression of internal restlessness or nervousness. It’s a common reaction when people feel uncomfortable or anxious, but it often goes under the radar of those who aren’t too observant and focus only on spoken words.
As an observing individual, you are likely to pick up on these small movements quickly.
You feel a pang of frustration when you notice that someone is likely to be overly anxious, but you feel unable to point it out or try to calm them down for fear of giving the impression that they are overly concerned about its business.
Yet the point is not to be critical or overly involved; it’s about noticing the unspoken signals people unconsciously give off so we can better connect with and understand them.
So keep noticing those fidgets and taps – you’re looking at one of the subtlest and yet most crucial indications of someone else’s state of mind.
5) Lack of personal space
Few things seem more awkward than someone looming in your personal space and standing just a little too close.
There’s enough oxygen to get by…
Should we share then?
Everyone needs their personal space, so if you get the feeling that someone is invading that bubble, it can feel intrusive and unsettling.
As an observant person, you probably notice this space invasion more than most.
You wonder why exactly they are so close that you can see every pore of your skin.
You know that respecting someone else’s personal space is not just about physical distance, but also about respecting boundaries and understanding social norms.
So if you notice that someone is standing a little too close and you start to feel left out, you’re probably demonstrating yet again how heightened your self-awareness is.
6) Genuine smiles
Have you ever wondered how some photos of you grin from ear to ear and look really, genuinely happy?
But when someone says, “pose!” or “say cheese!”, you look dead and lifeless…
Well, a real smile doesn’t stop at the lips. It involves illuminated eyes and a total facial glow, aptly called the Duchenne smile by psychologists.
Just as your smile can vary from photo to photo, if you’re a very observant person, you’re likely to know when a smile is and isn’t genuine.
This shows your refined empathy and your ability to detect when someone is as happy as their smile suggests.
Be very grateful if you can tell the difference between the two.
Being able to notice a genuine smile is a truly wonderful way to connect with people on a deeper level, and it’s a clear demonstration of your empathetic nature.
7) Laughing nervously
Just as an insincere smile doesn’t quite reach the eyes and doesn’t fly under your radar, nervous laughter also rings warning bells that many other people miss.
This nervous laughter often comes out when we feel uncomfortable or are trying to diffuse a tense situation. It is a idiosyncratic part of human behavior that is often difficult to mask.
And as an observant person, you probably notice this more often than others.
You can tell the difference between a throaty chuckle and a high-pitched nervous giggle – if you can tell that the latter indicates someone who is uncomfortable or not being particularly honest.
Being able to tell the difference between the two is a skill, because some people just assume that all laughter means instant enjoyment.
If you can figure out the difference, you can probably tell who finds your jokes funny, and who is just laughing out of awkward politeness (in which case you shouldn’t consider a career in stand-up comedy…)
Finally, the biggest indicator of someone’s hidden emotions is usually the first way he or she introduces himself to you.
Handshakes are a very powerful method of nonverbal communication that can give away all kinds of silent emotions.
A firm handshake often indicates trust and self-assurance.
In contrast, a weak, sweaty, and limp fish of a handshake likely indicates someone who is nervous and anxious.
So, how do you shake your hands?
And what do you notice, depending on the hands that shake yours?
If you read through this list and nod away, realizing that these are all little things that you notice and notice every day, congratulations – you are showing how perceptive and aware you are of the world around you.
And give yourself a pat on the back for that.
It’s not always easy to be observant in a world where the small details are often overlooked.
Because of your ability to pick up on these subconscious cues, you may find yourself labeled as nosy, pushy, or meddling in other people’s affairs.
Obviously, you should avoid gossip or other intrusions into the private lives of others.
And if you’re one of those observant souls who notices the subtle nonverbal cues that many others miss, don’t be discouraged.
This attention to detail is a skill that many lack, allowing you to discover the secrets that only the body holds.
So keep noticing, keep interpreting, and most importantly, keep being the beautifully observant person that you are.
Your enormous depth and understanding stand out and shine in a world that often only skims the surface.
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