Have you ever wondered what another person is feeling? You watch them from across the room and you notice they’re sitting with perfect posture, they’re well dressed, and have great hygiene. The person next to them is fidgety, avoids eye contact, and is reluctant to show emotion. Although you haven’t met these people you can tell a lot about them by the way they act or behave. This concept is known as body language.
Body language serves an important role in communication because it can depict emotions through gestures and facial expressions that are common throughout particular cultures. Body language was first described by Darwin (Mandal, 2014). He noted that specific facial and body expressions coincide with emotions in animals and humans. Humans, however, are more elaborate in their movements. This has shown the evolution from animals to human beings, as we are able to read someone by their actions.
Body language can exemplify behaviors such as confidence or fearfulness (Mandal, 2014). For example, a person that is confident will often look at their reflection or themselves. They might also try to be the center of discussions. They are more inclined to do volunteer work and participate in tasks that provide a challenge. They are also good listeners and have a self-assured smile (Mandal, 2014). Another example can be seen in people that are fearful or show fear. They will have their eyes wide open and look around. They might grab others, freeze, or hide their face. These are only a few examples and there are plenty more. Body language can also be practical for everyday life (Mandal, 2014).
One hands-on use can be used to look for relationships or significant others. Body language can give many clues and hints to what another person might be feeling or thinking. Another person’s body language can express their level of interest. People who show interest will often make eye contact, exaggerate smiles, stare, or wink. They might also thrust out the chest or hips and try to keep them away from others. Body language can also help us know if a person is resentful or not interested. People that are resentful will cross their arms, stiffen the body, avoid eye contact, or have their shoulders hunched. These few gestures can determine whether or not a person is a potential date (Mandal, 2014).
Body language is an important part of how we interact with one another. It is an unspoken language that is known and understood by all. With body language, we are able to decide who to trust, who is happy or sad, who shows confidence and potential, or who is interested or not interested in us. Watching a person’s gestures and facial expressions can tell us about the person often times more than just conversing with them.
Mandal, F. B. (2014). Nonverbal communications in humans. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 24:417-421. doi: 10.1080/10911359.2013.831288