Published: 10/04/2013 - Updated: 12/11/2016
Our gestures say a lot, sometimes you do not need to say a word for others to interpret how we feel, since our body speaks for itself. Knowing what gestures mean may be important not only to know but to learn to decipher the silent messages of those around us.
What is nonverbal communication?
It is an unconscious process by which information is transmitted by the following mechanisms:
- Body movements
- Facial Gestures
- The body space
- Other things that speak to us, such as our environment, mimicking, family photos, trophies, etc.
- Our clothing (accessories, hair, makeup, etc.)
Interpretation of some gestures
Looking at nails: This is a sign of disconnection with the environment, therefore, the person who is looking at their nails is very likely to be thinking about something else.
Stroking head: Passing the hand over the forehead to the nape is usually associated with anxiety.
Palm on the cheek or the side of the face: It can be interpreted as an unexpected disappointment.
Scratching the neck behind the ear: means doubt or disbelief.
The thumb inside a closed fist: It can be interpreted as discomfort.
Running fingers through the corner of the mouth: Indicates disapproval, or negative evaluation and rejection.
Touching or rubbing the nose: It is a sign of disagreement.
Touching earlobe: attraction and implied interest, this is because that area of the body receives more blood flow when there is a stimulus to awaken some excitement, often associated with approval too.
The index finger touching the lower lip: Indicates the presence of positive encouragement and interest in the individual.
When gestures and words are contradictory
Day to day during conversation, we communicate and express ourselves through words, however, sometimes our body language effectively negates the words coming out of our mouths due to the fact that they are completely contradictory.
However, our gestures and body language can also change their meaning depending on the context, so when interpreting a person we must consider the following:
What the person expressed verbally, setting, classroom, office, path, etc.
The emotional and physical state, if a person has a cold or is suffering from a headache, it is understandable that his behavior may be slightly unusual.
The presence of others, especially those who are unknown to the individual.
About our insecurity
Our body also displays evident gestures when we feel insecure, pinching or pulling the arm hairs, eyebrows or neck, biting the lips, the corners or inner cheeks of the mouth, pulling hair, drawing while speaking on the phone: All of these are signs of probable insecurity.
- They are usually acts that are developed during growth, especially in childhood - if we had to adapt to a situation that generated fear or anxiety for an extended period of time, this is often replicated in adulthood.
- Biting your thumb or thumbnail for example, occurs when we seek security against a hostile situation.
- It is important to be alert to these behaviors or acts that are often made unconsciously, as they can reveal quite a lot about us.
When we sit with another person, our position may reveal a lot about us. For example sitting at the head of the table not only shows leadership or status, but it is also an indication of a dominant personality and the affirmation of one's ideas.
When a person sits next to another, this demonstrates collaboration, friendliness and confidence.
Sitting in front of another person shows opposing views and this usually occurs during negotiations, but are based on opposing views.
Another friendly position is when one person is facing the other, but not diagonally, this implies cooperation and security.
Learning to decipher what our body transmits can be complicated and requires a lot of observation, however knowing the language of the body also promotes self-awareness and control.