Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

“Tells” it like it is.

It’s not what you say… it’s how you stand when you’re saying it.  At least, experts in body language think so.  Body language is a form of non-verbal communication consisting of posture, gestures, facial expressions and eye movements.  Pretty much all body language is something humans do subconsciously, not usually aware of the wordless cues they are sending.


Poker playin’ people love body language, because the mindless gestures are “tells” or behavioral patterns that can give away vital information such as deception or nervousness in the heat of a game.  The more you can read the “tells” of your fellow players and keep your own behaviors to a minimum, the better your chances of winning.  So they tell me.


In my heart, I really want to believe in the ability to read the non-verbal cues of body language.  I’m a big fan of the TV show Lie to Me (starring crusty, huggable Tim Roth) and what a world it would be if only we could train people to read human behavior as well as a book.  Especially the despicable ones, before they do something dastardly.  Instead of telling kids about the Boogie Men/Women who are potential threats (who contrary to popular belief don’t usually wear trench coats or look textbook scary) – we could train them to detect facial cues and body language to avert bad situations early on.  My autistic son has been reading board books and using facial flash cards for years to learn the idiosyncrasies of normal social cues, how I wish there were ways to show him signs of deceit and malintent.


Recently, someone pointed out that a professional photograph of me, where I sit with crossed legs and arms, is a terrible photo suggesting that I am a “closed person.”  This critique comes from someone who believes this to be true about my character anyway, despite having been in my orbit for almost half-a-century.


Sigh.  Darn psychology, always getting up in my face about something.


For the most part, I’ve actually been called a pretty open book, a woman who wears her heart on her sleeve, who will cross over into TMI land with little provocation (I apologize – I’ve really tried to slap a filter on that).  Intrigued by my apparent lack of self-awareness and curious about the subject of body language, I decided to do some research.  Before we get started, I want point out that in this “closed person” picture I am also staring intently at the camera and my neck is tilted.  So, this was the subject matter I began my body language search with.  Without further ado, allow me to share what could turn out to be too much information:


Crossed Arms

When a person crosses their arms it can indicate a number of things:

1)   An unconscious barrier is being put up between the person and others.

2)   Cold arms.  May be accompanied by rubbing the arms or a huddling position.

3)   Opposition, during a confrontational situation.  Includes leaning away.  If accompanied by a harsh or blank facial expression it indicates hostility.

4)   Deep thinking.


Consistent Eye Contact

When you are speaking to someone and they maintain uninterrupted eye contact it can indicate the following:

1)   Positivity.  Your words are being received positively.

2)   Negativity.  You’re not trustworthy enough for the person to take their eyes off of you.  They may be in disbelief (which is also indicated by looking away).

3)   A pre-existing anxiety disorder prevents the person from looking away.


As you can see, there are major inconsistencies about consistent eye contact.


Tilted Neck

1)   Boredom.

2)   Sore neck.


There’s a lot of scientific study devoted to this stuff.  None of the above is made up.  At least, not by me. 


The bottom line to my brief investigation into body language is this – as for me and my horse?  We’re deep thinkers with a glass half-filled mentality (full or empty, depends on the day) and a bum neck.  If you ever want to chat about it, drop me an email – that door  is always open.  Even if my arms aren’t.

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