Let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to read someone’s mind at some point in our lives– whether you wanted to analyze an awkward first date or figure out if your roommate was lying to you about eating your leftovers. Since falling into a vat of radioactive goo to gain mind-reading super powers isn’t a realistic option, learning to read someone’s body language is the next best thing. Chances are, you’re pretty good at reading body language already. You’ve been doing it subconsciously your whole life. But if reading people doesn’t come naturally to you or you just want to hone in on your skills, here are the basics.
Facial expressions aren’t always what they seem (think back to when your aunt bought you that horrible sweater for your birthday but you smiled through the pain). When someone is genuinely smiling, their eyes are just as involved as their mouth: the eyelids and eyebrows turn upwards, along with the corners of their mouth. When we fake a smile, our eyes remain expressionless. Keep a look out for a subtle squint, even if it’s fleeting, as it could indicate that someone is doubting what you’re saying. It could imply either curiosity or suspicion. A smirk is typically a tell-tale sign that a manipulator has gotten their way with you, or that someone thinks they’re above you. Another thing to look out for is pursed lips. They’re a dead giveaway that someone is uncomfortable or suppressing anger. Also, if someone answers a question with a no but is nodding their head, or vice versa, ignore what they’re saying and go with their head movements: it most likely shows how they really feel.
This seems like a given, but if someone is crossing their arms, it can mean they’re defensive or uncomfortable. Standing straight can mean someone is confident and powerful.
“When I recruited for my sorority sophomore year, our recruitment chair really stressed the importance of excellent posture when making a first impression– we had a whole workshop about it,” senior Mary Selep said.
If someone is shifting their weight from foot to foot, it can mean they’re impatient, excited, scared or even intimidated. Most of the time we focus on keeping our faces and upper body under control, leaving our feet to reveal more than we think they do. If you’re in a conversation with someone and their feet are pointing in a different direction than you’re standing, it might mean they aren’t interested in talking to you. On the bright side, that also means someone whose feet are pointed to you is most likely very interested in you.
The whole “the eyes are the window to the soul” theory may ring true. If someone avoids eye contact, it can say as much as if they were making strong eye contact. This evasion can mean they’re ashamed, embarrassed or dishonest. Persistent eye contact can be an attempt to intimidate, lie or assert dominance. When someone’s pupils get noticeably larger when you’re talking to them, it can mean that they are interested in talking with or even attracted to you! Here’s the coolest part: we can’t control what our pupils have to say, so there’s no hiding how you really feel. So liars, beware.
Ever said one thing when you really meant to say something else? The phenomenon has been dubbed a Freudian slip and refers to when your unconscious takes control of your vocal chords. Presidents, princes and popes have all done it, and the people around you most likely do too. If your boyfriend or girlfriend accidentally says their ex’s name instead of yours, it could be a sign that they’re still on their mind. Such gaffes might be deemed innocent enough, but they typically denote a secret desire or thought.
words. emmi velez. photo. valentina escotet .