Your knowledge base of life skills is almost entirely dependent upon your upbringing. If your family members do not know how to read people well, how can they teach you to do so? Further, since reading body language and verbal cues are not taught in primary school, life becomes challenging.
Instead of guessing your way through people’s feelings and opinions, use the following cues to understand your environment better. You will find that you can increase your success at work and home by recognising just a few signs.
#1. Squinted eyes
People do not just squint their eyes to see what is in the distance—when someone does this in conversation; they are shielding themselves from something they do not wish to see. This can be a sign of stress. Former FBI Agent Joe Navarro writes that people may shield their eyes or squint when they wish to hide from what is said.
#2. When toes point upward
Rocking back on the heel shows a person is happy at the moment. This is a great observation while someone you know is on the phone. Also, please pay attention to the direction of their toes. If their feet or toes begin to point away from you, they want to leave the conversation.
#3. Crossed arms
Most people who know basic body language interpret crossed arms as a way the person can put up walls or strengthen boundaries. This is why you do not want to cross your arms during a job interview—it will signal that you are guarded. Watch out when people cover their torsos when asked a question, too. They often hide something when they are hiding this body part of themselves (even if they do so with an object).
#4. Taking up space
People will stretch out their limbs in all directions as a display of rebellion. According to Navarro, this is why teenagers often show this body language when scolded. When people attempt to take up more space, they want to impose dominance and strength.
#5. Leaning toward you
If the person is leaning toward you, then they are engaged in the conversation. It is also likely that the person agrees with what you are saying. If the person leans away, then you know they likely disagree with you, regardless of what their verbal cues say out loud.
#6. Hidden thumbs
Here is an interesting method of gauging true confidence. In men, hiding thumbs (not fingers) in pockets or under the belt is a prominent display of the male genitals. This is not a sign of confidence because it shows that the individual relies upon sexual power or strength to get what he wants (in my personal experience, I have seen this behaviour in predators). Hiding thumbs, in general, can also signify negative emotions. On the other hand, displaying thumbs shows confidence and positivity.
#7. Dilated pupils
You can even read your pets with this trick! Notice how their pupils dilate when you hold a treat. Dilated pupils are a positive sign. Therefore, a sneaky way to determine the fidelity in your partner is to notice whether pupils dilate when you state the name of the person you are worried about. Your partner may not have acted, but the movement of the pupils can certainly tell you whether or not there are underlying positive feelings towards these other people.
#8. Fake smile
A smile is fake if the person’s eyes are completely unaffected—a genuine, relaxed smile forces the corners of the eyes upwards. You can even see a bit of emotion within the eyes during a real smile.
#9. Hard swallows
When a person shows how challenging it is to swallow during a line of questioning, it can show that the person might be lying. The throat may become dry under stress, making it difficult for someone to swallow if they try. You can pay attention to your own body just as easy to tell whether another individual is lying. Does your stomach hurt? Do you have an instantaneous feeling of hurt after their answer? Go with your gut.
#10. Flared nostrils
Finally, deep-sea divers often practice holding their breath for incredibly long periods, and oxygenating the blood (also done in some yoga breathing exercises) helps improve physical performance. This is why hyperventilating before a deep-sea dive is not necessarily a bad thing. Flared nostrils from your partner can reveal possible arousal (or the wish for it)—flared nostrils indicate the anticipation of physical activity.