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Body Language : What Hands and Arms Say About People

22 March 2010 No Comment

Reading palms is not just about the lines on your hand. After the face, hands probably the best source of body language.

There are a few basic rules you have to remember when looking at hand gestures:

–  Open palms (when you can see the palms of someones hands) suggests openness, honesty, and a liking, whilst closed palms(when you can see the back of someone’s hands) suggests that they may be hiding something, are closed to your ideas, or are feeling like they are in authority.

Closed palm gestures are used frequently too. For example when a child is lying or concealing something they will hide their hands behind their backs, and when someone doesn’t feel like talking they will put their hands in their pockets – symbolizing that they are ‘closed’ and don’t want to talk.

Hiding the hands. Hands are often used in communication and hiding the hands may indicate a desire not to communicate or not to collaborate, saying ‘I don’t want to talk with you’ or ‘I do not agree with you’. This may be done in a deliberate gesture of defiance, such as stuffing hands in pockets. Liars may hide their hands in fear that they will give themselves away. Hiding hands may also be a position of listening, sending the message ‘I do not want to talk because I want to listen to you.’

– Crossed Arms over Chest. Both arms are folded across the chest – this is a universal signal used everywhere. Its meaning is clear, “I don’t agree with what you are saying, I am uncertain, I don’t like this situation”.

– Self Hug. The self hug is characterized by one arm at a person’s side, and the other arm clutching at their elbow. As children, our parents or carers hugged us when we were feeling sad, uncertain, or tense. The self hug is an attempt to recreate the feeling of security we got from those hugs. A person using this gesture is likely feeling insecure.

– Elbow Touching. Everyone likes to be touched. Interestingly, studies shows that people who touch others elbow are more liked than those who do no touching. I say elbows in italics because it is just that, elbows only. The reason elbow touching is acceptable is because it is far away from the intimate parts of the body; touch a stranger anywhere above or below the elbow and their reaction may be a little different.

It is a fact that girls do more touching than guys, but equally: if a girl or guy touches your elbow it is a sure fire sign that they like you, and that they want your attention.