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Body Language: The Most Obvious Form of Communication
Look around the room. How many people have their arms crossed? How many people have their head resting in their hands? How many people are drumming their fingers on a surface? How many people are fiddling with their hair? How many people are biting their nails? Most of these people are completely oblivious to the fact that they are communicating their emotions in a non-verbal way.
Ever wanted to know what’s going on in people’s heads?
Body language is the most obvious form of communication, yet people don’t realize how much of what’s going on inside their head is readable to others on the outside. And let’s be honest, most of society is also oblivious to their surroundings, so we probably aren’t going to notice the body language of others.
Think about it. What would happen if we did?
Most people are able to pick up on the more noticeable signs, like smiling or frowning; but when it comes to the other motions, people don’t pay attention. We spend all of our time in front of screens instead of interacting with the friends and family that surround us. I’m not saying that technology is a bad thing; it is just how our society is. But it is obvious that people are becoming less and less aware of their surroundings. If we actually paid attention to the people around us, maybe we could help to develop a more interactive society.
It seems simple enough, right? Well, most people would argue that reading people is hard, but they aren’t looking at the obvious signals right in front of their face. There are some simple gestures that everyone does throughout the day that can be an obvious indicator of his/her mood.
Being able to read people’s body language and then react to it could make communication a little bit better for everyone. For example, if a teenage girl is slumped over in a chair with her knees to her chest, arms crossed, and headphones in, she probably doesn’t want to talk to you right now and I wouldn’t approach her for at least a solid hour. She is communicating with the world around her that she doesn’t want to communicate. See that person biting their nails down to stubs? They are unknowingly communicating with the world that they are anxious or stressed. It’s not that hard to know how to react. Get up and give the person a hug! If you’re not that close to the person and it would just make the whole situation awkward, then maybe you’d be better off striking up a conversation that will get their mind off of whatever is worrying them. Even though it seems so simple and easy, somehow we still can’t figure out how to properly communicate with people.
The girl fiddling with her hair or clothes all the time? Give her a compliment, she’s self-conscious. The guy standing a long distance away from you when you’re talking? Either you need to take a shower or he isn’t comfortable around you, and you need to come up with something to break the ice. The man sitting with his legs crossed? He is confident and knows what he’s doing, so if you need advice, I would talk to him.
Think you’re keeping up a false facial expression? Well, your body language could give you away. In a recent study done by Princeton University, study participants were shown pictures of people’s faces after they either won a huge tournament, getting their ears pierced, and other activities that you would expect to involve dramatic facial expressions. None of the participants were able to recognize what face matched with what situation; but when the study participants were shown a picture of their body, they were able to identify exactly what situation they were taking part in. This just goes to show that no matter how well someone thinks they are putting on a brave face, you can still tell what is really going on inside their head by their body language, and be able to communicate with them in the most effective way.
As part of a generation that values Facebook over face-to-face communication, it’s easy to see why people are slowly starting to ignore body language of the people they see every single day. Being able to read body language can help us learn how to communicate and have much more pleasant interactions. Maybe communication wouldn’t be so hard if everyone was able to take a step back and look at what is right in front of his/her face.
Blue, Laura. "To Really Read Emotions, Look at Body Language, Not Facial Expressions." Time . N.p., 30 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.