The arms and legs can also be useful in conveying nonverbal information. Crossing the arms can indicate defensiveness. Crossing legs away from another person may indicate dislike or discomfort with that individual. Other subtle signals such as expanding the arms widely may be an attempt to seem larger or more commanding, while keeping the arms close to the body may be an effort to minimize oneself or withdraw from attention.
When you are evaluating body language, pay attention to some of the following signals that the arms and legs may convey:
- Crossed arms might indicate that a person is feel defensive, self-protective, or closed-off.
- Standing with hands placed on the hips can be an indication that a person is ready and in control, or it can also possibly be a sign of aggressiveness.
- Clasping the hands behind the back might indicate that a person is feeling bored, anxious, or even angry.
- Rapidly tapping fingers or fidgeting can be a sign that a person is bored, impatient, or frustrated.
- Crossed legs can indicate that a person is feeling closed off or in need of privacy.