15 Easy Ways To Read Someone’s Body Language

15 Easy Ways To Read Someone’s Body Language Shutterstock

Body language can speak volumes, often saying more than words ever could.

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It’s like a secret code that, once cracked, can give you incredible insights into what someone’s really thinking or feeling. Whether you’re trying to gauge a date’s interest, figure out if your boss is pleased with your work, or just want to be a better communicator, these tips can help you become a pro at reading the unspoken signals we all give off.

1. Watch their eyes.

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Eyes aren’t just the windows to the soul; they’re like a bloody neon sign advertising what’s going on in someone’s head. If they’re maintaining eye contact, they’re probably interested in what you’re saying. But if their eyes are darting around like a ping pong ball, they might be uncomfortable or looking for an escape route. And here’s a cheeky tip: if their pupils are dilated, it could mean they’re attracted to you. Just don’t go staring like a creep, yeah?

2. Pay attention to their smile.

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A smile isn’t just a smile, bud. There’s a world of difference between a genuine grin and a forced one. A real smile reaches the eyes, creating those little crinkles at the corners. We call that a Duchenne smile, New Scientist explains. If it’s just their mouth moving without the eyes joining the party, they might be faking it. It’s like when your aunt gives you an itchy jumper for Christmas — your mouth says “thanks,” but your eyes are screaming “help!”

3. Notice their posture.

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How someone’s standing or sitting can tell you a lot about how they’re feeling. If they’re leaning towards you, they’re probably engaged and interested. But if they’re leaning back with their arms crossed, they might as well be holding up a sign saying “Not interested, pal.” And if they’re mimicking your posture? That’s a good sign — it often means they’re feeling connected to you. It’s like a subconscious game of Simon Says.

4. Check out their hands.

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Hands are like little truth detectors. If someone’s talking, but their hands are hidden — maybe in their pockets or under the table — they might be hiding something. Open palms usually signal honesty and openness. But if they’re fiddling with something, playing with their hair, or touching their face a lot, they might be nervous or uncomfortable. It’s like their hands are trying to create a distraction from what’s really going on.

5. Look at their feet.

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Believe it or not, feet can be dead giveaways. People don’t usually think about controlling their feet, so they often point in the direction the person wants to go. If someone’s feet are pointed towards you, they’re probably engaged in the conversation. But if they’re pointed towards the door, they might be itching to leave. It’s like their feet are saying what their mouth won’t.

6. Observe their proximity.

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How close someone stands to you can speak volumes. If they’re inching closer, invading your personal bubble, they’re probably interested or comfortable with you. But if they keep backing away like you’ve got the plague, they might be feeling uncomfortable. Of course, cultural differences play a part here too — what’s normal in Italy might be downright rude in Japan. So context is key, innit?

7. Watch for mirroring.

Multiracial man and woman sitting on the bench and talking

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This is a fascinating one. When people are in sync, they often unconsciously mirror each other’s body language. If you notice the person you’re talking to is mimicking your gestures, posture, or even speaking pace, it’s usually a good sign. They’re subconsciously trying to build rapport with you. It’s like a little dance where neither person realizes they’re dancing.

8. Notice their blink rate.

two women having a conversation

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This might sound barmy, but the speed at which someone blinks can tell you a lot. A normal blink rate is about 15 to 20 blinks per minute, according to Healthline. If someone’s blinking much faster, they might be stressed or uncomfortable. Slower blinking often signals that they’re relaxed and at ease. It’s like their eyelids are little mood indicators. Just try not to get caught counting their blinks, yeah? That’d be weird.

9. Check their lip movement.

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Lips can be quite the telltale. Pursed lips often indicate disapproval or discomfort. If someone’s biting their lip, they might be anxious or holding something back. And if they’re licking their lips while talking to you? Well, that could be a sign of attraction. Or they might just have dry lips. Context is everything, people.

10. Observe their breathing.

young man and woman with backpacks chatting

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You don’t need to be a yoga instructor to notice someone’s breathing. Rapid, shallow breaths often indicate stress or anxiety. Slow, deep breaths usually mean they’re calm and relaxed. If you notice their breathing change suddenly during a conversation, pay attention — you might have hit on a sensitive topic.

11. Look for pacifying behaviors.

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These are the little things people do to comfort themselves when they’re stressed. It might be rubbing their neck, playing with jewelry, or adjusting their clothes. If you notice an increase in these behaviors, it’s a good bet the person’s feeling uncomfortable. It’s like they’re giving themselves a little hug without actually hugging themselves.

12. Notice their head position.

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The way someone holds their head can be quite telling. A tilted head often shows interest or curiosity — it’s like they’re literally trying to see you from a different angle. A chin lifted up can indicate confidence or even arrogance. And if they’re nodding along to what you’re saying? That’s usually a good sign, unless they’re nodding off, in which case you might want to jazz up your conversation skills.

13. Watch for barriers.

man and woman talking to each other on bench

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People often create physical barriers when they’re feeling defensive or uncomfortable. This might be crossing their arms, holding a book in front of their chest, or even moving an object between you and them. It’s like they’re building a little fortress to protect themselves. If you notice this, try to make them feel more at ease — or prepare for a tough conversation.

14. Check their nose.

two female friends talking in a coffee shop

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This might sound like a load of codswallop, but the nose can be quite expressive. If someone wrinkles their nose while you’re talking, they might be disgusted or disagreeing with what you’re saying. A flaring of the nostrils can indicate anger or intense emotion. It’s like their nose is a little mood ring, changing with their emotions.

15. Observe their jaw.

conversation Two young women sitting outdoors and talking

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A clenched jaw often indicates tension or anger. If you notice someone’s jaw muscles tightening, they might be holding back something they want to say. On the flip side, a relaxed jaw usually means they’re at ease. It’s like their jaw is a stress-o-meter — the tighter it is, the more stressed they probably are.

Harper Stanley graduated from Eugene Lang College at The New School in NYC in 2006 with a degree in Media Studies and Literature and Critical Analysis. After graduating, she worked as an editorial assistant at The Atlantic before moving to the UK to work for the London Review of Books.

When she's not waxing poetic about literature, she's writing articles about dating, relationships, and other women's lifestyle topics to help make their lives better. While shocking, she really has somehow managed to avoid joining any social media apps — a fact she's slightly smug about.