What Does Your Body Language Mean?

According to a groundbreaking UCLA study, it takes just 30 seconds to make a lasting impression on someone—and 55 percent of that impression is based on a common set of nonverbal cues. For example, crossing your arms may be perceived as stand-offish, while raising your eyebrows could gain you a reputation as a flirt. What signals is your body language sending?

Body Language: What Do the Signs Mean?

Nonverbal Communications Interpretation
Sitting with legs crossed; foot kicking slightly Boredom
Arms crossed at chest Definitiveness
Standing with hands on hips Readiness, aggression
Hand on cheek Evaluation, deep in thought
Touching or slightly rubbing the nose Rejection or doubt
Hands clasped behind back Anger, frustration, apprehension
Tilted head Interest
Tugging at ear Indecision
Raising eyebrows Surprise, flirtation

A person's body language can also indicate if he or she is lying. Here are the top five signs that someone simply isn't being straight with you.

  1. His or her physical expression is limited and stiff, with few arm and hand movements.

  2. The person avoids eye contact and may turn his or her whole head or body away from you.

  3. Timing is "off" between the gestures/expressions and words. For example, the person may say "I'm sorry" but does not look remorseful until after the words have been said.

  4. Facial expressions are limited to the mouth. A natural smile, for example, involves the muscles of the jaw, cheeks, forehead, and eyes.

  5. The individual becomes very fidgety during pauses in the conversation.