Body language of the hands

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Hand gestures

I am pretty sure you noticed that many people use their hands while talking or while listening to someone. The hands represent a significant part of body language and can reflect a wide array of emotions.

In this article i am going to talk about the most significant hand gestures that people do everyday.

Body language of the hands

Here are the most significant body language gestures related to the hands:

  • 1) Touching: A person would hardly touch another unless he feels comfortable around him. In other words if a person touches you then this means that he feels good around you.
  • 2) Clenched first: A clenched fist usually indicates the build up of anger. It can happen when a person is about to fight or it can happen when someone wants to prepare himself for a physically demanding task. See clenched fist meaning body language
  • 3) Showing palms: Showing the palms is considered one of the signs of honesty. Trained liars however can do it on intention to fool people. See The body language of lying
  • 4) Hands behind back: When a person clasps his hands behind his back then it means that he is feeling confident. It's a state that reflects the person's feeling of being in control See The body language of confidence
  • 5) Hands on hips: When a person puts his hands on his hips it means that he is facing a situation that is beyond his powers (or at least that's how he sees it). See Hands on waist in body language
  • 6) Finger tips touching: When the finger tips of both hands touch each other then this means that the person feels confident or reassured
  • 7) Hands touching chin When the hands touch the chin it's an indication that the person is thinking or evaluating something
  • 8) Hands touching nose or ear: When something negative happens a person will usually touch his nose or ear. See also Negative body language gestures for detailed information
  • 9) Squeezing hands: A person will squeeze his hands (use one to squeeze the other) when he is stressed. This gesture can help the person feel a little better
  • 10) Rubbing hands together: A person will rub both of his hands when he feels excited about a positive thing that is about to happen
  • 11) Rubbing the eyes: Rubbing the eyes is a negative body language gesture and it indicates that a person saw something that he didn't want to see (or visualized it)
  • 12) Touching the brows: Touching the brows is a positive sign that shows that the person believes that something positive has happened. See also Flirting body language
  • 13) Using hands while talking: When a person uses his hands while talking it means that he is emotionally invested in his talk. If a person didn't care much he won't use his hands while talking
  • 14) Hands in pocket: When a hand is in pocket it could indicate various things including unwillingness to join others, discomfort or even lack of confidence. See Reading body language, hands in pocket
  • 15) Palms on the neck: When the person rubs his neck with his palms it could indicate frustration. If however the person used one finger to scratch his neck then this could mean that the person thinks that something very negative has happened
  • 16) Tapping fingers: When a person keeps tapping his fingers on the desk or his legs then this could indicate impatience or stress
  • 17) Resting on something using hands: When a person feels confident he won't usually use his hands to rest on something but instead his hands will be beside him. People might do that gesture when they need reassurance

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