Negative body language gestures

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

leave a positive impression using body language

If you read a little about body language then i am pretty sure you heard the term 'negative body language'. Negative body in simple words are the body language gestures that could give a negative or bad impression to people.

When i talked about body language earlier i said that even if a person doesn't know how to read body language he will still get a certain impression about you based on your gestures because his subconscious mind will detect them.

In other words by learning how to avoid the negative body language gestures you will be giving a positive impression to both kinds of people.

Negative body language connected to posture

Here are the posture-related negative body language gestures:

  • 1) Curved back : A curved back in body language can give different impressions but all of them are negative. A curved back might communicate lack of interest, sadness, depression, lack of confidence or lack of motivation. See Body language of the back
  • 2) Standing on one leg: While standing on one leg doesn't give a direct negative impression still it can reduce the overall positive impression. A confident person will usually stand with his both legs firmly planted on the ground. See State of confidence in body language
  • 3) Slightly curved legs: When a person feels confident and self assured his legs are going to be straight. When a person is unsure of something or not motivated his legs might be a little curved while standing.
  • 4) Closed gestures: Closed gestures such as folding the arms or crossing the legs give an impression to people that you are uncomfortable, confident or offended. See The defensive position
  • 5) Taking smaller space: When you make your body smaller by taking smaller space you give the impression that you are not confident, shy or even dishonest. See the body language of a liar.

Negative body language connected to the face

In addition to the previous signs there are also some negative body language signs related to the face. Here are some of them:

  • 1) Touching the nose: People touch their noses when they think that something negative happened. Touching the nose might also give an indication that you don't like a person or that you are even lying. See all about touching the nose
  • 2) Touching your neck: Touching your neck in body language can indicate that you think that you are in deep trouble. This is a common sign that happens when people get asked a very difficult question during job interviews. See Touching the neck in body language
  • 3) Touching your ears: People touch their ears when they hear something that they don't like. This is why some people touch their ears when they lie. The explanation here is that those people dislike their own words.
  • 4) Scratching the top of your head: This is not a direct negative sign for it just signals confusion however based on the context of the situation it might be interpreted as a negative sign. See Body language and confusion

How the negative can be positive

Based on the message you want to deliver any of those negative signs could actually help you achieve a positive goal. Let's suppose that you wanted to tell someone indirectly that you disliked what they said. In such a case touching your nose while they are speaking might deliver the message.

In short what makes a gesture negative is when it doesn't communicate the message you want to send to others properly.

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Want to know more?

Learning Body Language - All gestures

The body language of a hater

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