Interpreting Body Language: Hands on Waist

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Interpreting Body Language: Hands on Waist

I am sure that one day you were talking to someone and as soon as you finished, he moved his hands and rested them on his waist as illustrated in the picture below. What happened? Why did he do that?

As you know, in body language, a change in the body posture always reflects a change in the person's emotions. In this case, where the person is resting his hands on their waist, the emotion can be described using the following phrase:

“You have asked for more than what I can handle. I don’t think I will be able to do what you want and I'm angry at you or at the person responsible for this mess.”

It could also mean

1-You have asked for too much.
2-I am getting aggravated and I may attack at any moment!
3-This situation is beyond my tolerance or abilities.

When Will You See This body language gesture?

So when are you going to see such a posture? The following are some possible situations where this body language posture could appear:

  • This is more than I can handle: You only have 3 days left to finish an assignment then you received a phone call from one of your friends telling you that it turns out the assignment must be handed tomorrow and not 3 days later. In this case, you may take this posture right after finishing the call.
  • I am becoming aggravated and ready to attack You're attending a lecture and everyone is talking to his peer and ignoring the lecturer. At this point, the lecturer might suddenly stop talking and take this posture.
  • That’s beyond my abilities You are at the gym, you can hardly lift 20 Lb in the biceps exercise and then suddenly someone shows up and does that same exercise with 100 Lb. In this case you may find yourself putting your hands on your waist.

What to do when you see someone taking this gesture

This gesture is one of the dangerous body language signs. The first thing you need to do when you encounter it is to understand the context of the situation and the specific reason that forced that person to take it.

If that person is important to you then its important that you try to fix what you have done by talking in a different way. If you did things right the person will unconsciously put his arms beside him once again or even take a completely new gesture.

Lets suppose that someone took this gesture because he heard about your achievements. In such a way you can reassure him that he can do the same thing by telling him how you managed to succeed.

If you found him moving his arms back then know that you did the right thing.

As you've just seen, very slight changes to your body language can have a big effect on your relationships with people. In my book, How to make someone fall in love with you i explained how you can make certain changes to your body language in order to become more attractive. For example if you stood upright then you will appear to be more confident and in turn more attractive.

Want to Know More?

All other body language gestures

Introduction to body language

Body language attraction signals

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