There are some subtle social cues that speak more truth than people’s words. Learn how to read them to understand people’s hidden thoughts and intentions.
How can you tell what a person is really thinking or saying? Do you rely on the words they use or is there another way of getting to the truth?
Experts believe that the majority of what we communicate is through our body language, with around 60% – 90% of our communication being non-verbal. These subtle social cues give us away and allow others to really understand our true intentions and thoughts.
So how do you learn to spot these important subtle social cues that give away what’s really on people’s minds?
Here are 15 subtle social cues to help you:
This is when a person starts to copy your body language and it means that they like you or at least agree with you. So if you notice someone that is standing or sitting the same way as you, for instance, leaning against a wall or arms behind their head, try changing your position to see whether they do too. Then you’ll know that they are mirroring you and that they might also like you.
2. Look at the feet
If you are approaching a group of people and you are not sure whether you are welcome or not, look at the feet of the people in the group. If they turn towards you, it means you have been accepted. If they remain turned away, then they are not.
3. Eye contact
Typically, a person should look at you for around two-thirds of the conversation. Any less than this and they might be concealing something, any more than two-thirds and they could be purposely trying to intimidate you.
4. Watch your personal space
We all have different zones of personal space where we feel comfortable dealing with particular people. Loved ones will be allowed into our immediate zone, whereas strangers will have a much wider perimeter. If you find someone moving away from you, then consider that you might have misread their signals towards you.
5. It’s not what you say – it’s the tone
People might be saying one thing, but it is the tone of their voice that gives them away. A high-pitched tone denotes excitement whereas a lower and deeper tone suggests the speaker is serious about the matter.
6. Crossed arms
A person that has their arms crossed against their chest is signalling that they are not open to your proposals or ideas and feels defensive against what you are saying to them.
7. Touching or covering the mouth with your hands
This is a classic sign that someone is lying. They are literally putting a barrier between what they are saying and their mouth as they are unconsciously worried about what is coming out of them.
8. Touching your hair
Guys, have you ever been chatting to a woman and she starts fidgeting with her hair? This is a sign that she is flirting with you and could be attracted to you. Other signs include the hips turned towards you and frequent touching you on the arms or shoulders.
These generally cannot be seen without some device that can slow down the facial expressions. A micro-expression is a telling look that lasts for mini-seconds but reveals what the person is really thinking. So in an instant, although a person might be laughing, there could be a flicker of anger that dashes across their face, unseen but very telling.
10. Furrowed brow
If you notice lines appearing on the brow of the person you are chatting to, it could be that you are confusing them or that they are annoyed or irritated with you.
11. Hand under the chin
This suggests that a person is still weighing up a decision and is coming to a conclusion. If you are a salesperson and your potential customer makes this gesture, now is the time to give them positive feedback about what you are trying to sell.
12. Showing off the neck
If a woman purposely extends her neck and shows it off to you, she is signalling that she is attracted to you. In fact, the neck is the most vulnerable part of her body, and she is entrusting it to you.
13. A nose rub
This is associated with deception and if you observe someone doing it frequently, you should seriously consider that they are not telling the whole truth.
14. Slight touch on the hand
This is typically meant to create an instant connection with another person and it suggests that they feel an affinity with you or what you are saying.
15. Scratching the back of the neck
If you spot a person doing this, they could simply have an itch, but it is also a way of demonstrating that they still have questions and want answers about a certain topic.
We all use subtle social cues in our everyday lives, whether we know it or not. The trick is to understand them in order to get ahead and recognise how they can help us to discover what a person is really thinking.