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Posts Tagged ‘signals’

Er, yep. I’ve got the ‘ump big time and my arms are tightly folded in front of my chest. There is no way I am budging on this one!

Or, are my arms folded tightly to my chest because it’s ten below freezing and I look like an icicle?

What exactly do the actions of our arms reveal about us?

How can we tell what someone is thinking by what their arms are doing?

Confident people sit and sprawl their arms out to make themselves a ‘big’ as possible while, when we feel bored or low we try to make ourselves seem ‘smaller’ by hiding our hands and keeping our arms tight to our body. Seems simple, right?

But is it?

Here’s one example where a movement can mean two different things.

Arms Crossed

Above we have two men, both with their arms crossed… And yet both portray a different ‘feel’.

Crossing arms is one way a writer could show a character as being upset or angry. Afterall, isn’t that the image we really conjure up when told someone has their arms crossed?

The man on the left looks how a reader may envisage this. But, the man on the right looks the complete opposite and appears very happy and relaxed.

If we take in to account ALL the other body language signs, smiles, eyes, stance, we can see two very different images.

Arms Crossed, Fists Clenched

Photo from Sapientology

Anyone feel like they’re about to be punched? No? Just me then.

Steven Aitchison puts this down to a behaviour mostly used by children who do not get what they want or are in trouble for something. We grown-ups tend to carry this trait through to adult life.

Hugging Yourself

Probably doesn’t come as much or a surprise that women often hug themselves and men usually don’t.

But why do we do this? Because we all want to feel comfortable and secure just like our parents made us feel when we were children?

Photo from Forbes

In public, or in large groups of people, we try to make our sense of unease or vulnerability less obvious. We do this with a partial hug: leaving one arm at our side while the other arm crosses our body to hold it.

One hug I think we all find distressing is seeing children hugging their knees. It depicts being scared, insecure, frightened….probably why it is so successful for charities.

Arm’s Behind The Head

Photo from Superstock

How confident and relaxed are you!

Lean back in that chair and watch as the others around you squirm and panic. Or, while sitting, stretch your arms out along the backs of the seats. How intimidating and amost always a stance adapted by men. But, is it a sign of being cocky or just feeling at ease?

In front of a group of strangers, then arguably ‘cocky’ springs to mind. But, if in the company of friends, this looks no more than a man feeling comfortable and at ease with his mates.

Raised Arms

This picture says it all. Hunky men are found on the beach….No, oh well.

We all throw our arms in the air when we have no worries, no fears or concerns, and basically are very, very happy with life.

Of course, some people do it when frustrated, but they usually have a pile of ripped papers in their hands at the time.

Now, throw your arms in the air and take a deep breath. See how you feel straight afterwards.

Next week, we’ll continue this and look at the arm signals used when flirting so you guys can head down to the nearest bar and try them out.

But for now, I want to know if you threw your arms in the air and how it made you feel. What other arm signals do you use (email all rude jokes to me directly) for your characters when writing? What do you feel are the obvious arm signals? What is your favorite arm signal? Jeez, I really am setting myself up for some naughty comments.

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