What you’re really telling me

It’s amazing what someone can tell you without even uttering a word.

As part of my studies for my Diploma of Life Coaching, I’m reading a book titled, “the Definitive book of body language” by Allan & Barbara Pease. Every single page of this book is filled with fascinating information that completely opens the mind to how we display our thoughts and feelings without speaking a single word. The subtle acts that we’re aware of, and some we’re not necessarily aware of, that give away what we’re truly thinking and feeling is astounding.

Since reading the book, I’ve become hyper aware of people’s body language around me. I’ve been starting to notice how they act, react, and present themselves. It’s very fascinating! Of course, I’ve also become super aware of my own body language. People around me must be noticing me adjusting how I stand, sit and hold myself as I start to think about the signals I’m communicating by the body language I’m presenting. Likely, they’re thinking, “why won’t she sit still?” Ha!

The book covers a wide range of body language from hand gestures, leg positioning to facial expressions and pupil dilating. Everything we do with, and without, thinking sends signals to the other person we’re talking with. The most amusing fact is the large differences between men and women. Women are much more likely to pick up on body language than men. This explains greatly why men are often oblivious to their impact on people around them, whilst women often know instantly, when walking into a room, who is happy and who is not.

It also is why women get away with lies more than men do. Women catch on very quickly when a man is lying, yet men often miss the cues given by women that they’re telling false truths. A large part of that stems from women needing to communicate with babies for the first two years of their lives largely through body language.

The entire book is fascinating. I haven’t found a page without useful information. The most fascinating chapter, in my opinion, is that of eye signals. I found this the most interesting largely to the fact that we can’t control our eyes and how they react. Larger pupils are more attractive and our eyes often dilate when we are attracted to another person. Another interesting fact, and difference when it comes to men and women is that we both look at other people from head to toe on first meeting to ‘check them out’. We assess each other in terms of appearance and make judgements based on what we see. Nothing new there.

What was new to me was that men’s vision is much narrower than a women’s vision. This is why men often don’t find their keys but a woman can spot a speck of dust on her dashboard while driving. (slight exaggeration). What this means is, when a woman is first meeting another person, due to her ability to see a wider view than what she’s looking at, she is able to subtly look you up and down without you noticing. A man, however, is unable to look so subtly and their glances up and down are much more obvious.

Naturally, after reading this, I began to watch and observe people in action. Sure enough, most men I observed meeting others, particularly women, would very obviously look up and down. It was quick, but it was obvious. This is not to say that men are walking around checking out all women. It’s that we all do it. It’s how we take in and try to assess if another person is a threat, a friend or a potential suiter. It’s just men are, unfortunately for them, more obvious about it due to their limited range of sight.

Fascinating, right!? I think my new hobby is going to be people watching. Observing to see everything I’ve just read, in action. And also working on taking control of my body language to present myself how I desire to, rather than how I am unconsciously doing so. Don’t ask how I plan to do this. I don’t really know the exacts but I know the best place is always to just start.

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