What His Body Language is Trying to Tell You

What His Body Language is Trying to Tell You

Photo by Lukas Sowada

The ancient language of the body

When my husband and I first started dating, I quickly realized that he was going to be an emotionally tough cookie to crack. A guy will say one thing, but his actions say the absolute opposite. Sometimes they won't say anything at all. Unbeknownst to me, my future mate was screaming at me in body language. Let's try looking into the mechanics of the human man so wean discover how to decode it!

Kinesics is the interpretation of body language. Although body language can't technically be considered a language as it's not verbally communicated, we can all quickly agree that it's the universal tongue of the human race. So why is it so hard to read at times, especially in our male counterparts? Science suggests that women are more apt to "wear their heart on their sleeve" and easily share their thoughts and feelings with others. Men, whether it's biology or societal restraints, aren't so quick to let on their true feelings so it's important to understand where he wears his heart- in his body positions and gestures.

Photo by Lukas Sowada

Here's a brief list of what I would consider the most common - and most misunderstood - body language used by men (from personal experience) and what they might mean. Though some of the actions are usually unisexual in use.

When attempting to read your bou, always approach it giving him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he's rubbing his eyes because he's got a headache and has nothing to do with your ramblings about what your BFF told your cousins friend about so and so. Or maybe he's smiling because he's recounting a joke he heard on the radio that morning, not laughing at your attempt to cook pasta al dente.

In the event that these scenarios can truly be ruled out (recent argument, chronically distant from you) let's start with the basics. Man- from receiving an x and y chromosome during gestation- has been just as enigmatic as women. Luckily, we've gained enough insight into the nature of man to recognize non-verbal clues stemming from his inner dialogue.

The Basics

The Hands

Photo by The Modern Vampire

Hands are probably the most telling body part when it comes to speaking body language. The positioning and gestures he makes with his hands are sometimes all you need to unravel the mystery.

Photo by Lukas Sowada

Think of his hands as being a flashing neon sign that says different things depending on which way they're facing and what they're doing.

If he's sitting, standing walking with his hands freely swinging and visible, he's open and taking reservations to chat. However, if his hands are shoved, even part-way, into his pockets it means he's closed and not open for any business, regardless of what his cute smile is saying. Reaching out to him while his hands are not visible, whether behind his back or covered by his hair while he rakes through it means he's not interested in chatting, or the situation going on around him. These gestures, however, doesn't mean he's not confident or can't be coaxed into emotional submission. Raised palms being presented is often an act of surrender, showing that he has no weapon or mal-intention and wants the hostility to case. Balled fists are a sure sign of anger and frustration.

Additionally, as obvious as it might seem, rubbing the back of the head is pretty indicative that he's befuddled by the situation or he has no idea how to address your concerns. Rubbing the back of his neck might mean that he's taking on a bit of stress from a conversation or event.

Hands covering the mouth indicates he's trying not to say something hurtful, untruthful, or insensitive; rubbing of the nose means he may not be 100% honest with you; and rubbing of the eyes is probably a sign that he's tired of the situation and wants to put it to bed.

Photo by Gerry-And-Me

If he's got the full-on face-palm going, the conversation might just have ended. We're pretty versed in the face palm though, aren't we? On the other hand, no pun intended, it could mean that's having racing thoughts and trying to sort out a resolution.

Propping up his head with his hands often goes two ways: bored or interested. The difference is slight, but the overall look is pretty clear. A head tilted back with an open palm supporting his whole head is definitely boredom setting in. A head being leaned forward and a few fingers touching the side of his face and/or temple is a good sign that he's paying attention.

The Feet

You know how Captain Jack Sparrow has that magical compass that points him to where his heart really wants to go? That's sort of how your dude's feet subconsciously react. If you notice his feet (specifically the toes) are pointed directly towards you it means he's extremely interested in you, even if he's across the room. Don't be surprised if he embarks on a journey your way. Pointed away might mean he'd rather moonwalk out of the situation if possible.

In some countries it is highly disrespectful to show another person the bottom or sole of your shoe or foot. For the most part, seeing the soles of his feet probably means he's considerably comfortable around you- to the point where showing you the poo/gum/mud ratio he's got going on down there isn't something he's concerned with, even if it's rude and gross. Meh, at least he cares.

The Eyes

They're piercing, they're bold and sexy! Sometimes they're glazed over or even closed from nodding off on you. At any rate, the eyes truly can be windows into the soul. Eye contact, or lack thereof with your mate, doesn't necessarily mean he's out of touch with you or the situation- eye contact simply shows the degree of openness he has for the conversation.

If your guy is very shy, quiet, a downright introvert, or even a loud macho guy, don't expect him to look you square in the eye and tell you what's wrong every time something is bothering him. Just as you try to impress him with your nurturing prowess, he's trying to impress you with his strength- barring any "weakness" that comes with "feelings." It's not at all a bad thing.

But if you can't remember what color his eyes are, I've got a tip for you in getting him to open up and possibly establish some eye contact. Take him for a drive, watch a funny but easy to ignore show, or even play a video game - anything that cane be done sitting or standing side by side with no natural need for eye contact. Precede the activity with, "you know you can talk to me about anything, right?" Hopefully he'll give you the, "Oh yeah, of course, I'm good." This next step is important... Shut up. If he wants to tell you something, he'll tell you something. Sometimes it's right out of the blue hours later! But the more comfortable he gets with you and his feelings, knowing that you're not going to pressure him into talking, the more eye contact he'll be willing to make. It's not a disrespectful thing for him to do because it is fear-based.

At one point or another, you might spy a little ring of wetness around the eyes. Yes, boys cry, but not the way that women do, and not for nearly as long. Lauren Bylsma, a University of South Florida PhD Student, says that crying serves a biological purpose as well as a social purpose to gain sympathy from those who watch you cry. Biologically, the tear ducts of males are considerably smaller than women's tear ducts so women produce more tears, which is why you won't see tears streaming down his face often. More and more psychologists are claiming that crying serves no other purpose other than letting others know they're in distress, and in private, crying is brought on by the desire to feel better and remembering how well having a good cry achieves this. I tend to lean more towards stress chemicals being released through your tears which level out your hormones, as seen in some studies.

So if we were to go along with the notion that boys don't cry because socially it is unacceptable to cry, you may never really see the waterworks from him unless he's inconsolable. I on the other hand feel that men simply relieve their stress by means other than crying.

For those ladies and gents so blessed with a guy in touch with his sensitive side, just beware. Just because he's talking doesn't mean he's not just trying to get you off his back by telling you what you want to hear. Just saying. Guys who truly care don't like to do their girls wrong. Looking at your sad and disappointed face is sometimes too much for him so he simply doesn't look. Shielding or the concealment of the eyes altogether is a pretty grave message that he doesn't even want any further interaction. Shame can be the culprit of that action.


When you're cold or feel threatened, what do you do? You cross your arms or legs together to keep in your body heat and you may place an object in front of you to protect yourself from a threat facing you. These are very instinctual actions and are used in any situation we feel unsafe, unsure and, and unprotected. Crossed arms can also be  a physical symptom of stubbornness.

Closed arms or crossed legs are a good reason to feel that your man is closed for arguments and conversations for fear of emotional battery. Sometimes, of course, it's just a comfortable position to be in but when it's paired with a rigid disposition, chances are he's not feeling the situation is going his way at all and would like it to end.

When lines are crossed, things like legs, arms and even toes get crossed and we should give them their personal space they're non-verbally asking for. Another slice of advice, don't let on that you're reading his actions, this will make him more paranoid and aware of his actions around you. He might even over react.

So, those are the basics as far as I can reckon. As with all written and spoken language, body language can be misinterpreted and this article I hope solely serves as such, an interpretation of the male body language. 
















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