Are you sending the Wrong Signals to People in New situations? 5 body language don’ts for new social situations

Have you ever wondered why people just don’t seem interested in talking to you at new events? Often there seems to be a space around you where nobody enters? Do you worry that people don’t like you when they meet you for the first time?

Have you ever considered that perhaps your problem has nothing to do with who you are and everything to do with your body language? Did you know that communication can be broken down into 55% body language, 38% tone and 7% words.

Which means every gesture – whether it’s a tilt of the head, the direction of your feet, the way you wave your hands about or just plain fidgeting communicates a message. So to ensure you’re sending a positive message with your body language, we are going to look at some of the body language positions you should be avoiding.


Crossed arms

This is arguably the most common position in the negative body language repertoire. Crossed arms is a sign of being closed off from social interaction or being self-conscious and defensive. There are numerous variations of this position, but the most common is having one arm holding onto the other. This is a strong indication of insecurity and discomfort.  The reaction to this position is, ‘I don’t want to be around this person, they are making me nervous’


Touching your neck

If you find yourself touching your neck frequently when you are communicating, it indicates that you are either frustrated or extremely nervous. Touching or holding your neck is the most frequently used behaviour when responding to highly stressful situations.


Standing with crossed legs

A sudden locking of the legs indicates discomfort or insecurity. In a social setting, this could mean that you are not at ease with what is being discussed and you are beginning to feel nervous in your surroundings. Again, people do not want to be around a nervous or closed off person since it makes them feel nervous and uncomfortable in return.


Invisible walls

This is exactly as it sounds. If you keep putting barriers between you and whoever you’re talking too, you are creating what is known as ‘invisible walls’. This can be anything from keeping an object like a document folder or a handbag between you and the person you’re speaking too. Even shifting your glass from hand to hand in front of you is what’s known as creating a psychological barrier that people pick up on subconsciously. It sends a message, ‘I don’t feel comfortable around you, please can you leave me alone.’


Direction of body

A strong indication of a person’s interest is the actual direction of their body. It’s been found that a person directly faces that which they are interested in. So if you find yourself talking to people over your shoulder and wonder why they aren’t finding you particularly charming, perhaps you should look at whether you’re paying them the attention they deserve.


Bonus Step: Comfortable Social positions

Now that we have some insight into the messages you could be sending. Perhaps it’s time to explore what you should be doing instead.


Women’s Position:

Face your body directly towards the person you are talking to and stand in the hesitation position.  Click on this link to show you how to stand in the hesitation position:


Men’s Position:

Face your body directly towards the person you are talking to, push one foot forward and leave one hand in your pocket.  This reflects a sense of comfort and ease.  Click on the link below for a reference.

Ideally the most confident position for you to stand in is with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms hanging naturally down the side of your body.  See the picture for a reference below:

Most people spend a lot of time thinking of the perfect words to say, but never realize that their body language and their words are sending very different messages. So if you’re in a new situation and want to come across as warm and approachable, make sure you’re using positive body positions that show your interest and openness.

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