Body language can tell you a lot about how a person is feeling whether they are receiving bad news or simply having a conversation. It is important to understand what each of these body postures and positions mean as they can help you to steer a conversation in a way that will allow the other person to relax or simply open up to the conversation. Since many people attempt to hide their emotions, their body will always betray them and without the person being totally aware of what they are doing, they are essentially wearing their heart on their sleeve without knowing it.
Types of Defensive Body Language
We have all seen it before, but many may not really know what it means. Clenched fists, folded arms, hands in lap while standing, crossing legs, and so much more. Being aware of these body positions can help you to determine how a person is not only feeling but reacting to the conversation. Some of these positions are self-comforting while others possess much deeper meaning and are mostly signs of defensiveness. Each position creates an artificial barrier for the person who is making them and can allow them to seek some kind of refuge from the current conversation or event.
There are several ways someone can fold their arms and present a defensive posture that can give you an idea as to how they are feeling. First is crossing the arms over their chest and clenching their fists, whether they hold their arms folded either loosely or tightly will help you to determine the severity of their feelings. Generally when fists are clenched or the posture is extremely tense, it is a sign of aggression and if pushed too far the person is likely to get physical.
The defensive posture of someone who is crossing their legs is much milder and subtle than that of someone folding their arms. It is more of a defensive posture that is an attempt to hide insecurity. For example, people at a funeral will present the ‘fig leaf’ posture which is the hands crossed over their genital area. This is a sign of loss as well as a defensive position of innocence. You will also find that it can be a boastful position as well when those who are presenting a slight variation of this posture in the workplace such as hands in their pockets with the thumbs exposed.