“To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.”
Marilyn Vos Savant
Your face is probably the first physical characteristic people notice about you. There are “eye people,” “nose people,” and “mouth people.” These purists, not only notice your face they are drawn or deterred by one of your facial features. I am drawn to an individual’s eyes. The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory (MBPI) says of INTJs, (introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging, personality type) they do not show the depth of their emotions – except in their eyes. This may be an example of the eyes being the window to the soul. INTJs are 1% of the population. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), my life is littered with them. Consequently, I have become very familiar with their profile and emotions. I have yet to see the discernable depth of emotion in their eyes. Wait, we will talk more about INTJs later. Nonetheless, we do try to read the faces of the people with whom we have contact. When you meet someone what do you notice first? Perhaps, their gender makes a difference.
Though the face is normally the first part of the body we observe, the entire body “speaks”. Body language is a substantial part of our communication; Some experts say as much as 65 to 80 percent. If one’s body communicates one emotion and his or her words articulate something else, I am more likely to trust body language. For example, if one says, “I love you” we should be able to discern some genuine emotion or the words sound hollow and unconvincing. Conceivably, they were spoken from habit or kindness.
Behavioral studies indicate that individuals perceive a distance that is appropriate for different types of messages; They establish a comfortable distance for personal interaction and nonverbally define this as their personal space. Personal distance is just as much a part of non-verbal communication as a smile or a snarl. If one is distrustful (ie, paranoia), his or her space will probably be larger. If you perceive danger (or dislike), even if you are not consciously aware of your perception, you will probably increase the gap between the other person and you.
Would you like to know how well you read body language? Choose your favorite answer to the following questions.
Body Language Test
1. According to research studies, what is the greatest distance you are likely to find between two lovers who are whispering? (Use your measuring tape the next time you see two lovers.)
A) 2 feet
B) 28 inches
C) 4 inches
D) 18 inches
2. This body language tool, when utilized, will make you appear warm, friendly, open and confident.
A) Arms unfolded
B) Feet about 10 inches apart
C) Nodding your head
3. Making little eye contact might mean
A) He is shy
B) He is an INTJ and does not want anyone to read emotion in his eyes
C) He is sleepy
D) He does not like the person
4. If someone is wringing his or her hands as you talk, what might that mean?
A) She is nervous
B) Her hands are dirty
C) She is late for something
D) She is open and outgoing
5. When one leans toward the person to whom one is talking and nods sometimes it probably means
A) He is nearsighted
B) He is self-centered
C) He is paying close attention
D) He is having trouble hearing the other person
6. If one has one’s arms folded and legs crossed it might mean
A) She is cold
B) She is feeling romantic
C) She wants to get to know the person with whom she is speaking
D) She is being defensive
7. Standing tall with chest out and head high might mean
C) Low self-esteem
D) A poorly fitted bra
8. One angle in toward a person if
A) He is being aggressive
B) He thinks she is cute
C) He is trying to read emotion in an INTJ’s eyes
D) He thinks she is lying and wants to see if she is blinking
9. If one filters one’s words through one’s hands, it might mean
A) She is trying to hide bad breath
B) She is lying
C) She is dramatic
D) She is in love
10. We have such powerful brain “circuitry” for facial expressions that
A) We see faces where there are none (ie, moon, clouds)
B) We often misread expressions
C) We get tired of reading expressions
D) We smile and glare just to confuse people
1) d, 2) d, 3) a, 4) a, 5) c, 6) d, 7) a, 8) b, 9) b, 10) a
Give yourself one point for every correct answer, or as many points as you like, but it will make the scoring confusing.
What does my score mean?
Scores 1 – 4
I am afraid that you would never survive in the wild. No doubt, something large, toothy and hostile would devour you because you would think the snarl meant it was in love. You may want to learn more about body language by visiting The Non-Verbal Communication Journal website. If that site is too academic for your taste try the Center for Nonverbal Communication website, it is quite interesting. To be safe, stay close to someone who scored ten on the test.
Scores 5 – 8
You are doing relatively well and can probably communicate and understand communication with little effort. You may want to visit the referenced sites listed above and increase your store of body language knowledge. What does it mean when someone looks up and to the right? See, I told you there was more to learn.
Scores 9 – 10
You should be working for the FBI. You are unusually knowledgeable about body language. This knowledge will give you a distinct advantage in understanding your fellow creatures. Let me warn you, some of the nice people in the first score group are going to be looking for you.
First, I must apologize to the INTJ’s in my life for targeting them. They are exceptionally intelligent and talented people. They will complete projects (perfectly), and on time, every time. They are not materialists; they are theoretical individuals. You will find them at parties sitting in a corner reading Einstein’s Theory of Relativity … and smiling.
Who Is Lying?
Would you like to know how to know if someone is lying? According to body language expert Robert Phipps, “Darting eyes, palms not visible, shifting from one foot to another, hand covering mouth or fingers tugging at the ear are clues.” Sorry, this system is not foolproof.
What do you do if your significant other comes home late, smelling of expensive French perfume and says he has been visiting his dear old mum? Just to make it more interesting, what if he is also pulling his ear, covering his mouth and darting his eyes? Would you call mum? Naturally, just to check on the old darling.
What does it mean when someone looks up and to the left? Sorry, the FBI will not allow me to divulge that information. If it is ever declassified I will let you know. Keep in touch …