Have you ever wondered why human interaction and relationships bring us the most joy and cause the most distress. I think a lot about these two things . One might say I’ve figured out a way to make relationships my vocation. I love the dynamics found in human interaction.
We all effect each other. There is something about a person’s ability to have an effect on another person with a mere gesture, smile, or sign of dismissal that is unique to the human experience. We don’t get our feelings hurt when our cat doesn’t pay attention to us, and our heart doesn’t flutter if a dog runs up to us for no reason. But with people it’s a different story.
It is in human relationship that we collide with the image of our Creator and something is stirred with in us. Therefore, the simplest of human interactions effect us. As I’ve watched relationships from a distance I’ve learned that the most subtle of actions communicates value and effects both the individual and relationship. Here are a few things I’ve learned from observing human interaction and communication via body language.
1. Smiles are effective and catchy. If you want to make someone feel delighted in, smile at them.
2. Looking down and away from a person communicates that you don’t want to know them and you’ve closed off relationship. The one who is looked away from even if head was held high earlier usually takes on the same posture with head now hung. Dismissal is felt.
3. Eye contact communicates, I see you. Being seen is powerful. It shows that you exist in someone else’s world.
4. Touch can bring a variety of responses. a)People don’t like to accidentally touch and it brings instant discomfort. b)Hugs can make a person go from weak to strong. c) A touch when one is sad brings instant comfort to most. d)Touch is a little touchy…. it brings non-verbal communication to a level that is beyond and ups the anti just a bit. Touch ALWAYS stimulates a response.
5. A smile and hair flip communicate I like you and want you to notice me.
6. A grimace and a disgusted brow communicate, your existence bothers me and I don’t like you. A grimace nearly always leaves the other person feeling smaller and less than.
7. Walking with your head high and shoulders back communicate you like yourself and you’re open to knowing others. It opens you for relational interaction. When someone who is slouched walks by one who has their head held high, there is usually a cause and effect. The one slouched usually will pull his/herself up to a taller position, even if just for a moment.
Body language whether intentional or not always communicates something more powerful than our words. I don’t know why this is, but human body language has a powerful effect on every person.
Do your own experiment and see what happens. Pay attention to your body language and how others respond to you. Do people become taller and have a smile when you leave them? Do people keep their eyes down and hurry past? Take time to pay close attention to what your body communicates to others.
What have I missed? Are there other actions of body language that communicate something in human interactions? Do you think body language has that much power or am I way off?