Interpreting the Body
Language of Legs - Part 1

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 Sitting Positions

Hi there and welcome to the series that focuses on leg gestures and signs.

I'm quite sure you came here asking yourself: "How much can you really learn about someone from the way he points or moves his legs?"… Well apparently plenty, because otherwise I wouldn't mention it, right?

Here we will learn how to pay attention to the body language of legs; signs that are often overlooked even by the keen observer. But first let me try to convince you that this is worth your time:

** A quick but important note: In the first 2 parts I will focus on the standing leg positions, the sitting positions are here , don't confuse them.

Why the Legs?

When I first started to learn body language I didn't think there's much to pick up from the legs. Honestly, when was the last time you observed what someone did with his legs? It's much more intuitive to remember faces or a particular movement rather than the way someone stands.  So what's so special about the body language of legs?

In short - they're honest, very honest.

Here in Israel we have a saying that says: "Far from the eye - far from the heart" Meaning that things that are far away are not in imminent concern. This is a literal explanation to why most of us may lie with words, wear false smiles or deceive with hands, but rarely care about what the legs "say".

The legs are the farthest limbs away from the brain - and therefore far from the attention of others. Because we never truly care or focus on what others do with them, we also tend to neglect what we do with ours. This neglect leaves a lot of room for the keen observer to notice hidden thoughts and attitudes that are not clearly visible anywhere else in the body.

This in contrast to the face, for example; Because the face is the center of attention when interacting with others and can easily "leak" emotions - we quickly learn to manipulate it to wear the mask we need.  

Now that we know that, let's see what we can decipher from the body language of the legs: 

 

How Stable are You?

A lot can be said about someone by the way he\she stands. There is a correlation between how stable one's stance is to his self confidence and well being.

  • Having a balanced weighted stance on both legs with the legs wide apart is an aggressive and dominant position. Just imagine a gunslinger standing ready during a showdown.

  • Planting both feet in front of someone can be quite intimidating because it leaves no room to maneuver around it.

    It's either an hostile attitude, if both are of the same sex, or a signal of attraction and interest when they're of the opposite gender.

Doesn't counts...

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·        Alternatively, standing with both feet close to each other is signal of submission, recognition (soldier's attention stance) or uncertainty. It's really easy to push over a person in this position, both physically and socially.

It's also makes you a smaller target and that's why it often adopted by timid and introvert people who wish to avoid being noticed.

·        Standing with the weight on one foot while the other points aside is usually a more relaxed position, and it may tell about some opinions and desires of that person (which I'll elaborate on more later).

Crossed Positions

Crossing legs is very similar to folding arms. It covers the genital area and can hint on a guarded mindset. While they are similar, crossing the legs is much less self-conscious act, and doesn't always carry negative connotations.

Crossing the legs immobilizes us - we cannot move until we uncross them.

So it can be a negative sign - where it's an outcome of reserved and suspicious mood; you're not willing to go further or change your mind.

Crossed legs are also a known sign of a "nature call", don't confuse "need to pee" with "you didn't convince me".

Or on the other hand, it can be a simple laid-back position - in relaxed encounters many people adopt this posture to show they're tied up with the current interaction, they don't have intentions of leaving. Just keep in mind that it's passive, so don't use this stance when you need to influence or convince others, you won't seem serious and motivated enough to urge others.

Continue Reading

Now that you have a general idea of how legs "work" in body language, let's continue to the second part with more specialized signs and their meaning.

Interpreting the body language of Legs - Part 2

Jump straight to the sitting positions

Or you can return to the main body language signs section

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