We continue to explore hand gestures involving touching the face or the head. This time we focus on the other aspects of these gestures. Besides tension and deceit that we’ve seen in the previous article, these body gestures can imply how much someone interested in you, or in what you say.
Attention vs. Boredom
There is a thin line between showing attention and expressing boredom when using hand to face body gestures. The main difference is in the amount of support the hand provides to the head while listening.
Head gestures are great in revealing how much interest and affiliation exist between people during conversation. These postures changing constantly in a smooth flow and rarely ‘stuck’ in one position. By looking at the whole sequence of moves you can truly understand the attitude of the listener and whether or not what you’re saying is relevant to them.
But we’re talking about the hands gestures. How do they help us understand the attitude of the listener? Well, when we are really excited and interested our head nods with enthusiasm, we lean forward and try to be active in the conversation. We rarely put our hand to support our head in these situations. We want to be active and involved in what’s going on, not to sit idly by.If we just want to listen intently and allow the other party to do the talking; we adopt a more passive stance. Putting the index finger on the temple, for example, or touching the forehead – help some people focus and concentrate.
When we are forced to stay passive however (like during a boring lecture) we use the hand as a stand to rest our head on. It’s a comfortable position to just sit and listen but it also sends the message that you’re quite bored, just waiting politely for the speech to end. An example: Suppose you sit during a lecture and spot someone listening with his hand resting on the side of his head. In the beginning he may just listen carefully, touching lightly the temple of the head. However, if he’ll get bored he’ll incline his head and put more weight on his hand, up to the point that he’ll fall asleep, his hand substitute for the pillow.
Evaluation & Decision
Evaluation is the phase of consideration and thought and it appears usually when we hear something we need to decide upon it later. In body language it will usually involve resting the chin in the hand, or stroking it.
Remember the statue of the ‘Thinking Man’? The statue supports its chin with the back of the hand (although it’s much more comfortable using the palm in my experience…) to allow a nice resting place for the head while thinking.There are several variations to this ‘hand to the chin’ gesture. For example, wrapping the thumb around the chin with the index finger near the mouth is the form of a critical evaluation. This person is not completely convinced in whatever being said.
|Image: ‘The Thinker‘|
Decision Time: After the evaluation, when decision is required, we automatically change our body language to show that we are thinking about the offer. These hand gestures stalling time to allow us get to the right conclusion…Some examples of this phase are:
Stroking the chin
Putting fingers or other object (like pen) in the mouth
Rubbing the forehead
Scratching the neck
Looking up at the ceiling If you’re observant and know how to read body language, you can usually know what kind of decision will be made by the listener. For this you need to look for the signals preceding the decision phase. Positive body language signs like open body language, nodding and leaning forward will usually lead to a positive response. The negative signals like: crossed body language, avoiding eye contact, leaning away, touching the nose, mouth or ear will usually lead to a negative response.
After all these negative stuff you heard about these hand gestures you might wonder what they have to do with attraction. Well, like many other negative gestures, in flirting it can be used to show playfulness or vulnerability.
Women who touch their face (especially the lips) intentionally send strong sexual signals. This is as a result of 2 main reasons:
1. The act of touching the face brings to the mind the insecurity and vulnerability of children who make the same gestures. It immediately results in awakening strong protective emotions in men, who feel the need to protect and support the innocent cute girl.2. The act of touching the lips emphasizes their size and fullness. It Draws more attention to an already attractive feature in the female’s face (lipstick anyone?).Similarly, touching the neck can also be a seductive move by women. It amplifies the effect of the exposed neck – also a vulnerable and attractive feature in females.
To Touch or Not to Touch?
This is not really the question…You can’t expect of yourself to never touch your face again. It’s part of the human base reactions to stressful events. So don’t fight your humanity! Instead be more aware of your actions and try to avoid touching your face for no reason when in public, just like you would avoid picking your nose in front of everyone. I know it’s a lot harder than it sounds. like the old saying goes “old habits die hard” – these habits are very old, you can’t just wipe them out in one day. But with persistence and awareness to your body language you can change these habits gradually.
Another approach to this issue is to address the source of your true problem. If you feel tension all the time and a need to touch your face– work on your inner peace and resolve those problems inside you. Remember that your body language represents what’s going on within you.
Remember also that It’s not all bad either; some of these hand gestures can be very useful sometimes.
It’s only natural to act as humans after all (: