Whilst bumbling around on social media today, I came across an interesting article that debunks six of the most common assumptions about body language. Whilst we all know that the way people hold themselves can say a lot about them as an individual, is it really, definitively possible to establish someone’s honesty by observing body language?
Read the shutterstock blog at the link below.
I have often thought that some people rely too heavily upon body language as an assessment of someone’s true feelings and intent. As the Shutterstock article suggests, posture, eye contact and what people do with their hands isn’t as clear cut as people like to think. An individual’s personality and how they feel in certain situations can dramatically affect how they hold themselves. Avoiding eye contact, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean that someone is lying and can be merely because they are anxious and unsure of themselves or just embarrassed and self-conscious.
Another angle on this is that we are all aware of how much people rely upon body language to evaluate others and therefore, it is easy to ‘play the game’. By this I mean to make a conscious effort not to do certain things with the hands or to maintain eye contact whilst being economical with the truth, so assessing body language can easily become skewed.
It can certainly be erroneous to judge a book by its cover and our preconceived ideas of what certain ‘types of people’ are and what certain behaviours mean, in reality, is quite unreliable. Should we trust a confident, outgoing individual who wears a sharp suit over someone who is less confident and dresses casually? Clearly the answer is no, but this attitude persists and the idea that if someone looks anxious and avoids eye contact in a pressured environment, they are fundamentally dishonest, is using a very blunt instrument to perform a precise task.