This is a continuation of my previous post on the (body) language of our hands. I am sure I have some Italian blood in me since I talk a lot with my hands and these are interesting bits to know about how talking with hands, and hands, are processed by the brain.
Did you know?
- When you use your fingers to preen your clothing, hair, it can be perceived as dismissiveness? Within a relationship preening is acceptable – self-preening is common in courting (we want to look purty) and preening each other (a sign of caring). But when you pick lint off your jacket while someone is talking to you, it’s telling the other person you don’t care about them or their opinions in that matter. Or that you view yourself as superior.
- People REALLY judge you by your hands. Bitten nails, dirty or stained hands and unkempt nails are really a big no-no. Our hands are perceived as an indicator of how we care for ourselves. If your hands are not ‘groomed’, people will think you don’t care about the rest of your personal and professional life. If might lose you a date or an important contract.
- Hiding your hands is shady. Yup, people think you are hiding something (other than your hands) from them. It doesn’t mean you have to wave your hands about like I do when I talk, but it is advised to keep your hands visible when talking to someone. Our brains need to see the hands as it is perceived as an integral part of communication (and aides our brains in interpreting what is not being said with words).
- Pointing. Well, my mother taught me to never point at anything or anyone. It’s considered rude and unsophisticated, she said. And conventional social rules say the same. Pointing to someone is offensive in so many cultures and people that it is simply better to err on the side of caution and never point. Unless you’re pointing to a huge diamond ring, telling your husband you’ll forgive him a future fifty sins if he buys that! 🙂
- Quiet hands, also referred to as frozen hands. Because hand movement is natural during communication, it is highly suspicious when someone’s hands suddenly stop moving. The clever people did research to prove that liars touch less, gesture less, and generally move their arms and legs less than honest people. It is a limbic reaction to danger – the fear of being caught in a lie. This is a good bit of information to know when you’re asking your teenager where he was all day and his usually swinging arms become paralysed as he tells you he’d been studying in the library!