How to Interpret Body Language

Knowing how to read someone's body language is like having your own personal lie-detector test. So start sussing out the truth today.

You will need

  • Keen observational skills

Step 1 Start with the eyes Let’s start with the eyes. Someone who can’t maintain eye contact could be lying—or, at the very least, extremely uncomfortable. Eyes that shift downward indicate guilt or shame. Direct eye contact signals interest, focus, honesty, and confidence.

Step 2 Look for fidgeting Watch for signs of fidgeting, like foot tapping: It means you’re boring the bejesus out of someone, no matter how many times he offers a polite, ‘How fascinating!’

Step 3 Note eye focus Note where a person looks when he speaks to you. If he’s looking at your lips, he’s sexually interested in you. If he’s focusing on your forehead, he thinks you’re a dope.

Step 4 Observe head tilts Observe head tilts. A person who feels superior to you will keep his head tilted back slightly. A head slanted forward means the person is being judgmental or harboring negative feelings. A tilt to the side indicates interest.

Step 5 Watch the digits Watch how the person uses his fingers. If his thumb is under his chin, with his index finger pointing vertically along the cheek, he’s not buying what you’re selling. If his hand is blocking his mouth, he may be lying.

Step 6 Analyze like a pro Remember three rules: Put the gesture in context (a person may be tapping his foot because it’s asleep); track patterns (some people are always fidgety); and study clusters (one sign of lying is not proof, but several make a good case).