18 Examples Of Female Body Language
Updated December 17, 2018
Reviewer Audrey Kelly, LMFT
Understanding female body language is important for both men and women. Many men study female body language as a means of determining when women are attracted to them. Married men, or men in relationships, may also want to study female body language to interpret the moods and attitudes of their spouse better.
Women also need to study female body language. Quite often, what we say with our bodies goes unnoticed, even by ourselves. We tend to have habits of body language that are culturally and socially adapted as we get older, and often exhibit these behaviors without notice or thought. When you are aware of and control your body language, it can help you more accurately convey messages and meaning.
The Science Of Body Language
By definition, body language can include any reflexive or non-reflexive movement or gesture of all or part of the body. The study of body language is called kinesics.This is a largely understudied area of psychology, although there are many more studies being done to define and examine body language across cultures. Clinical studies have shown that body language sometimes contradicts verbal messages, making it an important study for both men and women.
An important aspect of the science of body language is that it changes across cultures. The body language that is exhibited by people in some parts of Europe, for example, may differ greatly from body language exhibited by women in America. For this article, the body language of women in America is listed by examples.
Researchers agree that while words are used as primary communication, body language does a better job of conveying attitude and emotion. In some cases, body language may be a substitute for verbal communication. Because of this, it is very important to be able to interpret the body language of women in your life accurately.
Body Language Of Women
The body language of women in America is fairly standard andis based on centuries of cultural biases and expectations of women. Many women feel the need to be polite and perhaps even meek in their verbal communications due to the place that women have traditionally held in society. However, their body language will often tell the tale of how they are feeling.
The tilt of the head can show people that you are listening to them or encouraging them to continue speaking. Many women tilt their head when having conversations with people, especially people that they feel hold authority over them.
However, a head tilt can also be read as a sign of submission. Many men see a woman tilting her head and assume that they are in a position of control. The woman may not be meant to convey this, but it is often how men in authority read that signal. As a woman, if you want to exude self-confidence and authority, you should keep your head straight and avoid the head tilt.
Height And Space
The height and space that a person takes up can show a lot about their attitude and emotions. Many women condense themselves to take up as little space as possible. This is a form of female body language that has been passed down through generations, as women have been submissive to men and typically not in positions of authority. A woman condensing herself into a small space or having a slouching posture shows that she is submissive and not in control.
On the other hand, a woman who is sitting or standing very straight, shoulders back, and feet spread apart, shows an air of commanding and authority. When a woman is using this body language, it shows that she feels she is in control of the situation and she is demanding respect.
Gestures during talking or listening to other such as playing with hair or jewelry, grabbing upper arms or touching the neck can often mean that the woman is nervous or stressed. However, many men misread these gestures. Some people claiming to be experts tell men that playing with hair or jewelry or touching the neck is a sign that the woman is attracted to you.
In reality, fidgeting of this nature is a sign of distress. As a man, it is important to be able to read this body language of women for what it is and make her more comfortable with the conversation or end the conversation entirely. For women, it is important to recognize when you are using these gestures and try to avoid them if you want to appear to be in control.
Most people assume that when someone smiles it is a sign of friendliness and happiness. However, what many people don't realize is that many women smile when they are nervous. This means that some women may smile excessively or at inappropriate times, making them hard to read.
In most cases, it is important to really listen to the words of the woman you are talking to rather than just paying attention to her smile. Look for other body language clues the might let you know that she is distressed rather than happy and friendly. Nervousness will usually show itself in other ways if you pay close attention.
Many women nod much more frequently than men. There are jokes about women seeming like bobbleheads for this reason. When a man nods it usually means that he agrees with what is being said. This could be true of a woman as well, although a head nod might also mean that she is listening or encouraging you to continue speaking.
As a woman, it is important to be aware of nodding. Men often do not understand that a nod can mean anything other than agreement or submissiveness. If you nod too frequently, your body language can be easily misread, and men might believe you agree with them when in reality you are just listening intently to what they have to say.
Many women lean forward when they are involved in the intense conversation. However, this can often be misinterpreted. Women also lean forward when they are flirtatious, and this is often how men interpret this female body language.
It is important for men to read this body language in context with the situation and the conversation. If in a professional environment and a heated or intense conversation, it is likely that the woman is simply very engaged rather than actively flirting. At the same time, women need to be aware of this tendency and how it may be interpreted.
Emotionally Expressive Hand Gestures
Many women "talk with their hands," meaning that when they get emotionally invested in a conversation, they use expressive hand gestures. Using a lot of emotionally expressive hand gestures can convey to the other person that the woman is overly emotionally involved or invested in the topic of the conversation.
It is important for women to understand that overly expressive hand gestures, particularly those at or above the shoulders, are usually read as a sign that the woman is not in control of herself or her emotions. If a woman wants to be taken seriously or seen in a position of authority, any hand gestures should be minimal and at or below the waist.
How a woman shakes your hand can say a lot about the woman. A weak handshake conveys to the recipient that the woman is submissive, shy, intimidated, nervous or all of the above. On the other hand, a strong handshake lets the recipient know that the woman is confident and in a position of authority and control.
Many women are prone to frequent eye rolling. Rolling the eyes is usually a sign of impatience or frustration. When you see a woman rolling her eyes, but being verbally quiet or reserved, she is likely trying to remain polite but losing patience. It is important to read this sign for what it is and change your tactic with the conversation or end the conversation completely.
Direct eye contact, or the lack of same, can be read in a variety of ways. Women who are making direct eye contact are usually fully engaged in the conversation and are not being submissive in any way. They may be making eye contact to let you know that they are paying attention to you. Some men read direct eye contact as a sign of attraction, but this is not always the case.
At the same time, a lack of direct eye contact in a woman usually is read as a sign of submissiveness. When a woman looks at you then looks down, it is considered flirtatious but also a gesture of being submissive to the man she is talking to.
When a woman crosses her arms, it could mean one of several things. Many people cross their arms when they are feeling defensive such as during an argument or in a situation where they feel threatened. Women also cross their arms to express disagreement with someone during a conversation or argument. Some women also cross their arms when they are bored of a conversation and are ready for it to end. It is important to consider the words and other female body language that the woman is using to interpret this message correctly.
Tapping Or Drumming Fingers
The tapping or drumming of fingers on a table or other surface is usually a sign of impatience or boredom. The woman who drums her fingers on the table is tired of the conversation or situation that she is in. She may be tired of waiting, or she may be becoming frustrated with a one-sided conversation.
Open Palm Or Exposed Wrist
Many women expose a wrist or show an open palm when they are submissive, often without realizing that they are doing so. A bared wrist or palm is a sure sign that the woman is ready to do as you ask of her. She is either bowing to your authority, or she is open to suggestions of what you would like to do or say next.
When a woman locks her ankles either while sitting or while standing it can be a sign that she is nervous or distressed by the conversation. If a woman is open to a conversation at first but then locks her ankles, it is a sign that the conversation has entered a place or topic with which she is not comfortable. However, this is not necessarily true of all women, as some women cross their legs at the ankle naturally.
Research has proven that the eyes dilate when the individual sees something that they want. This is true of women just as much as it is true of men. If you are talking to a woman in a social setting and her eyes dilate when you ask her for a date, she is letting you know then and there that she is interested in going out with you. If you present a woman with an option that she likes, such as a promotion or a coveted project, you will also get this response.
Rapidly Blinking Eyes
Some men think that blinking eyes are a sign that a woman is attracted to them. They see this as a method of flirting. However, this is most frequently not the case. Most often, women rapidly blink their eyes when they are nervous or uncomfortable in some way. If you approach a woman and her eyes are rapidly blinking, it is a sign that she is anxious and possibly feeling threatened.
Women often bite their lower lip when they are stressed, worried or anxious. However, many men incorrectly interpret this female body language to mean attraction and desire. Most often if the movement is meant to represent desire, it will be accompanied by intense eye contact. Otherwise, take it as a sign that she is nervous or stressed.
One lip gesture that can always be interpreted correctly is the tightening of the lips. When a woman tightens her lips, it means that she is disapproving or distrusting of the person she is talking to. If you approach a woman socially and she tightens her lips when you try to talk to her, abandon the effort and move on.
Hands On Hips
Many men can relate to seeing a woman put her hands on her hips during an argument or when an argument is about to be launched. Putting hands on hips is universally seen by men as an act of aggression on the part of women. Hands on hips can also mean that the woman feels she is in control of the situation.
Getting Help With Communication
If you find that you are frequently reading your partner incorrectly, you might want to get some additional help with communication. A therapist can help you learn how to correctly interpret female body language and teach you how to have more open conversations with your partner.