WHAT YOUR WALK SAYS ABOUT YOU
Apr 15th, 2009
WHAT YOUR WALK SAYS ABOUT YOU
You know the deal. You’re walking along a crowded city street and — bam! — the person in front of you almost hits you with his free-swaying limbs. Janine Driver, body language and deception-detection expert, author and certified business coach, attributes this to marking your territory. “When you’re a big arm swayer, you’re saying, ‘I want more space.’ You’re also craving attention.” The opposite is true for people who keep their arms close to their sides. “The best thing to do is to have a medium swing,” she says.
Be careful in crowded places if you normally hide your thumbs within your fist. It denotes vulnerability. “In fact, this is a target criminals look for as they seek out victims,” says Driver. People who keep their hands in their pockets are “extremely nervous.” Plus, she notes, “hooking” involves your thumb hooked onto your belt buckle and is a sign of extreme nervousness. “The top 10 “American Idol” contestants all hook,” she adds.
Puffing out the chest
“These people want to appear bigger than they are,” says Driver. “People who puff out their chests walk into a room like a tiger.” These people tend to cross the fine line between confidence and insecurity. Looking for an example? Look no further than “gym rats.” She adds, “Usually it’s a guy trying to impress a girl.”
If you’re a fast walker, Driver says, this signifies being overly aggressive. “The key,” she says, “is adaptability. It’s a matter of how you’re being perceived that matters. Your pace literally matches what we think or our temperament.” Conversely, a slow walker is someone who you may not be able to rely on for a project. “When you need a project done faster with urgency, it’s never going to happen!”
Bounce in the step
If someone has a little bounce in their step, they appear to be healthy, happy and young. “It’s usually an indication of high levels of happiness, vitality, vigor and youth. You want to have a bounce in your step,” says Tonya Reiman, body language expert and author of “The Power of Body Language.” This is a very good thing, indeed. “We love to be around energetic people, because it lifts our spirits as well.”
Ah, what would body language be without interpreting someone’s posture? Hunched over shoulders can signal feelings of insecurity. Reiman says this is also followed by looking down, keeping your hands in your pockets or walking slower at a shuffling pace. On the other hand, someone with their head held high and shoulders back screams confidence, baby.
Along with posture comes shoulders, and whether they’re even while walking. “Shoulders that are uneven are signs of indecisiveness. It also signifies untrustworthiness,” notes Jan Hargrave, a body language expert based in Houston and author of “Let Me See Your Body Talk.” To counter this, she notes that if one shoulder is physically higher than the other, some people wear shoulder pads to even the effect and therefore, appear more trusting.
Couples in sync
Ever watched a couple at the mall and notice that their leg and arm motions are completely in sync? “They have great rapport,” says Driver. “Literally one foot’s in front of each other at the exact same moment.” If you’re not connecting to someone you’re walking next to, she notes, you’re not connected to that person. It doesn’t mean the relationship is doomed, it just means at that very moment you’re not connecting.
The feet. The head. The arms. The shoulders. The hands. What’s missing? Alas, palms! Hargrave says palms that face upward signify a submissive person. “They’re saying they’ll be able to listen to what you have to say.” As for someone who walks with their back of their hands facing up? “They need to be in control.”