Examples of Closed Body Language

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Learn what closed body language looks like and how to read body language in this free video on body language communication skills.

Part of the Video Series: How to Read Body Language
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Video Transcript

DR. MICHELLE COHEN: Sometimes, one of the body language behaviors you do not want to exhibit are what I call "closed body behaviors," especially if you're going on a job interview or if you're trying to impress someone. Closed body behaviors mean many things. Sometimes, it means you're just really uncomfortable with that person that you're with or you don't like them. They also mean that you lack self-esteem in yourself so you're a bit uncomfortable with who you are and you don't want that person to know too much about you. They can be misinterpreted though sometimes. Sometimes, someone is just cold in a room, so again, you have to take into account the situation and the environment, what's going on that particular social situation. So if someone is doing this, they might just be cold. As Natalie and Josh are showing you, closed behavior is going to appear in many ways. Now sometimes, we use closure to place barriers in front of our bodies. As you see, Natalie has her arms crossed. Her legs are crossed away from Josh as well. That primitively, this is to defend ourselves from attack, but in this day and age there are many reasons why we do this kind of body behavior. Also, we may tuck our chins downward. We may hunch ourselves reducing the size of our target. We may, like I said, protect ourselves by folding our arms, crossing our legs away. We also may shift our head back from the other person and not really look at them directly. Josh is trying to get some kind of communication going here with Natalie. He's trying to communicate that to her but she's showing him that she's really not really interested. She's averting her glance from him. She's closed up. She's uncomfortable. She's shaking her leg a little bit. Many times people do this to comfort themselves when they're uncomfortable with the person they're with. Keep in mind also that closed body behavior sometimes mean that individual is not comfortable with themselves so don't assume when someone is exhibiting the closed body behavior that they're not comfortable with you. Many times they're not okay with who they are, so don't go negative on them and assume that if they're closing up they may have low self-esteem.

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