Thursday, April 12, 2012

Overzealous reading & Misreading of Body Language

My boss told me a few months after I was selected that she selected me in spite of my ‘hostile’ body language during the interview…she knew that I was not hostile and that I was sitting in my typical posture i.e. arms folded across my chest.
Folding my hands across my chest is my most typical posture when I have no use for my hands. I stand in this posture while waiting in lines at bus stops, when I am chatting with someone, while watching the milk come to a boil on the stove…I feel neither hostility nor anger against anyone ….I adopt this posture because it’s the best way of staying warm (I feel cold at least 9 months of the year in Toronto); Or maybe I stand in that position because it is something I have done for decades. I do not know, how this came to be my typical posture; but this is my posture and as I said before, there is no anger or hostility or any emotion for that matter, when I am in this position.
I hope I do not have to change my posture…. I hope that the people stop defining body language in such narrow rigid terms. People should accept that the body language of people from different cultures mean different things or mean absolutely nothing….a posture is a posture and may mean nothing else!
I am getting sick and tired of putting my hands on the table when I am at meetings. I prefer sitting with hands folded across chest and one leg across the other. To put my hands on the table each time I remember that I ‘look hostile’ is such a bore. Even if I do put my hands on the table, in no time at all, my hands are back in their usual position i.e. folded across my chest…without me noticing!
People should stop interpreting every gesture, frown, smile, posture, tremor, tic, movement, expression, stoop, walk, dress of people. People who keep interpreting body language or ‘reading between lines’ often jump to wrong conclusions and also argue endlessly that their conclusions are right! For example, a colleague told me that I look sad and asked what my problem was. I was actually  feeling bored, not sad, but I could not convince my questioner  that I was bored, not sad!
Would a burka help me? The burka, especially the Saudi Arabian one which covers one, completely from head to toe will stop anyone from reading  or misreading body language or facial expressions!

1 comment:

Buronic said...

Cardigan ,

I agree with your post. I had someone tell me awhile back in the hallway at church because I was leaning against the wall that I was not sure of myself, of course he was completely wrong because years ago I had a back injury and would lean on walls or a table to lift weight off of my back.

I think some body language might be learned from watching others when a person is young and not just an expression of emotion.


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