Tibi(a) or not tibi(a)


Merry Schlarman

Find out what messages your body is conveying based on the nonverbals you're exhibiting.

Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter: a high schooler’s hub for the latest scoop. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media as much as the next teenager, but when it comes to one’s true feelings for me, there’s only one form of communication I trust: body language. Here, find out if that smize from your chemistry partner meant something or if the uncontrollable blinking was just an attempt to rid the sodium hydroxide from his eyes.

#1. Eyes: As Shakespeare once said, “eyes are the window to the soul.” Understanding one’s gaze can reveal a great deal about someone. Make note of any and all eye movements while communicating with others, for each nonverbal signal carries purpose. Yes, strong eye contact demonstrates respect and attentiveness, but breaking it too often implies disrespect. The Chicago Tribune signifies how other microexpressions, such as high dilation, indicate desire or attraction for another person. Don’t get it twisted, environment also is a key contributor to the scheme of a person’s stare. Think about it, it’s not your fault if you’ve got heart eyes for Boston cream pie.

#2. Mouth: Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room. I think we all remember that one lip biter in elementary school whose lips practically fell off. No, they weren’t weird, they were probably just stressed about a kickball tournament or their next spelling test. Princeton University depicts how mouth expressions are interpreted in a multitude of approaches. For one, pursed lips indicate disapproval, whereas chewing on your bottom lip may be geared toward feelings of worry and insecurity. Whether it’s a smirk or a pout, there’s more depth extending beyond a facial expression than meets the eye.

Personal space can make or break a situation.”

#3. Personal Space: Sure, absence makes the heart grow fonder, but how am I supposed to miss you when you’re greeting me four inches away with Taki breath? Alas, the phrase ‘too close for comfort’ is too real. Forbes illustrates the need for levels of distance, categorizing each one for specific situations. Intimate distance (6 to 18 inches apart) typically occurs in romantic relationships where closeness presents itself through canoodling and candor. Personal and social distances (4 to 8 feet apart) appear more often among acquainted groups such as family members and co-workers. (Note: These distances may extend farther depending on the dental hygiene habits of those you are talking to).

#4. Arms + Legs: Upon first attempting to read an unfamiliar face, it can be helpful to glimpse at their upper and lower limbs. When evaluating newcomers, it’s not uncommon to subconsciously hone in on body signals; deciphering whether they’re inviting. While it can be a mindless matter, crossed arms exhibit a defensive persona. Worry not; your lab partner doesn’t hate you, Jimmy, her legs are crossed because she doesn’t need you looking up her skirt again. Less commonly known mannerisms the Huffington Post touches on such as hands behind the back, hint at boredom or anxiety, while finger tapping resonates with impatience and frustration.

#5. Feet: According to The New York Times, our feet are the most honest part of our bodies. A clear indicator regarding one’s engagement toward another can be analyzed via the direction their feet face. Catching up with an old flame over coffee and croissants? Chances are, if you detect she’s more interested in the barista than your stale tale about guys’ night last Saturday, do yourself a favor and move on. It’s nothing personal, just a polite way her tootsies’ want to tell you ta-ta. Hey, don’t get discouraged. You’ll get ‘em next time.

Whether or not you choose to listen to these nonverbals is entirely your choice. Just promise me this: you’ll never go out empty handed because after all, “you’re never fully dressed without a smile.”