11 Subtle Gestures That Can Reveal a Person Is Insecure Right Away

3 years ago

People don’t like to show their weaknesses, so in difficult moments, we try to hide our insecurities and show others that we are in control of the situation and that we feel comfortable. However, words alone aren’t enough for these purposes — body language can reveal the real emotions and feelings of a person.

We at Bright Side have come up with a list of gestures that will come in handy for those who want to learn how to read the person they’re talking to like an open book and stop looking shy.

1. Slouching

Poor posture is not only harmful to our health, but it also tells others a lot about a person’s character. Insecure people do their best to be invisible, so they often begin to slouch when they are in a stressful situation.

study conducted by Ohio State University showed that people who were asked to sit with their back straight rated their own strengths and abilities better, while those who were slouching were more susceptible to negative emotions and low self-esteem.

2. Crossing your arms and legs

Crossed arms are a barrier that a person uses to feel separated from the outside world, unconsciously protecting their vital organs — their lungs and their heart. In this position, we can both comfort ourselves by relieving stress through self-hugging, and we can show an active defense of our personal boundaries. In any case, closed poses eloquently indicate that a person is uncomfortable at the current moment.

Crossing your legs is a more subtle way of expressing your insecurity because people often tend to ignore the lower body of the person they are speaking with. However, this body position can also indicate that a person is in an awkward situation.

3. Swinging your leg

The farther a body part is located from the brain, the less we can control it. A person tracks their facial expressions well, and we can even specifically change it to suit the situation. But we hardly pay attention to the movements of our legs. However, leg swinging is an attempt by the human psyche to compensate for a lot of stress.

4. Fidgeting

When a person is extremely nervous, the brain sends a signal saying, “Calm me down!” And the hands immediately “respond” to this request. Quick movements, touching different objects, clothes, jewelry, and hair are all forms of calming behavior that help a person feel comfortable again.

5. Hiding your hands in your pockets

In some cultures, the hand-in-pocket gesture is considered rude. But even if we put aside the questions of etiquette, this posture is most often perceived by people as a sign of isolation, a reserved demeanor, and a suggestion that a person is hiding something.

6. Covering your mouth with your hand or finger

Covering your mouth with your hand is a gesture used by children when they realize that they’ve said something superfluous. As people grow up, they gain better control over their body language, but the protection of the mouth by the hand may still be present, just in a more disguised form. When a person is afraid or doesn’t want to express their opinion, the brain sends signals to restrain spoken words at the subconscious level and the fingers reach for the lips without any control.

7. Constantly touching different parts of your body

Stroking the neck, touching the forehead, and scratching parts of the body are automatic gestures we do to relieve tension. They indicate that a person is experiencing emotional discomfort, having doubts about something, or feeling insecure.

8. Sitting on the edge of a chair

People who are nervous feel helpless and small, and the world around them seems hostile and unfriendly. Sitting on the edge of a chair may be seen as a manifestation of stiffness, where a person wants to be invisible and take up as little space as possible.

9. Coughing before saying anything

When trying to disguise the hand-over-mouth gesture, people may fake coughs before speaking. Another reason for this behavior may be that a person who is under stress has a faster heart rate, gets sweaty, and has a dry mouth, and coughing helps them to cope with a dry throat.

10. Unnatural smile

A smile can be a protective reaction of the body that helps a person try to hide their nervousness. A fake smile can be distinguished by its excessiveness when the corners of the mouth are raised too high, or when the muscles around the eyes don’t move.

11. Standing in the same position for a long time

There are 3 defensive reactions that are shown by the body in conditions where we feel threatened — to hit, to run, or to freeze. An insecure person probably can’t openly confront an enemy, and they don’t always succeed in running away, that’s why, at the moment of stress, this person may freeze and wait for the unpleasant situation to end.

Have you ever paid attention to the gestures you use in a stressful situation?


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Yeah — you can tell a great deal about a person just from their posture.


I don’t think Megan Markle is for sure insecure. We know the Queen has her own rules about where her hands are, gloves, handbag, etc so Megan having her hands in her pockets cannot fully be compared to let’s say us having ours in our pockets.


i used to sit comfortably while working with my legs crossed even if I am working from home.. will that still be the same thing? I'm just wondering...


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