We are not rational. According to Merriam Webster, to be…
When we think about body language, we often think about someone’s posture or facial expressions – how someone’s arms are crossed, how someone’s legs are crossed, how their eyes are moving etc. If we want to go even further, we can even observe their actions and determine their habits and personality. I believe that a person’s personality can, in a way, affect their habits, affecting how they perform on most occasions. Like I said before with any body language posts, it is important to see the complete picture. Someone’s actions may be a one off incident. Let me share with you some examples of how we can gain more insight into someone’s character through how they behave:
A slow walker may mean someone who likes to take her time leisurely and not rush through things. On the contrary, a fast walker may be someone who’s constantly busy, is impatient, or is goal oriented and would like to get to his destination in the quickest time possible. Someone who slouches when they walk may be insecure about themselves; someone who puts his chest up is confident of himself. Someone who is relaxed may swing their arms on their sides, whereas someone who feels shy may have their hands deep in their pockets. When someone sees an attractive person, they may put a little more emphasis on their “attractiveness” of their walk. Someone who is usually happy may have a “hop” towards their walk, like how kids skip when they are happy.
As you can see, these walking behaviors could be isolated incidents and may not truly reflect one’s true character. Someone may usually be a slow walker but happen to walk fast that day because of an urgent situation. Society and culture also affect how one should walk, so a man may walk with bigger spaces to convey dominance, whereas a woman who walks the same way may be conveyed as unfeminine, and therefore, may appear to walk in a more “passive” manner when her personality may not be so.
A fast talker may be someone who’s insecure. She may feel the need to express every word she says because she doesn’t feel valued. Someone who doesn’t “think before they speak” may also be someone who is clumsy or careless often times. A slow, slurred talker may be someone who is lazy. An emotional talker may be someone who’s really excited about life. Someone who speaks in a soft tone may be conservative or shy or insecure of whether their words will be valued.
Not only can actions be isolated, actions may also change depending on the environment. A man who speaks confidently and with lots of wit amongst his group of friends might do so because he’s often perceived as the leader of the group and feels no pressure in expressing himself at all. When it comes to talking with his boss around however, he immediately stutters, speaks little if any, and is often barely audible.
Eating is something that I find to have a more accurate reflection of a person’s character compared with other actions like talking and walking. Generally though, the more unconscious an action is, the more I find it to be revealing of someone’s character. That’s why usually when eating in front of strangers or lots of people, the results conveyed from their eating actions are not as reflective of one’s character as say eating between two friends.
In general, people who eat slow tend to enjoy their life and appreciate things. They eat their ice cream in nibbles. They like to appreciate the taste of it and enjoy the moment. This is also true with everything else they do with life. On the other end is the people who like to eat fast. They finish their ice cream in a few bites. They are more impatient and tend to like to get things done. These people are in a hurry (maybe because they like to spend time doing more productive things).
Someone who is adamant about certain etiquettes at the dining table may be very strict on rules. In contrast, someone who doesn’t pay attention or doesn’t care about etiquettes may be someone who doesn’t care how you do things, as long as you get the results done with, ie. she doesn’t care whether you eat the dim sum with chopsticks or a fork. She doesn’t care whether the knife is positioned on your left or right. She may have a more lenient character.
Showering is similar to eating. Someone who likes to take their time to shower, someone who enjoys their batheing time, is likely someone who likes to take their time to appreciate life and enjoy the moment. Again on the opposite side of the spectrum is someone who likes to hurry and get things done so that they can proceed with the next thing on their agenda.
As I stated at the beginning, these actions should be used as indications, and are not conclusive, of someone’s character. In fact, it may only reflect the person’s emotions at that isolated situation only, due to what has happened to them prior to or currently of the situation. With body language, it is always important to take consideration of all factors (situation, their actions, their postures, the behavior afterwards) to see if they are consistent with your assumptions. Also, we want to look for consistency. If a person tends to always talk fast all the time, then we can conclude that behavior to be consistent.
What other everyday activities do people do that may also reflect of who they are?