3 Body Language Signals to Communicate Friendliness

August 10, 2016

Have you ever felt that someone rubbed you the wrong way without even having spoken to them? Are you the type of person who doesn’t understand why other people might hold certain prejudices against you? Would you like to be one of those people who is welcomed right off the bat? One of those who is liked by others and is treated by others as if you have been friends for life? The answer is in your body language.

Your body is constantly sending signals. Your voice is not the only thing that speaks for you. Even when you are silent, your body is saying something. If what you want is to be liked more and seem more friendly, being funny or trying to be present in every single conversation is not the only thing that is going to determine how well others like or accept you. In fact, it might not work at all.

In fact, if you wish to leave a better impression, you can achieve this without even opening your mouth. The way you move your eyes, the way you sit down or move your arms and many other, apparently insignificant, gestures can help you make a better impression and be better liked.

Mind your attitude, express it with your body

The human mind is critical of what it sees. Thanks to this we have been able to evolve as a species. In a fraction of a second, our mind is capable of identifying if someone is a threat or if they are useful for our survival. It’s all a matter of instinct.

In this sense, our body language betrays us. Acting on this body language we can “fool” others’ instincts so that it is easier to establish relationships.

group of young adults conversing

But beyond manipulating others’ perceptions, our body language allows us to be more sure of ourselves and express ourselves as we wish. Not minding our body language can send messages that contradict what we may wish to communicate. 

That’s why it’s necessary to watch your attitude. If you put up a wall with your posture or your way of standing, you’re not giving others the chance to get to know you. If you act silly, you will be taken for a fool. If you act standoffish, you will be taken as such. Thus, if you want to seem friendly, act like it and mind your attitude.

But, what kind of attitude does a friendly person usually have? The secret to having a friendly attitude is conveying care for the other person. See what you can do to help people, but without insisting or abusing. It’s about seeming willing and helpful, without being servile or irritating.

Mind your posture and improve your body language

Posture, as part of body language, influences the second snap judgement that people make about others. Among other things, we see in the other person’s posture what they think about themselves, and it lets us create an idea of the kind of person they are.

In order to find a positive posture, you should be erect and relaxed. Your body is subjected to two forces, one that pulls you to the ground and anchors you to the earth, and another one which lifts you, making you look and move forward. Your shoulders should be pulled slightly backwards in order to let your torso expand with each breath, which should be slow and paused. In order to improve your appearance and posture, try to maintain your legs slightly separated and your back erect, but not rigid.

This, though it seems to be pulled straight from a yoga class, is what differentiates someone with a haughty or arrogant attitude from someone who is in tune with their surroundings. It differentiates a defeatist and pessimistic person from one with the will to live and enjoy life.

On the other hand, when you talk to someone, you should keep an open posture, without covering your chest with your arms, seeming to hunch into yourself or leaning back or away. Open up to the person you’re talking to. This denotes confidence and comfort. Besides, you should avoid leaning on objects or playing with something in your hands, since this denotes passiveness and insecurity.

four young adults sitting down

Smile and wave

Regardless of what you feel, if you know the people at a certain place when you arrive or not, if you want to seem friendly, always smile and greet them. It doesn’t matter if the other person bothers to open their mouth in reply, or if they simple remain silent. It doesn’t matter how many times you have seen them that week or that same day. Smiling and greeting people should be a habit. Do it always.

You don’t have to yell a greeting or try to catch the other’s attention. Simply smile and greet or wave at them, establishing visual contact in a personal manner, greet with a slight nod, even if you don’t know the person. Those you do know, come up to them slowly and take your time, even if you don’t know them very well. This shows confidence and reflects an open attitude that doesn’t go unnoticed by others.

An old trick that works very well when you don’t know anyone and want to seem like a sociable and friendly person is to greet your imaginary friends, in a natural manner without any fuss.

A smile should be a part of your facial expression by default. It’s not about forcing it onto your face, but rather internalizing a feeling of happiness, of acting as if you were seeing or experiencing something you like. This will relax your face, especially the area of your forehead, and will make your gaze much friendlier.