Arm and Hand Body Language

How to Win an ArgumentIn this article, I’ll cover  Arm and Hand Body Language Analysis. I know doubt know someone that reads this article will say to themselves, “I just feel more comfortable with my arms crossed in front of me.” Body Language Analysis is used because it has been proven to work for many people.

If you feel comfortable with a specific body position it is because you are feeling a certain way. Ask yourself, when would you feel comfortable with your arms crossed while enjoying yourself with a loved one? Have you ever seen anyone cross their arms in excitement? Just a few things to think about, as you read this article.

This article was created because one of my readers asked for it. If you have any questions leave them in the comment section below. I’ll gladly answer any questions that I can.

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  • When shaking someones hand, if your hand is on top you are trying to dominate and vice versa.
  • An equal handshake, in which both people shake in a vertical manor, with equal pressure, is the best way to generate good rapport.
  • To make sure you are able to create an equal handshake, step slightly to the left and forward when approaching a handshake.
  • Do not shake with both hands or touch any other part of the body unless you have an intimate relationship.
  • At most, a brief touch to the elbow during a handshake has been shown to generate good feelings toward a stranger.

Finding Truth From Hand Body Language

  • A valuable clue to whether the person is being open and honest is whether they are showing their palms or not. Honesty equals palm displays.
  • When men lie they are obvious. When women lie they move around busily.
  • If a person says they can’t do something and they show you their hands they are telling you the truth.
  • If you are talking with your palms it will force others to speak truthfully.
  • Hands clenched in front of a person means that they are holding back a negative reaction.
  • Holding ones wrist in your hand behind your back is an attempt at self control. The farther up the wrist the person is holding is a barometer of frustration and anger.
  • If a person places their head on their open hands as if on a platter they are saying that they admire you.
  • If a person is picking imaginary lint they have a secret opinion that they don’t want to tell you.
  • Hands folded in front, hand in hand, shows they are feeling vulnerable.

Annoying Hand Body Language

  • If you use a palm down gesture you are exercising authority. This will antagonize most people.
  • Pointing at a person is one of the most annoying gestures.
  • Never rub your thumb to your fore-finger around people.
  • The rubbing of the hands together shows that they are expecting something positive.
  • The speed at which they are rubbing shows who they think will benefit. If a person rubs their hands very slowly they are showing they expect results just for themselves.

Authoritative Hand Body Language

  • The steeple hand gesture represents that you are confident and self assured. This gesture should be used very sparingly because it can come across as arrogant. If however you want to guarantee a look of confidence this is the look.
  • By pressing your fore finger to your thumb you will come off as authoritative, but not aggressive.
  • Holding hands behind the back shows that you are confident and feel superior.
  • Hands on hips shows they are preparing to dominate unless the elbows are held close to the body and are submissive.
  • If the person tucks their thumbs in their pants rather than rest their hands on their hips they are being very aggressive.
  • Thumbs protruding from pockets shows that the person feels they are superior to others.
  • If the hands are held out from the body that shows that they are feeling superior.

What the Arms are Saying

Folded Arm Body Language Signs

  • We fold our arms in front of ourselves when we feel threatened or don’t like or trust something.
  • When you fold your arms you lose credibility
  • If you are folding your arms while grasping your biceps it shows that you are feeling insecure.
  • If you clench your fists while folding your arms people will see you as being hostile.
  • Arms crossed with thumbs turned up shows that the person is warming up to you.

Creating Invisible Walls

  • Women will often use their purse to create protection in some situations.
  • If in a meeting a person puts a drink on the opposite side of the hand in which they’re drinking that shows that they feel uncomfortable.

Two Last Tips

It has been shown that if you briefly touch a person’s elbow, which is considered a public space away from intimate parts of the body, for less than three seconds, that gesture will give you three times the chance of getting what you want. Elbow and hand-touching, when done, briefly grabs attention, increases your influence over others, makes you more memorable and creates a positive impression on people. So the next time you meet someone new, briefly touch their elbow. This is considered the easiest way to make a great first impression.

If you are having trouble getting someone to open up. Ex: Arms and Legs are crossed. Offer that person a drink to get them to open up to you. A hot beverage works best because the person will be forced to open up so they don’t burn themselves.

That’s All Folks

I’ll continue with the Gestures and Body Language Tutorial in the next article. If you have any questions leave them below.

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52 Responses to “Arm and Hand Body Language”

  1. olly says:

    I fold my arms with my hands up the sleeves if i’m wearin something big like a fleece and i cross my legs left over right and i just sit back in my chair and just gazing across my room. My top tip is if you don’t like people seeing your hands, just pull them up the sleeves and grab the ends.

    • Olly says:

      Hi my name is Olly and people just think that i’m hiding away when i’ve got a fleece on and my advice is this – if you don’t like people seeing your hands just pull them up the sleeves and grab the ends and then fold your arms and cross your legs.
      30.12.10 18.17pm

  2. donna says:

    hi. i just noticed that whenever i walk i always hold my right wrist with my left hand. how do you interpret this? thanks.

  3. Emma says:

    Hi, when talking in groups or to someone individually i tend to hold my hands together or hold my thumb with the opposite hand. Can you interpret this? Also the most obvious body language which is usually beyond control is when someone goes red in the face when embarrassed. Is there any ways to avoid it or rid it? Just wondering. Thanks

    • admin says:

      It depends on whether you hold your hands together in front of your body, or behind and whether your hands rest above the waist or below. I’m guessing, you hold your hands behind your back which means you are either confident, or trying to restrain yourself from acting, talking, etc.

      Yes blushing is definitely something to look out for

      • Emma says:

        I hold my hands in front of me usually floating around my chest or at my waist, and i fiddle with them

        • admin says:

          This is normally the pose of a person that is constantly thinking. I’d need more information in regards to how tightly you hold your hands for any further analysis

  4. Jennifer says:

    Hi! Just curious, I noticed this the other day. sometimes i walk with only one arm behind my lower back, palm facing out. the other arm is usually holding onto my purse strap over my shoulder or has a folder or notebook.

    • admin says:

      It sounds like this is a posture thing. This position would force you to arch your back from what I imagine. We have many things programmed into our minds that then cause use to react through body positioning. I hope that makes sense

  5. john says:

    I had the weirdest body language, expression or I dont know what to call it. While talking to this girl who works for our company. She locked her fingers in front of her body, palm to palm, then turned her arms outward to show both her medial ante-brachials (had to look this up (the joints behind the elbows where the biceps start.)) while looking to her right through a window. I thought it was weird. Maybe you can shed some light on this. I really appreciate it.

  6. Becky Lewis says:

    Hi. On meeting someone that I’ve met a few times (in relaxed circumstances as friends, not business) I noticed that this person was reaching for my hands a lot. What does this mean?

    It is a person who is not a friend, but we have met before a few times in mutual circumstances. On the most recent occasion this person kept reaching for my hands to shake them, hold them, high fives, etc.

    I can’t find much info about this, I just wondered if its possible to read this kind of body language?


    • admin says:

      A person touches someones hand when they have feelings for them. This happens between females when they are trying to show that they understand the other female. The person instigating the hand touching could also have a desire to become friends with the other. This is normally a desire to jump from a simple relationship towards a more deep friendship.

      People also try to hold someone else’s hand if they feel deeply alone. They have a deep desire to start a two way relationship. They may as well feel that you are drifting away from them.

      I hope that helps

  7. Olly says:

    I sit with my arms and legs crossed while wearing my fleece, i have my hands up the sleeves (don’t know why i do it) but this position can be really comfortable.

  8. Ga says:

    Hey, can I ask about something: What if you hold your hands behind your back (the grip’s relaxed, not too forced or too strong,) while walking? I mean, I’ve noticed this for a few days ago (I guess it’s about, 2-4 days that I’ve been doing this and noticed this.)
    Whenever I do this while walking, I feel relaxed and all.
    But, what does that posture means?

    • admin says:

      That is a sign that you don’t feel threatened which makes sense if you have been in a happy mood lately. Sometimes it can be a sign that you are holding yourself back from interrupting somebody that you are listening to. I hope that helps

  9. Dora says:

    you can see this interview in the following link(there is English subtitles):

    Please tell me everything about the guest. He is in power, his policy in urban renewal makes many poor people suffer.

    • admin says:

      I’m sorry, but the videos are blocked for me. I know when people roll their thumbs like that, that means that they are bored. That is always true as far as I have learned. I hope that helps

  10. Kumar says:

    I have two questions, please advice. One lady worker was lying on a fact infront of my superiors and When I spoke the truth to them infront of her with evidence. she started looking at the wall first without a reply for a while. The next when I put another example of her mistake after that she made a frowned eyebrow reaction and spoke some reply in defence.

    I want to know what the two reactions means, is she trying to hide the truth or any hint can I get about the exact nature of that person.Please let me know. Also she speaks in a very low voice(sounds very unprofessional or intimate at times) while speaking to fellow workers which is not her original voice as I have heard her speaking in a normal voice. She walks with her chin facing a bit upwards always and most of her eye gestures are sideways.

    Could you please let me know what does these body language and scenarios explained above indicates about the person.

    • Derek Banas says:

      It sounds like she was just caught in a lie and was trying to formulate a way out of it. The frown shows that she was disappointed in not finding a defense, or simply upset she was caught.

      Sideways looks show that she is a verbal thinker. She remembers what she has heard above what she has seen. Since most people are visual that will make communication hard for her.

      Her voice changes reinforce the idea that she believes she can win people over with her voice. If you truly want to understand her test her self esteem. I have a self esteem test on my site. With a few questions you’ll learn a great deal. I hope that helps 🙂

  11. Sunil says:


    Your article is wonderful and it is really a learning center.

    I have some questions for you:-

    1)My boss is very unusual kind of a person.Sometimes he acts friendly and discusses many of the facts which a senior person should forbid. But for very minor misses or so he creates a big issue. and he smiles with one cheek, the other one stays unmoved.Any idea what kind of a person he is?

    2)Another girl whom i observed keeps her mouth a bit open(upper lips a bit raised under normal conditions) as if she has to say something. There is no problem in her mouth she is as normal as others, she speaks very less usually but this is one of her habits. What does that indicate?

    3)How can we identify a hypocritical person by her/his body language?Any tips will help , what kind of body movements they have, how they speak.And I would be keen to know how to identify the person is hypocrite when they speak less?

    Thanks and regards,

    • Derek Banas says:

      Thank you very much 🙂 I’m happy that you are enjoying it. I’ll do my best to answer your questions.

      1. The lop-sided smile is used to show sarcasm, or an ironic feeling. It is often used by people that aren’t sure how to react and so they show both a sad and happy emotion at the same time. It sounds like your boss may struggle with understanding what is and what is not appropriate very often. This is very common for men that were raised to be somewhat chauvinistic, but who now must adapt to the changing work place. I don’t think I’d like to be married to this man if I was a woman

      2. Parted lips show the sign that the person wants to talk. If just the top row of teeth are showing this is a grimace of disgust normally if the eyes are not kind.

      3. I’m not sure you can tell if a person is a hypocrite through body language. I have found the easiest way to tell if a person is worth being around is to gage their self esteem. Here is a self esteem test for personality.

      I hope that helps

  12. JJ Mitch says:

    What source did you gather this information from?

    • Derek Banas says:

      I used to work for a company that made custom sales tools for corporations. We literally went through every best selling book, law enforcement books, training tapes, everything. We then tested what everyone agreed on

  13. PL says:

    Hi there. I don’t normally do this but I’m front of my crush I kind of held my shoulders apart, clasping my hand over my other hand and sometimes my wrist when she was talking to a group. She looked down at my hand and then carried on. How do you think she saw this? I’m confused myself to be honest.

    • Derek Banas says:

      This is sort of an aggressive position. You took up a lot of room by holding your shoulders apart which is aggressive. Crossed arms are aggressive. By clasping your wrist that showed that you were trying to restrain yourself. By holding your hands in front of yourself that showed you were protecting yourself. She probably thought you looked aggressive, or that you didn’t feel comfortable

  14. PianoGirl3 says:

    I always sit with my legs crossed, and I sort of hug myself with my sleeves covering my hands. Does this mean anything particularly?

    • Derek Banas says:

      You may be cold? It is important to baseline and eliminate comfortable body language and then watch what changes during questioning. I should have spent more time on that in the video.

  15. lili says:

    What does it mean when a boy holds the tips of a girl’s hand?

  16. sam says:

    I was just speaking with someone that i admire and like and the whole time i had my hands clasped in front if me, held up at my chest, was i protecting myself? It was not unlike a pray clasp! Your thoughts please and thankyou

  17. christa says:

    Hello, I am a vertical hand shaker I recently shook the hand of a male Palm downer and I discovered with out realizing why, my pointer and middle finger extended out to touch his wrist. This was the conclusion of a first time conversation. I was wondering if you had any insight.

    • Derek Banas says:

      If a person means to flip your palm up during a handshake and you resist they will subconsciously take that as an insult. I always let people do what ever they’d like with my hand. That way I see how they see me. I then can use body language analysis and indirect hypnosis to turn them towards my side if I want.

  18. Romario says:

    Hey if a there is a friendship between a guy and a girl and the guy tend to put his hand around the girls back what does that mean

  19. anon says:

    I discovered recently that I can cross my arms behind my back, exactly the same as how you cross the in the front. I can even put either hand on top. I find it relaxing and it does not pull my shoulders open, I can still slouch or hold any position I like. Could people perceive that as anything or is it just a quirk?

  20. Alex says:

    I recently realized that I have a weird tendency of holding my hands up in front of my chest. It’s rather hard to describe, but imagine a prairie dog’s, or perhaps a t-rex’s, arms. It feels completely natural to me. What could this mean?

    • Derek Banas says:

      With your hands apart? I’m not certain. I’d love to know more since I don’t think i have com across this.

    • Emiesha says:

      @Alex, if you mean holding them up the way a person does when they’re pretending to be a rabbit or something (elbows bent, hands close to chest, wrists bent downward so palms are facing chest), I do this too, havent been able to find anything on it though x.x

      @Derek Banas, I don’t know about Alex of course, but as for me I’ve noticed that when I do put my arms down at my sides the blood rushes to them quickly and feels uncomfortable to me, while keeping them up doesn’t
      seem to do that or become tiring like you think that it would. but I cant think of any other information on it than that

  21. David says:

    I was recently asked why when talking to a colleague, I put my wrists on my waist with hands pointed out/back with palms-up.

    This posture was started while working with micro-biological organisms years ago trying to not contaminate anything.

    What is this posture telling people?

  22. Dee says:

    Hi. You wrote: “It has been shown that if you briefly touch a person’s elbow…for less than three seconds, that gesture will give you three times the chance of getting what you want. Elbow and hand-touching, when done briefly, grabs attention, increases your influence over others, makes you more memorable and creates a positive impression on people.

    Upon a first introduction, a man shakes a woman’s hand firmly (but not crushingly) and holds it, while holding and squeezing her elbow with his left hand. This was much longer than 3 seconds! While looking intensely into her eyes, this handshake and elbow squeeze/rub lasted the entire 20-30 seconds he spoke, as if there were not 200 people in the room and others in line behind her waiting to greet him. He did not do this with everyone else. Woman was voluntarily in line to greet him and actively listen to his comments.

    What is your interpretation of this?

    Thank you!

    (PS: I’m really enjoying your website. I found it by searching Google+.)

    • Derek Banas says:

      This is definitely a dominant move made by someone that understands body language. I would never do this to a person because I don’t consider it a way to kindly show your interest, but instead this is a power play that says he is in control of them.

  23. Jenn Hugh says:

    Hi! So, my question is what happens if you feel more comfortable while holding, actually grasping, someone’e t-shirt/shirt in your hands or just their shirt sleeve, maybe while walking or just like that – what does that signify?

    PS : Nice article!

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