Body Language

The unspoken form of human communication that we all have available to us is that of body language. Some of us are better at observing and decoding it than others are.

Learning how it works and how it can be interpreted and used to our advantage has many benefits that can enrich our lives if we have the desire to do so.

In this sector of the website, I delve into the almost magic-like subject of body language since its understanding can lead to all kinds of opportunities that might remain hidden from those that don't dive into this pool of knowledge!

What is Body Language?

body languageTo really know what this form of communication is, we need to take a history lesson that goes way back in time to a period in humankind's development before the spoken word had been developed into a verbal form of communication.

Back in the days of our early ancestors, we were not too different from the animals that we shared the planet with in that the only way to get a message from individual to individual was via visual signs that could be picked up by another and interpreted to mean the thing that the originator wanted transmitted.

That all sounds like a mouthful, but what it boils down to is that if we take any modern mammal, say a cat for example and observe its behavior when in company of others of its species, we can see repeated body movements that do indeed transmit messages to other cats. A simple signal like ears pinned back tells another cat that this one is likely to strike out with open claws if it's not left alone!

A female cat will walk in a certain way that signals to males in the vicinity that she is in season and in the mood for mating - a visual signal that can be seen long before distant males are close enough to pick up her scent. Similarly, a dominant male in the area will posture and prance to show other males he is top cat and anyone else had better be ready for a serious fight if they want that female!

Caveman Communication

Just like animals, ancient humans without the convenience of verbal language had to rely on visual body movements and postures to communicate basic needs and wants with others. Since life was very simple, the main needs of the day were for food, water, shelter and producing offspring. The need for personal growth came later.

As humans formed family groups or tribes, communication within each family needed to exist to create and maintain a rudimentary hierarchical structure, a structure for producing enough food for everyone to eat and to raise and protect the children from the threat posed by marauding outsiders and wild animals. They needed to know if a child was hurt, hungry or too cold or too hot.

The women needed to know which male was considered the main man to lead the group and produce the strongest offspring. Everyone needed to know which men were strong enough to hunt and feed the tribe.

The mating game back then was rather different from the way it is now. But even so, males needed to know if a female was available and who she desired most. Females needed to know which male was her best choice to pass on the strongest genes to produce the strongest children. Their body language told them these things and they knew how to read and act upon the signs. It was a case of survival of the fittest after all!

As human skills developed to the use of tools for building structures for shelter and weapons for more effectively hunting and killing animals for food, the needs for more complex communications eventually lead to vocal sounds and grunts becoming the forebears of basic verbal language.

The Mating Game in Humans

It may come as no great surprise to learn that modern humans also exhibit certain visual mating signals that are meant to be passed from male to female and female to male as a part of our basic makeup that is intended to help us maintain the growth and development of our own species. Non-verbal communication has two major advantages over the verbal kind:

  1. Body language does not lie. Most signals given off are completely unconscious and not governed by our intellect (which most certainly does have the capacity to lie).
  2. The body's posture and positioning can be seen over a greater distance than the voice can be heard in certain situations.

That way, a woman is able to signal a man she has noticed from afar that she may be interested in getting to know him better. The man, in an ideal world would notice the woman's interest and go over to make the initial verbal contact.

In an Ideal World

Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world for many things. Our ability to read physical signals is severely limited compared to our ancestors. It is as if we have literally evolved by leaving many of our most useful skills behind!

While women possess a much more enhanced non-verbal communication reading skill set compared to most men, there are still many ways that these non-verbal messages are missed by both sexes, albeit far more men than women fail to read and interpret them.

What can we do to bring back these long-lost skills? What do we need to know in order to decode the often powerful visual messages that we are sending one another?

The simple answer is simple knowledge. That knowledge exists and can be learned by anyone who is interested to learn it. For that reason, I have personally delved into this subject with a rather more than keen interest in knowing what I need to know in order to know what you're trying to tell me in not so many words.

In zero word, as a matter of fact!

Further Reading:

In the following series of articles, I have written down my findings where I go into more detail about non-verbal communication and lift the veil of mystery that surrounds many of the most basic and what should be the most obvious of signs that we all transmit. The list of titles of articles that you can click and read is below: