Body Language: Honest Feet
The Secret Body Language Of Feet
It is important to examine the human body and understand what it tells us. Usually when we want to assess a situation, we start with the face, but the problem is that from an early age we are taught to hide what we feel. We know how to put on a mask. Do you remember your mom saying: “Do not make this face”? In some cultures hiding emotions is a social norm. For example, people of Eastern cultures – China or Japan—know how to smile even when they think something negative. The social mask is a requirement, but there is no mask for the feet.
The feet are controlled by our limbic brain, which is responsible for assuring our survival. If we go on the roof of a tall building or visit Niagara Falls, we feel the limbic brain taking control. It will not let us near something that might be dangerous. It might let us look over the edge, but the feet will stay a little further back.
Another example from daily life is when observing a couple. If the feet touch, then the relationship is good. In many marriages, spouses sleep in one bed, but they do not allow their feet to even go near each other. This is an indicator of a very bad relationship.
When involved in a conversation with a friend and another person joins in, you greet the third person. But if your feet do not turn to point towards the new person, he is not invited in the conversation. People with insufficient social skills might not be able to recognize the message of this type of body language.
Often in a courtship situation, the guy may wonder if he is liked or not. If during a conversation a woman is dangling her shoe from the tips of her toes, it is an indicator that she feels comfortable around the man. He is being liked. If someone walks into the room, she immediately puts the shoe back on.
Another example of feet conveying emotions is when you tell your children that you are going to take them somewhere fun, like Universal or Disney. Typically, children respond by lifting a foot (or feet, if excited enough to jump) in the air, which is commonly called “happy feet”. When feet defy gravity, we convey positive emotions.
Feet can reveal intentions. If your friend’s feet point towards the door, he is not interested in being with you. Being socially polite, perhaps, but he wants out.
Feet are just the beginning, however. Legs are a different story, which we’ll discuss in the next post.
Become an savvy observer and learn with the body language expert and analyst Kevin Hogan.