Why NoBody lies
Humans have learned to communicate thoughts, feelings, and ideas via numerous methods. From sounds and noises intertwined with meanings, to the language of sign, one not spoken, but understood with hand gestures meticulously chosen, as well as written symbols, whether they be letters or characters, encapsulate cultures in an atemporal capsule that makes up what we typically perceive as language (for an interesting “spoken” language, look at Sylbo, a language comprised of whistling). However, one of the underlying truths that seems to restrain nearly every language (except for mathematics) from being universally known, or spoken, is, as redundant as it may seem, the lack of being universally practiced.
Yet, there is one more language that isn’t spoken, that isn’t typically used to intentionally communicate information, and more importantly, that is universal. That language is the language of the body – conventionally known as body language.
Reading body language is something that some consider impossible to learn. This is because it is a rather difficult school of knowledge one can test and master, whether it be the reading of bodily, facial, or paraverbal cues – paraverbal cues meaning how one says words (which includes tone of voice, for example). Interestingly enough, there are people that to do this in order to subject themselves to less strife or discord, people such as tourists. Often times, when you find yourself in a new country, surrounded by a language alien to you, you’ll learn that the best way to go about finding your hotel or a restaurant, for example, is to simply ask a local. You will find that more times than not, you’ll approach a person that appears to be friendly and well, approachable, as opposed to someone that isn’t. But why is this? Well, it’s simple really – you read their body language, knowingly or not. You pick up on the bodily cues of the man that’s sitting with an umbrella, legs spread, reading a book, as being non-threatening, and almost, welcoming, as opposed to the lady that just hurriedly crossed your path with her head down. No words were spoken, no signs or symbols were deciphered, yet, you understood.
There are also some who read body language to simply make money – and lots of it. I’m referring to poker players of course. Many, if not all, poker players have inescapably heard the idiom along the lines of “never play your cards, but the cards of your opponents.” In other words, you want to know what cards your opponents are playing, so that you know when you have the winning hand, when you don’t, when you should bluff, and when you shouldn’t. In poker, reading body language is colloquially understood as reading tells. And it’s in the name, you’re “reading” what their body is “telling” you, whether it be a shift in their eyes, a scratch to the back of their neck, or anything really. Some have tried to work around this by wearing sunglasses to hide the tells their eyes give off.
The beautiful, yet horrifying, thing about body language is that if one understands it, understands how to manipulate it, and understands how it’ll influence others, it can be used it to fake any aspect of ones life. I’ll use myself for example (emphasis on “for example”), it’s completely possible that because of past circumstances, or past interests, that I’ve learned to express specific bodily cues to arise specific emotions or thoughts from those I’m interacting with. To lead anyone, or everyone, to believe that I’m a docile, at times timid, and modest person. “But why” you may ask, “why do any of that, why fake any of that,” well, it can be many things really, it can be to gain trust, to be accepted, or simply for the fun of it. Again, emphasis on “example.” In poker, this is often times called bluffing – pretending you have a certain hand when you don’t in order to win the round at play.
I’ll cut the post “short” and conclude it with some novice “tells” you can begin to read up on. Though, keep in mind, it is important to understand the differences between someone’s habitual tendencies, and responsive, or “telling,” gestures, as well as understanding that some responsive movements are just that, instinctive responses. Like I said, it’s an arduous and complicated language to learn to read.