What Does Body Language Of The Hands Mean (Find Out More)

  • By: Phil Taylor
  • Time to read: 10 min.

Body Language Of The Hands

The hands are extremely expressive and can tell quite a bit about what someone is feeling and thinking.

When the palm of the hand is facing up this typically means that somebody is open and receptive to new information. If somebody has their palms facing down then they may be closed off or defensive.

The fingers can also send a message: if they’re tightly clenched then someone may be angry or stressed, but if they are open they tend to be more comfortable within themselves.

Our hands are used in many ways in body language. We use them to emphasize points, called illustrators, we use them to calm ourselves down, called pacifiers, we use them to hide away, called blocking, and we also use them to defend ourselves if necessary.

Understanding the sign language of the deaf is a must in order to communicate with them.

If you believe in evolution, we have to take it as a given to understand body language. As we came from the jungle and plains of Africa, our front legs would now be our arms and hands and our rear legs would be our feet & legs. This has enabled us to use our hands in many different ways. Before words were hand signals used? It’s a possibility? Right?

Our hands are our way of feeling the world, expressing ourselves, and exploring objects around us, and giving life.

Reading The Hand Correctly

It is always important to note a person’s nonverbal cues when reading their body language. A lot of nonverbal leakages can be subconsciously given away with hand movement.

Body in Spanish | English to Spanish
Body in Spanish | English to Spanish

First Impressions Of The Hands

First impressions count, we all know this and have been told this many times. You have made your mind up within five seconds if the person you are looking at is a friend or foe

Hands are used to conceal weapons or tools, so they are the second place a person will scan automatically when meeting someone for the first time.

As the hands are the second place we look our first impressions of them are important. If you see a clean, open palm, you will assume the person is non-threatening. Conversely, if you don’t see the hand or it is behind the back, you will automatically be aware of the person trying to hide something.

Hand Health

Your hands will send a strong signal about your health and wellbeing.

Keeping your hands in top condition is important if you want to send the signal that you are not a threat.

There are some jobs that should consider the condition of their hands as extra important.

  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Dentists
  • Lawyers
  • Public Facing Customers Service Representatives
  • Sales Executives
  • Child Care
  • Teachers
  • Entertainers

Think about how your hands interact with your environment on a day-to-day basis and consider how this shapes you as a person.

Talking With The Hands

Talking With The Hands

Body language is an important part of communication. People use it to express their feelings, emotions, opinions, and attitudes.

Different cultures have different gestures that are used to communicate specific things. So, if you are communicating with someone from a different culture it can be hard to understand what they are trying to say with their body language if they use different gestures than you would expect them to.

As people, we often communicate with our hands to illustrate points, demonstrate how we feel, or communicate when people can’t hear us. There are many universal meanings that we communicate with our hands in body language. We have listed the main ones below.

  1. Ok
  2. Thumb up
  3. Middle finger up (Commonly know as the bird or flipping someone off)
  4. Stop
  5. Come on
  6. Pointing at something or someone
  7. Holding our hands on our head
  8. Gun sign or signal
  9. Throat cutting action
  10. Finger Crossed

There are many more gestures we use with our hands, but the above are the main ones we understand in the Western world.

What Does Wringing Or Rubbing Of The Hands Mean

Hand gestures are a way that body language communicates messages about an individual’s thoughts, feelings, or state of mind. Wringing the hands usually indicates inward, tension, or stress in the body. It’s a way of pacifying yourself or self-soothing when you feel out of place or under threat. It’s worth taking note when you see someone wring their hands together.

Questions to ask yourself: What is the context of the conversation? Who is in the room that could make them feel under pressure or uneasy? What has changed in the environment to make them wring their hands?

Remember that there are no absolutes in body language. We have to read in clusters in order to get a true understanding of what’s going on. You can learn about reading body language here.

Hand rubbing or wringing can have a few different meanings. Some people think it means the person is excited and ready to get started on something, while others believe it means they are lying.

Rubbing your hands together can also be a sign of nervousness or anxiety.

Hands On Hips Meaning In Body Language

A person’s body language may give clues about what they are thinking or feeling at a given time. Hands-on hips can have a few different meanings depending on context and environment.

Male hands on hips can mean they want to look like they are in charge. A big clue to their confidence is if you see their thumbs behind their hips and their elbows sticking out, think police officer or someone who wants to confront you with something they feel is important to them.

Female hands on hips have a different meaning depending on the context. It can be a display to a mate, showing off her body. Or a flirtatious gesture. Again, we have to take the context of the situation into account as hands on the hips could also indicate dominance.

Simply remember the body language used by somebody who is standing with their hands on their hips often shows they are feeling confident about themselves or about what they are saying or want to say something. If you see the thumbs behind the hips they want to take action and if you see the hands on the hips with the thumbs forward they are thinking about something or trying to figure something out.

What Does Sitting On Your Hands Mean In Body Language

The meaning of this gesture is not always the same. In some cases, it’s a sign of submission, surrender, or defeat. In other cases, it might be a sign of impatience or frustration and it can also mean holding or withholding information. It could be as simple as their hands are cold. Remember, we have to read in context before we can conclude our findings, which is why a baseline is so important.

In most cases, this gesture is used to indicate that the person doesn’t want to do something and isn’t going to take action. It can also indicate boredom or a lack of interest in what’s being said or done.

Sitting on the hands can mean suppression of some kind of internal feeling. If you see someone sitting on their hands, ask yourself what preceded that? If you find yourself sitting on your hands, try to figure out why. This will give you a big clue into your own body language habits.

What Does Hands On Face Mean

What Does Hands On Face Mean

When somebody feels embarrassed, they might bury their face in their hands. This is a universal human gesture that can be interpreted as feeling shy, embarrassed, ashamed, or nervous.

Researchers have found that people make this gesture when they are embarrassed because it signals to the other person that they are not looking at them or their facial expressions. It is also possible for someone to make this gesture if they feel tense and need to withdraw from the situation for a moment to calm themselves down.

What Does Body Language Hands Together Mean

What Does Body Language Hands Together Mean

The most common meaning that it has is that the person is being respectful with someone else. The second meaning would be that the person doesn’t want to respond but wants to hear more before they give an answer.

Lastly, with hands together, it could also mean that they agree or don’t disagree with what you said.

You will also see hands come together as they steep if you see steeple hands, this is usually a display of confidence.

What Does Body Language Hands Touching Mean

What Does Body Language Hands Touching Mean

Hand touching people can mean different things in different cultures and environments. How many times we touch others is a good way to show them how we feel. When we feel close to someone, we will touch them more often.

Most higher statues people like your boss will touch you or pat you on the back when you have done a good job or they like your work.

It can be difficult if you don’t touch people naturally, but it’s something that’s ingrained in us from a young age. However, if you don’t know where to touch someone with your hands in a good way, there are a few safe areas depending on context.

The back is a good place to massage, as is the upper arm between the elbow and shoulder. If it doesn’t feel natural to you, don’t do it.

What Does Hands On Cheeks In Body Language Mean

Hand on the cheek: When someone is talking and you place your hand on your cheek, it shows that the person is interested in what the other person has to say.

Hand under the chin: Placing one or both hands under your chin while listening to someone or when you are thinking about what they said, shows that you are engaged and paying attention.

Body language hands-on face: If a person has their hand on their face, it could be a sign of embarrassment or shyness. It could also mean that they don’t want to talk about something or that they want people to stop talking.

Body language: Body language includes the movements and gestures we make with our body when we’re communicating with others either verbally or non-verbally.

What Does Body Language Hands On Forehead Mean

The body language of the hands on the forehead can be interpreted as a sign of confusion. It is also a sign that someone might be tired or stressed. If they are rubbing their head and you see this it could mean they have a headache or are feeling under pressure.

What Does Body Language Hands At Sides Mean

What Does Body Language Hands At Sides Mean

The person looks comfortable. They might be a little bored or tired. Their hands are at their sides and they may be rubbing their upper arms, which is a sign of a regulator or pacifier in body language. They are trying to self-soothe.

What Does Hands At Throat Mean In Body Language

What Does Hands At Throat Mean In Body Language

There are many different types of body signals that can be detected, but the most commonly recognized one is hand gestures. When someone’s hands are at their throat, this may be a sign of distress or pain. The next time you see someone with their hands around their throat, try asking them if they are feeling well. Saw thoughts are common signs of people with hands around their throats.

Body Language Hands Near Mouth

This is difficult to determine as there are multiple meanings to hands near the mouth in body language. We will start with the common meanings.

A sign of nervousness is an individual touching or playing with their mouth. It can be done with the hands or even lips, but it generally involves the mouth. Nervousness is a response to being in an anxious situation, and it can arise from feelings of fear, stress, or uncertainty.

Hands near the mouth can also be a sign that someone is holding something back and doesn’t want to talk. When you were a child, you may have placed your hand over your mouth to stop yourself from talking or put your finger on your lips. We also see this in adults, on a subconscious level.

Mirror The Hands

Mirror The Hands

When we meet someone for the first time and want to build rapport quickly, the first thing we can do is mirror their hand movements. This means copying what they do with their hands and without drawing attention to their hand movements.

When you mirror somebody, you don’t have to do it exactly. What this does is build a normal connection with the person and they notice on a subconscious level that we’re like each other and part of the same tribe. Remember, synchrony is harmony

Don’t Do This With Your Hands Or Fingers

Don’t point at people you don’t know or out of anger. This will trigger an undesirable response. People don’t like to be pointed at and can be seen as offensive and aggressive gestures. A simple rule of thumb is not to point at people.

Don’t put your thumb in your pocket; have it on display. This shows you are not concealing any weapons or holding anything to harm someone on a subconscious level.


Body language is an unconscious behavior that humans do without realizing it. It can be difficult to read someone else, but it’s possible to gain insight into what they’re thinking by reading their body language cues.

The hands are one of the most important areas of non-verbal communication, and one we need to pay attention to in order to get a true read on people and understand what they are saying.

When we learn how to communicate with our hands, we become better and expressing ourselves to others to create a more harmonious event for everyone.

We really hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the hands and how we communicate with them. There is still plenty more to learn from the hands. If you have enjoyed this blog post, please check out our other post on body language.