Understand The Body Language Of The Neck (The Forgotten Area)

Body Language Of The Neck

The neck is the most vulnerable part of our body. It’s also a vital part of our body, as it allows us to breathe, drink, eat, talk, think, and receive signals from our body to our brain.

The most common nonverbal cues we see people use when it comes to the neck are as follows. Touching the neck often signals comfort, discomfort, and interest.

Have you ever noticed someone touching their neck while they are speaking with you? This is often a signal of discomfort. There are more than twenty neck muscles, which is a good source of information when it comes to reading non-verbal communication.

One of the first things we need to understand when reading someone’s neck for body language nonverbals is the context surrounding why they may be touching their neck.

We will take a look at what context means next and why you should understand this first.

Understanding Context First

Context is the environment or circumstances of an event, situation, etc.

The context in body language can be explained by examining three main parts:

  • The setting: the environment and situation of communication.
  • The person: emotions and intentions.
  • Communication: facial expressions and gestures of the speaker.

When analyzing someone else’s body language, we need to take into account all three examples above in order to get a true read on the situation.

Body Language, Necklace, Gesture, and Meaning

Neck Touching

There are many reasons someone will touch their neck. For that reason, we wrote an entirely different post on neck touching here.

Covering the Neck

Covering the Neck

This term is used to indicate the body language of a person to show his or her feeling. It is mostly seen in people who are shy, timid, uncomfortable, anxious, or in pain.

Covering the neck body language often happens when someone feels threatened. This body language is also known as covering the weak point.

Neck Massaging Body Language

Neck Massaging Body Language

Neck massaging is a form of body language that could be interpreted in many ways.

Neck massaging can often be seen in people who are being affectionate. This is usually when one person rubs the other’s neck while they are engaged in a conversation.

Another plausible interpretation is that the person rubbing your neck is trying to distract you or put you to sleep.

It could also mean that the person rubbing your neck genuinely cares about you and wants to give you a little boost of confidence.

Neck massaging is seen as a sign of intimacy because it has several personal benefits for both parties involved, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing stress levels.

On the other hand, if you see someone massaging the side of their neck during a conversation or heated debate, this is usually a sign of stress or pressure.

Context is key to understanding why someone is massaging your neck or their neck.

Pulling The Skin Around The Neck

Some people pull on the skin at the top of their neck to try calm themselves down. It is often done by older individuals following a stressful event or message. Often called a pacifier in the body language community.

Neck Stretching Body Language

Neck Stretching

Neck stretching body language is a sign of stress because it’s usually done when someone is frustrated or stressed out.

It may also be an attempt to release tension in the upper back caused by poor posture while sitting for too long or looking up at a screen all day (particularly if you’re not using proper ergonomic techniques).

Stiffing Of The Neck

Stiffing Of The Neck

Neck stiffness is a sign of being hyperalert, which you will most commonly see when someone pays attention to something that is bothersome. You might also see neck stiffness when they have just been startled.



A hard swallow is usually visible and audible. You will often see this in someone who becomes frightened or highly stressed.

It’s a reflex in the throat that happens automatically:

1) A hard swallow is usually visible and audible.

2) You will often see this in someone who becomes frightened.

3) A hard swallow can also be an indication that you are experiencing high stress.

Playing With Your Tie

Playing With Your Tie

When someone touches their necktie, they are unconsciously communicating that they are feeling under pressure or uncomfortable. And the person who is watching the person touching his tie might be more inclined to take their feelings seriously.

Neckties are more than just a fashion accessory. When you touch your tie, it’s an unconscious way to communicate that you are feeling under pressure or uncomfortable.

A tie is a garment consisting of a narrow piece of cloth, usually silk or polyester, that is worn typically around the neck and under the collar of a shirt for decorative purposes.

A tie can be used by men to add formality to their appearance and dress sense.

Venting A Neck Or Pulling A Shirt

Venting A Neck Or Pulling A Shirt

Pulling or lifting your shirt is a way of cooling down your body. This is usually a sign of high stress.


When it comes to understanding the body language of the neck we have to take into account the context first. Then we see the non-verbal cue that peaks our interest and we can use that as a point of reference.

Phil Taylor Author Body Language Matters
Phil Taylor Author Body Language Matters

Founder Phil Taylor

Phil Taylor, the founder of BodyLanguageMatters.com, embarked on a journey to unravel the secrets of non-verbal communication and to delve deep into the intricacies of body language. His passion didn’t stop there; it expanded to encompass various realms of psychology. A professional hypnotherapist and a master of close-up magic, Phil possesses a vast reservoir of knowledge and understanding in the field of communication. His multifaceted experiences have honed his expertise, turning him into a formidable force in the exploration of human interaction.

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