Negative Body Language Examples (You Don’t Have To Say It)

You Don't Have To Say It. Negative Body Language Examples

Article Created:

Article Last Updated:

Negative body language can be seen in many instances, but it’s most common in job interviews. For example, when someone doesn’t want to answer a question they might stare at the floor or avoid eye contact. When we see these types of behavior’s it could mean that they’re trying to hide something from us or are feeling uncomfortable with the situation.

When analyzing body language we should try and find a baseline so we can get a good understanding of what that person does naturally day to day and notice any changes in their behavior. We also have to take the environment, mood, surroundings into account when we analyze this all should be included in the overall baseline of the situation.  However, you sometimes will find yourself in a position where this isn’t possible or you have just met that person for the first time and relying on your intuition. (we always recommend that)

What are negative body language examples? There are many examples, such as shift-breathing, the cut-off actions that block in-coming visual signals when we are under stress, pupil constriction and staring, the intention of movement getting ready for action, threat signals blood rushing away from the face, and obscene signs like flashing the middle finger and a forehead frown.

Below are more examples of negative body language.

What Are The Benefits Of Noticing Negative Non-Verbal Cues

Learning to read people’s body language can offer various benefits. You can more easily get to know the person, read their mood, and understand what they are feeling. Body language is also an important part of customer service. If you can understand a client’s emotional state, it will be easier to satisfy their needs. There is a lot that can be learned through studying body language, both in your personal life and in the workplace.

Learning to read people’s body language will help you better understand them and better manage relationships with them. It will also help you identify when someone else needs help or guidance.

Negative body language is usually unconscious, nonverbal leakage, but there are times when it is consciously done to intimidate or threaten others.

Being aware of body language can help you maintain healthy relationships and know when someone might be feeling unhappy or dissatisfied. It’s important to know what behavior’s to avoid in order to make a great first impression. Subtle body language is often more powerful than the spoken word.

What Are Nonverbal Cues Of Dislike Anger Or Disapproval?

  1. Failing to establish eye contact is a clear sign of dislike, anger, or disapproval. Your limbic system will pick up on this and will give you a sense something is up, you will even notice this within yourself when you are angry with someone.
  2. Pupil constriction. The pupil (circle at the center of the colored iris) may reflect the mood. The pupils in your eyes will get more constricted as the negative feelings within your body get stronger.
  3. Staring at you for three seconds or more could signal dislike, anger, or disapproval
  4. Rocking from side to side when standing, (changed elephant) is a way to remove adrenaline, keep an eye out for this one as it’s common.
  5. Looking for the exit. When someone wants to get out of there, they will start to glance at their nearest exit points. This is usually subtle, but you can notice it.
  6. It’s all in the feet, look where their feet are pointing as people become more stressed or angry they will start shifting their feet toward the person they are going to attack or away from the person they dislike or don’t agree with.
  7. Crossed arms can be a signal that the person doesn’t agree with you they are angry or disapprove. We covered this in-depth in another blog post on discover the body language of the arms
  8. Clenching of the jaw is a sign you might be dealing with a lot of tension. You will usually see the temples start to pulse as the emotion become stronger.
  9. When we are angry, our eyebrows draw together and our noise rises to signal dislike or anger.
  10. Barriers or blocking putting something between your or rising part of their body like an arm or leg.
  11. The mouth covering we use when we want to conceal or hide a genuine facial expression.
  12. Touching or squeezing your nose can indicate a dislike for something, as it’s built into our biology to signal bad smells.
  13. Glancing or tapping at your watch can indicate impatience or dislike.
  14. Clenched fists at the side of the body are a strong signal they are angry and ready to fight.
  15. Taking a side step back with their dominant leg could mean they are about to strike you with a blow.

All of the above can be signs and signals of dislike anger or disapproval you will see these signs in people’s nonverbal leakage.

Negative Body Language: Examples & Signs

There are many negative gestures in communication we have listed the most common below.

  1. Dropping your head and shoulder as if gravity is pulling you down.
  2. Angry facial expressions
  3. Feet pointing away from a person
  4. Rocking back and forth
  5. Nail-biting
  6. Sweaty palms
  7. Bad hygiene or body odor
  8. Hand on hips (arms of akimbo)
  9. Finger tapping
  10. Leg bouncing under a table
  11. Giving someone the (middle) finger or the bird
  12. Rapid eye movement
  13. High blink rate
  14. Arms crossed and turning away
  15. Sitting slumped in a chair
  16. Hands covering your head
  17. Picking lint of clothes
  18. Fiddling with objects
  19. Looking at your phone  

Shy Body Language Examples

Shy Body Language Examples

Aggressive Body Language Examples

Aggressive Body Language Examples

Negative Body Language Pictures

Closed Body Language Examples

Closed Body Language Examples

End Notes

There are many more negative body language examples; the simplest thing to analyze when meeting a person is whether they are comfortable or uncomfortable. Then, you can apply what you have learned above. When reading, everything is relative. There are no absolutes. You have to take into account, environment, mood, and knowledge. To understand what someone else is feeling, you are no mind reader after all. If you have liked what you have read check out my other blogs and videos. If you would like to study more about negative body language we highly recommend checking out Manwatching by Desmond Morris

Phil Taylor
Phil Taylor Body Language Expert