Without context, non-verbal cues can easily be misinterpreted. For example, folded arms can be a signal of resistance and nervousness in some cases, but also of confidence and strength in other cases.
"Remember to relate everything that is going on around you and that person to what you see in the other person's nonverbals," says Rouse. "The environment influences behavior."
Assumptions about a person's body language can lead to misdirected emotions and inappropriate actions, especially if someone is believed to be flirting. “A hello and a smile don't mean someone is beating you,” says Cobb. "It might really be that they are kind."
If you ever feel insecure, it is important to ask questions and gain clarity before acting.