What Do Crossed Arms Imply? Decoding Physique Language

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What Do Crossed Arms Mean? Decoding Body Language

Crossed arms can mean different things. "For many, and often it can be, the perception is that crossing your arms means we feel anxious, resilient, tense, insecure, anxious, or responding to need," says Spinelli. Creating a physical boundary or barrier can also be an act of self-comfort when someone feels overwhelmed.

"However, if someone has their arms crossed and has a tight grip on each arm, it can be a sign of stress," adds Stephens.

According to Dailey, research has also linked gun crossing to preparedness, relentless attitudes, and perseverance. In fact, one study showed that people who crossed their arms before a task were more likely to work longer hours than those who didn't. When people know this information, they may be trying to focus, or at least give a sense of power and control.

Because of the conflicting and diverse interpretations of crossed arms, nonverbal behaviors usually require context to fully understand. "For example, if the person we're talking to has their arms crossed but they're smiling at us, leaning forward and using friendly vocals, we're probably not interpreting their crossed arms as negative," says Dailey. "But when the crossed arms are paired with frowning, detachment and a frown, then we probably come to the conclusion that they are not favorable to us." Getting the full picture is helpful in avoiding misunderstandings.

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