An important factor to decoding body language of others is knowing that it is not an exact science, it is just more of a hint. Many times people will define a person with crossed arms, across their chest as defensive and cautious and many times this can be the case. However, it is not always a definite.
They may be cold or pensive or feeling like doing that for a number of other reasons. The key to understanding common responses people display, certain body language cues is to understand the defined reason as a possibility, still looking for other cues to indicate the accuracy of your guess.
It also is helpful when you see several body language cues all meaning a similar state. The more of them you see, the likelihood is better of you able to read their mood or state of mind in different situations. The other side of that coin is that by understanding body language, you are better able to communicate non-verbally by directing your body language with the messages you want to send.
It would be best to understand some basics to give you an outline, then understanding variations and more elaborate collections of cues. Direct eye contact, since the dawn of history has been an indicator of interest and liking of another person. Of course a person in argument will have a similar level of directness to their eye contact, the other clues will explain the difference. If you look at the eyes, around them, how they sit, you can see a â€˜smiling eyeâ€™ that tells you a bit more of a personâ€™s sincerity to their likeing.
Leaning forward towards you is a good indicator of rapport an interest. Once you see another person mirroring some of your gestures or picking up their drink when you pick up yours is again an even higher volume of this rapport and interest in you.
While some people who are actively engaged and listening to what you are saying may be nodding their head, if you see this nodding to be a little hurried, that usually means they are feeling a desire for the topic to be finished or for you to have finished speaking.
Many people will sit with their legs apart when they feel safe and self confident. A woman facing a man she is speaking with will sit this way unconsciously showing her feelings of safety and sexual interest, no guarding needed with the man.
When people are showing their open palms during a conversation, this usually is showing trust and interest in the other personâ€™s opinions. When done when sharing opinions, it is generally a signal to their openness to hearing the other personâ€™s point of view. It is very welcoming to see and will cause the other person to feel more open about sharing as well.
With eye contact, there are different levels of gazing and staring. The differences in how a person gazes at another can often tell what theyâ€™re thinking. Women often use the sideways glance as a first signal of romantic interest. Because it is subtle and sly, this allows her to flirt without being obvious. Even if a woman may boldly stare at a guy she has interest in, she will demurely lower her head (to show safety in submitting to him) and tilt her head away from his. By having this available to her, she can hide her explicit flirt with and indication of coy shyness. If she has a prolonged glance over at you, this is a whole new story to unveil.
A prolonged glance is more overt than anything hiding under the coyness of a shy frame. This is more of an indication of someone who wants to get right down to business. Usually this eye contact held so steady by a woman is an indication of sexual attraction or pure lust. Some girls, less bold but still interested, may give a direct gaze broken up with looks away and returns. At this point, her eye contact is intermittent yet still repetitive. If her gaze lingers on you in the middle of a conversation rather than during the introduction, this may just be showing her interest in the topic you are sharing.