Throughout the years I’ve learnt to love that my family knows me so well. They know my mannerisms, they understand my quirky sense of humour, my ‘concentration face’ when I’m trying to focus or I’m absorbed into something. Unfortunately, they also know when I’m feigning interest, am distracted or irritated. In order to live an authentic life and foster deeper intimacy with family it’s important to be open, honest and assertive, expressing your feelings, thoughts, opinions and beliefs in a diplomatic and respectful way.
I’m certainly not suggesting we should cover up our true feelings or put on a mask by using body language strategically, rather what I am suggesting is that by consciously being aware of our body language we can emphasise our interest or even stop aggressive body language which often fuels disagreements.
Below I have outlined some common body language which can serve to keep the peace or show your interest:
Do mirror the other persons’ body language
Do keep good eye contact
Do tilt your head to one side
Do point your feet towards the person you are speaking to
Keeping the Peace
Don’t cross arms either fully or use one arm to hold onto the other
Don’t put your hands on your hips
Don’t roll your eyes
Don’t purse your lips together
Don’t make fists with your hands
Do moderate your tone of voice so it is as calm as possible
Do be assertive, neither being passive or aggressive
Do leave the room if you cannot contain your anger and say ‘I’m really sorry I need to calm down, I can talk about this with you later’
Of course it’s natural that out of anger we may have crossed our arms or rolled our eyes, after all, we are only human and body language is instinctive for the most part but in being more aware of how these actions can lead to greater conflict we give ourselves the opportunity to defuse the situation rather than letting it escalate.
What mannerisms, good or bad, does your family know about you? Are you naturally assertive? Have you ever crossed your arms out of defensiveness or in anger? Do you try to use a calm tone of voice when you are in conflict? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.