Reading body language: Types of arm crossing and their meaning

Here are the five most common types of arms crossing and their hidden meaning.

1. Crossed arms on chest

This arm crossing has a negative or defensive meaning.

You can observe among strangers in public meetings, elevators.

Anywhere that people feel uncertain or insecure. 

When someone takes the arm crossed position, you may have said something with which they disagree.

It may be pointless continuing your line of argument even though the person could be verbally agreeing with you.

The fact is that body language is more honest than words.

crossed arms- body language

2. Reinforced arm crossing

The person has clenched fists and a full arm crossing.

The person is feeling threatened, or defensive.

It may be accompanied with a tight-lipped smile, a snarl, or even squinty eyes.

Try to defuse the situation when someone is sitting like that because they are not having a good time.

Another detail you may notice is the red face and clenched jaws. These signs show that the person is pissed off and say or do something to defuse the situation.

body language

3. Arm gripping

When someone is feeling very weak or exposed, they are trying to reinforce their mind by grabbing the biceps.

Another detail you may notice is that their knuckles may turn white.

With reinforced arm crossing you were trying to protect yourself. But, with arm gripping the person is trying to make oneself feel better.

Places when you might see this arm-crossing: When you have to do a test, in school giving a presentation, on a plane, or in doctors waiting rooms.

4. Hugging Yourself

It is a partial arm cross where one arm is passing across the body to hold or to touch the other arm.

It looks as if he/she is hugging himself and shows a lack of self-confidence.  

You may see in meetings where a person may be a stranger to the group or lacks confidence.

body language

5. Hands with yourself

Sometimes men use it when they stand in front of a crowd to receive an award or give a speech.

Adolf Hitler used it in public speaking to mask the sexual weakness he felt because of having only one testicle.

Conclusion: Body language reveals a lot for a person in terms of what is thinking or feeling.

Some people say they feel comfortable with the cross the arms. Well, have you seen someone who is excited cross their arms?

You should also be aware of the weather because it may be cold and they will cross their arms to feel better.

Paying attention to someone’s body language will help you understand how others are feeling.

Learn More: Decoding Body Language: How to Read People like a Book

Source: The book of body language by Alan&Barbara Pease

4 thoughts on “Reading body language: Types of arm crossing and their meaning

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  3. What does one arm across the chest with a closed fist symbolize? Similar to the Roman gestures

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