71

With brief interactions with strangers, I agree with the other answers that there is little you can do. They are projecting their relationship insecurities on to you - this is not your fault, and something that needs to be worked on between them and their partner. This would apply to incidents 2 and 3, where you correctly just minded your own business. ...


53

I hope to have this answer surpassed by others with a better grasp of the localized environment. Until that time, this is my take on it. From the described reputation of the future boss, I'd say that her body language and general behavior can make it clear to everyone, except the boss. I say that based on the description of the boss, which suggests that he'...


39

Maybe it's just me, but in the UK I would not understand any of that. It's completely alien to me. If you work in an international setting, it might be better to use full words and sentences to express your thoughts.


36

You can't. That is not an issue that you can resolve. They are not very comfortable with how they look themselves. Eventually, they will get around this, but there is nothing you can do immediately, which would not make them even more uncomfortable. The best you can do, is to treat them like you treat everybody else. Don't remind them in any way about ...


36

(Moving my comment to a full-fledged answer) As well as designating someone/thing, a pointed finger may also be an accusatory gesture. Without any context, the person being pointed at (or people witnessing you pointing at people) might believe you’re accusing instead of designating, and being accused is widely felt as defaming (however justified or not. The &...


35

Someone asked you in a comment: When people go on these 'longer talking periods' do you the classic nodding, "mhm", "yes"? You responded: I try avoiding interrupting the conversation at any cost, so no sounds. I feel like that may be your problem. The "classic mhm, yes" responses are called backchannels. It sounds like you're thinking of backchannels ...


26

I recognized the gesture immediately from the title: Some call it “finger twiddling”; it's a self-touching fidgeting behavior and I've seen variations of it IRL (eg joining the palms and tapping the tips of the indexes). It's meant to convey apprehension. Still, I'm not sure I'd recognize 👉👈 in a chat. I think the 😬 alone does that, and I've used it ...


25

After putting up this personally important question, I was motivated by the answers to think a bit about what strategies Indian women actually use in these situations, and recollected something a famous Bollywood heroine said in an interview a few years ago, citing the "best advice her mother gave her when she joined the film industry" about how to greet ...


23

Mirroring is a process we do naturally and without thinking about it. But apparently, people can be trained to mimic this behavior. But, I would think that it can backfire if done poorly. Scientific research has been conducted on this. But recognizing that this is not an academic site, I will assume that none of us are neuroscientists. Perhaps this article ...


20

Is this even possible to convey through body language and general behavior and if so, how can she achieve this aim? At work: wear unisex business clothing if possible; otherwise dress conservatively don't share personal information be professional but aloof observe how other woman at work have avoided being harassed; be like them Around boss: appear ...


19

Pointing your finger at someone is seen as either an adversarial gesture or threatening one. FWIW: in some Asian cultures, it's insulting, as you only point your finger at an animal. About the adversarial/threatening gesture: the finger, as shown straight, stiff, pointed towards a person (not an object), is perceived as the symbol of a weapon (knife, lance, ...


17

Mirroring is one of the components of "active listening." It indicates an empathy or sympathy with the person you are communicating with. These mirrored gestures are in some measure a natural reaction when people are in close proximity. You may have noticed the "contagious" effect of someone crossing their arms, or leaning on an elbow, when several people ...


17

Being on the autism spectrum, eye contact is uncomfortable for me. I've long had trouble with making it and holding it. Over the last several years, I've had to learn to make eye contact because it's required for interacting with most people in my daily life. I've developed a few tricks that make it easier for me, which will also apply to your situation. ...


16

Eyes communicate intent Fair warning: this answer got long! The gist of it is that eyes are an important and useful indicator of intent due to a long history of biological and cultural evolution. Hence, nonconformity with societal expectations regarding eye contact with other people usually leads them to think something is amiss. The major points of this ...


16

Signs of shame Not showing 'shame' is easier if you first understand how shame, and feeling ashamed, is usually communicated. This image shows a typical (but maybe somewhat exaggerated for educational purposes) example of body language usually associated with shame. Wikipedia says about the identification of shame: Nineteenth-century scientist Charles ...


15

Though this is not what you asked for (non-verbal communication), I have found myself in situations like that way too often. Not sure if some people just like talking a lot or if they're used to being interrupted, but more often than not I found myself exclusively listening to someone talking nonstop for minutes, but to show them I'm paying attention without ...


15

I used to bike to school (roughly 9km). It takes a lot less effort to take advantage of someones wake so I did it often myself. The worst way to handle this that I've experienced was when the guy in front of me just completely slammed his brakes. I was barely able to avoid crashing directly into him which would be rather unpleasant for the both of us. (...


13

I'm not sure that there is really anything you can do. From your description of the event, it doesn't seem like you are doing anything inappropriate at all. If you truly wanted to change your own behavior, which I do not recommend, then you may have to tone down your appearance. You can't let your existence, which causes jealousy or insecurity in others, ...


13

These situations are generally context dependent. Your relationship to/with the person makes a big difference in what would be expected or appropriate. If it's someone you already know well, there's more leeway than with someone you don't. In either case, I'd caution you to consider that a comforting gesture is only really comforting if you're comfortable ...


13

You can try wearing only one earbud; most modern music doesn't sound too awful when listening to only one of the two stereo channels. Especially if it's wireless, half of the people (the ones coming from the side where you don't wear one) will not notice you're listening to music at all. If you're next to a wall or window, you can make it 100% by wearing it ...


13

I'm not homeless, I've never been homeless, but I do tend to have unkempt hair, my winter trench coat tends to pick up a lot of dirt, and I go grocery shopping with a cart that some have referred to as a hobo cart. (I have not seen actual hobos with this exact brand of cart, but I have seen them with similar carts.) There have been times especially this ...


13

Disclaimer: I never used or saw such usage of that emoji, therefore my answer focuses on its IRL understanding and offers an emoji alternative that may be better understood in an international context. I do use this gesture when I want to express my discomfort asking for help or because I did something wrong. I don't know if it's a gesture that'd be ...


12

... in an office environment or while talking to friends ... I think you have 2 very different settings and backgrounds here. I never had a problem with family, friends and acquaintances, but I had to train and train (and repeat) again when I had to talk to people in an office or giving a presentation. That's why I'll focus on the professional part. And ...


11

Take a step back. I feel like this could also be taken as rude and possibly make that person think that they are making me uncomfortable While it is true it could possibly be taken as a little rude, it is not so likely or bad; and socially speaking, having particularly pungent breath and engaging in a close conversation is a much worse offence than taking a ...


10

Honestly it sounds like your current approach is pretty spot on. I'm not much of a dancer, so I ran your question by my partner who is: Consider going "squaded up" with a few friends, if your partner can't come. They can potentially interdict that type of behavior, and you can tell others you're just there to have fun with your friends. Your ...


9

I don't know the word for it but the gesture is like a lurch. What you want to do is move your upper body farther away from the person while not moving from your actual seated spot. Leave your hips where they are. This indicates that you need your space but would prefer not to physically move yourself. (Which also has the subtle indication that you would ...


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