We are often told by psychologists that men and women come from different planets. Indeed, the genders typically display different mentalities and behaviors. Some of them are biologically determined, while others come from social and cultural stereotypes. Differences between the genders are not as evident as before, and men and women still use different body language.
Men tend to be assertive and reserved. The body language of men typically displays power and dominance. Subconsciously, they give firm handshakes, lean towards the person they interact with and touch people to express their superiority or control. A man’s pat on the back or shoulders is usually a sign of dominance. Unlike men, women touch to establish contact and to bond with a person. When they gently touch a forearm or give a hug, they want to build connectivity and support.
The primary purpose of a woman’s body language is to encourage and share emotions. For example, there is a major difference between the nodding of men and women. According to the body language of men, nodding is a signal that they agree with and understand what they hear. A nodding woman shows that she is interested in the listener and wants them to continue. For this reason, misunderstandings often occur between men and women: a woman nods to express her positive attitude and acceptance of the speaker, while a man thinks that she fully agrees. Since women openly demonstrate their emotions, they use more gestures and facial expressions than men. Women smile, tilt their head, or say “hmm”, i.e. use active listening skills. When it comes to flirting, men and women also rely on different body language. This is why we are always trying to figure out if the opposite sex is interested or not. For example, since women tend to show their attraction indirectly, men can easily miss their signals. If interested, a woman adjusts her hair or clothing and avoids direct eye contact with a man she is attracted to. Body language of men is more straightforward. If a man likes a woman, he displays direct and noticeable non-verbal signals, such as eye contact and a broad smile.
Generally, men use body language less, because they tend to send and receive direct messages without deciphering the subtle undertones of non-verbal signals. It seems that, from childhood women are better trained to use and interpret body language. Knowing these differences is important in that it allows the improvement of communication skills, prevents misunderstanding and avoids disappointment. The key, however, is not to simply judge by gender but to be observant and respectful.