13 Revealing Body Language Hand Gestures

When you communicate, your brain automatically involves your hands to convey thoughts and emotions, without you even knowing it. In that way, your hand body language signals what you don't say with your words. Being able to properly read body language is a key to ANY successful relationship.

Here are 13 of the most common hand body language gestures (with pictures) you'll see every day:

1. Touch

hand in handHow you touch another person reveals how you feel toward them. When you make full contact with your palm, this communicates warmth, familiarity and fondness. Touching with only your fingertips means less fondness, maybe even some discomfort.

When a person touches you and you notice that his hands are warm, this tells you he is more or less at ease. Cold, clammy hands mean he is tense – not necessarily because of you, but possibly because of the circumstances.

2. Palms up

hand palm upOpen palms usually have a positive effect on people. It's effective in making amends or closing a sale.

Combined with outstretched arms, it communicates acceptance, openness and trustworthiness.

When done with a jerk of the shoulders, it can mean resignation or admitting weakness, as if to say, “I have no idea”.

3. Palms down

hands palm downThis means confidence and shows that you know what you're talking about – but it also conveys rigidity.

Downward palms with straightened fingers indicate a sense of authority, even dominance or defiance. When a person does this while talking to you, it means he is not going to budge and you might have to change your approach.

When combined with a chopping action, a downward palm indicates emphatic disagreement.

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4. Hands behind the back

Hands behind the back This is usually shows some amount of confidence, as the front torso and vital parts are exposed. You will often see this in men, and while it is always better to show hands, this is perhaps the exception to the rule as far as hand confidence displays go.

For many people, this hand position makes them feel totally uncomfortable when they are being looked at. They feel naked.

5. Clenched fists

Clenched fists usually connote firmness of resolve – think of someone preparing himself for a football game or a fistfight. It can signify unyieldingness, like a more intense version of palms facing down.

Clenched fists with thumbs tucked-in indicate discomfort. This person is anxious and trying to harden himself.

6. Hands on heart

hand on heartThis conveys a person's desire to be believed or accepted. Though intended to communicate sincerity, it doesn't necessarily mean honesty. It just means, “I want you to believe me (whether or not what I say is true”. I means, “What I say comes from the heart”.

7. Chopping movements

hand karate chopChopping is for emphasis, and is usually authoritative. A person who “chops” has made up his mind and is not likely to change it.

It can often be used as a way to make a point. For example, chopping down as to separate an idea in two categories. If you use this gesture, just don't be too aggressive when you do it.

8. Finger Pointing

finger pointingPointing a finger at a person while speaking is an authoritative gesture. People do this when imposing themselves: parents do it to their children, teachers to unruly students. It's a way of talking down, usually interpreted as aggressive and angry. When done to a peer, it's a show of arrogance – it's confrontational, invasive and offensive. A fiercer variation is jabbing your finger.

In any case, it's often considered impolite to point at a person. It would be more refined to point with your whole hand.

A playful finger-point with a wink however, is a pleasant expression of approval or acknowledgement.

Pointing a finger in the air adds emphasis to your words. It convinces people of your confidence and authority. You may notice how politicians or preachers use this as they speak.

9. Rubbing hands together

hand in anticipationHand-rubbing indicates anticipation or relishing something to come. Always remember that self-rubbing gestures used to dissipate stress – and being overly excited in anticipation of something to come is a form of positive stress.

Another form of this is cracking knuckles – it expresses readiness for action, more often associated with men.

10. Clasping hands, squeezing hands

hand wringingClasping and squeezing hands together is a self-pacifying gesture. A person who does this is uncomfortable, maybe even nervous or fearful. He's trying to assure himself, “Everything's going to be alright.” A variation of this is rubbing the wrist.

Clasped hands with interwoven fingers indicate great anxiety and frustration. That person is thinking, “Things are going really bad”. You better prepare yourself when you spot this.

11. Steepling

hand steepleSteepling is what you call palms that face each other with just the fingertips touching (the fingers resemble a steeple). This is a display of confidence and self-assurance. You would see this in a lawyer or chess player who just found a way to wipe out his opponent.

You don't want to over do it however, as this is a real show of power.

12. Hands on hips Akimbo

Arms on hips Akimbo This is sometimes mistaken for unfriendliness, but it's often really just a position of readiness. This is often observed in workaholics, athletes and productive people.

Certainly sometimes this display can be a show of authority and superiority. For example, this is a gesture used by the military and law officials to show assertiveness and take control of a situation.

13. Hands in pockets

Hand in pocketsPocketed hands indicate unwillingness, mistrust and reluctance. If a person keeps his hands in his pockets, you will need to first gain his interest as well as his trust.

Even if someone tries to hide what he's really thinking, his hand signals can tell you the truth. If you are sensitive to the language of his hands, you can make an appropriate course of action and even get a good response.

Now, pay attention to your own hands too. Consciously use gestures that will get your message across, especially those that will help you build alliances and influence people.

QUESTION: Did I miss a hand body language pattern? Let me know in the comments and I'll tell you what it means!

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167 thoughts on “13 Revealing Body Language Hand Gestures”

    1. Can you tell me what a raised open hand is?
      By that I mean like a student raising their hand or a person in court raising their hand to indicate they are under oath.

        1. Ok a Police Offercer done that to me made me feel very uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do about it leave it go or speak out.

      1. probably a stress relieve, i often crack my knuckes that way when they feel tense which doesnt happen a lot in chill moments

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  2. Most of these interpretations make sense. I have to admit I am surprised that you are a professional in deception. I’ve always had negative perceptions of deception, but i realize it could be a valuable skill.

  3. Frustrated reader

    Your website is extraordinarily difficult to read on my iPad. The stupid, annoying Facebook, twitter floating menu bar covers everything you presented me to read.

      1. Hello, I don’t know if u forgot or even someone mentioned it here before me but what the both arms folded on or below the chest

      2. Hi Nicolas! Loved the article. I would like to know what to do when someone instead of saying thank you, put their hands together as in prayer and make a little reverence. I don’t know if I should say: “you are more than welcome”, or play back the same gesture. MJ

        1. The bow itself has a lot of different interpretations. If you don’t know what you’re doing with the bow, just show gratitude the way YOU know to show it. They’re doing it their way and will respect you doing it your way.

        2. When done with a bow, this gesture means “Thank you” or literally “I bow to you”. It’s derived from Hindi (or Hindu, I believe) religion. Not Christian. It promotes humility and a gesture of peace and respect. Typically a reaction of ppl who are spiritually elevated (or just.. well intended!?). When done in a stationary position, is simply prayer.

      3. I saw a picture where the person had an open hand straight down, fingers straight, pointed down on the one side next to a male. On the other side the arm was straight down and the fingers were pointing in towards the his own thigh, standing next to a female. Two different hand gestures for the two different people while posing for a picture where he was getting an award. Any clues as to whether this is significant.

  4. Sorry, I do not agree on the “Steepling” hands.
    For me it is exactly the opposite of self confidence. On the contrary it means that the speaker does not master the subject he/ she is talking about because of a lack of knowledge on that subject. It is the sign of a deep insecurity, not of confidence! Many politicians use it.

    1. I do agree with you in this Colomba. However, people nowadays use to send a message of false confidence. Many people use this technique to inject into the audience that they are confident, sure, or secure of what they talking about, but they are not, they simply know that deceiving gesture to convince the people that for sure they know what they are talking about…
      Getting advantage of this is to send that message to people that ” know” this (For “they know” that you are indeed confidence, but you are not) and they will fall into that trap. And because they “trust you”, get the sale.
      People use it againt people that know, and dont of this techniques to sell things, or people in the case of politicans.
      … So yeah, is to get advantage of the people, it really means: How to proyect a false confidence to people.

  5. And the Hands on Hip is mainly people trying to appear ” bigger” larger” than they are; showing a size they don’t have… Has nothing to do with authority or power. A fake…

    1. This “Hands on Hip” is a classic model pose that many women utilize to make themselves appear more slender. The broader shoulder/elbow wings create the allusion of a smaller waist.

  6. alejodelatorre@hotmail.com.ar

    Hi Nicolas. Meaning of
    Hands holding crossed legs of a seated person.?
    🙂 jaja

    1. Hi Alejo,

      Anytime a person crosses parts (legs, arms) and holds on to themselves, it usually signifies some sort of anxiety and discomfort.



  7. I saw someones hands folded with the two thumbs and pinkies touching. Similar to Steepling but all fingers crossed except the thumb and pinky.


    1. I do that, especially at the dentist, over my navel while lying back. To me it is protective/guarded but still going with the flow. Suspicious or distrusting but willing to give things a chance. Closed off, but still open until a conclusion/decision is made.

  8. Hi.my name is Coralie I’m in a relationship and my partner shows a lot off body languages that I have picked up like hiding his hands when he sits down and rubbing his feet up and down and putting his hands in his pockets and folding his arms I just wanna know what does that mean.

    1. Hi Coralie,

      Without proper context, it’s really hard to say.

      These gestures could mean he’s totally relaxed just like they could mean he’s closing himself off and is nervous.


  9. Darlene Roberts

    Prison worker (now a prisoner herself for helping two murderers escape in NY) can be seen onlinebin shackles that keep her hands apart, and shebis walking with guards and both of her hands are clinging to the material of her black and white striped prison pants. What does this signify?

  10. Randall E. Howard

    Thank you for your insightfulness.
    Most of the gesture meanings; I was totally unaware of.

    Q: Why does an orator/speaker (during 85% of his presentation); maintain his left hand in his left-hand pant pocket?

    Q: Does it matter if one hand is in the pocket VS: two hands in their respective pant-pockets?

    Thank you in advance for your response.

    Randall Eisenhoffer Howard

    1. Hey, Randall!

      A1: The business classes I’ve taken have all suggested to point during a presentation with your right hand. Some people (including myself) have a hard time with this, so they are instructed to keep their left hands in their pockets. This is to keep them from crossing their arm over their body and potentially preventing people on their left side from seeing. It is also a way to show that they are relaxed and they know what they are talking about!

      A2: Two hands in the pockets, as Nicholas pointed out in a few other replies, usually signifies unease.

      I hope this information helped!

  11. Chandler Armstrong

    What about the classic arms folded or crossed over the chest. I often see people do this, and while hiding they are hiding their hands and therefore they seeming at times when they are not accepting what people say, this doesn’t always seem to be true. My working hypothesis is that when they do this will attending a lecture or presentation, that they are making some sort of judgement, or evaluating what is being talked about

    1. Chandler,

      For many people (me included), folding your arms is a comfortable position. So many times, it’s just that people are fine and it doesn’t mean anything (like when attending a lecture or presentation). What you are looking for is something that triggers it. Again it might just be that the person is comfortable. But if you see that something that was said or done could put that person outside their comfort zone, or nervous, or angry, it can become a very valuable clue.

  12. Dear Nikolas,
    Thanks for all the information.
    What does it mean when a person has his left hand in pocket and offers the right hand for a handshake?


  13. What would you describe the meaning conveyed by both hands as if holding a glass in each hand. Crescent shaped form. Then touching thumb, forefinger, middle finger and ring finger in a tapping manner. Sometimes the thumb and forefinger seem to be dominant in pressure, or heald together a moment longer than tapping/ a slight pressing. Looking at hands towards the end of the vocalized thought, or off and on during?

    1. I’ve seen people do this while counting, I do it when I’m running low on patience or when I want to focus deeper on something.

  14. Pointing index finger towards/ in the direction of an object and/or direction to go to, is that considered as bad manners? Or frowned upon as not polite?

    1. Hi Paul,

      That really depends on the context. Usually if you point at someine, it can be seen as impolite. But for example if you are helping out someone with directions on the street, that would be totally fine.


  15. Hay nick
    I greeted a female that I am an acquaintance with for some reason with my left hand out facing downward ( because she was very much to my left) she in return placed her right hand under mine and caressing or rubbing our hands slightly from palm to fingers…

    What did my hand language tell her?
    And what was her response telling me?
    Her paln response seemed sensual in a way, did I read that incorrectly or correctly? Or just my inagination?
    Thank you on advance

    1. Hi Pablo,

      It’s hard to say about the sensuality without being there. You would be the best person to know.

      Your gesture however did signal that you were in charge of the situation (you would be leading her), and she accepted to take your hand. So I would see this as a positive outcome, meaning she feels she can trust you on some level.


      1. She actually didn’t take my hand though, and that’s what I’m wondering the meaning of her gesture? The gesture of placing her hand under mine, but not holding or grasping it, but her fingers caressing my palm down to my finger tips. Then away…

  16. Hey Nick,

    I read your piece and all the comments but could not find a response to my question. What does it mean when someone suddenly starts rubbing their fingers of one hand into the palm of the very same hand? It almost looks like someone trying to hold sand in one palm except that there is the rubbing happening. A thought provoking conversation was going on and this person abruptly started doing this. Any ideas?

    1. Hi robin, I dare say she was experiencing feeling nervous of some kind. In reflexology, that area on the palm has the intestines, stomach, heart and adrenals… she would have been trying to calm herself by massaging it subconsciously.

  17. Hello Nicolas,
    I’m very interested in how you read knuckle cracking by individuals. I’ve observed it in different people in a way that seems like a power gesture? Is this a true read and what did it develope from?
    Thank you,

  18. Is there a difference when someone gives you a single pat to the back of your upper shoulder using full their full palm or just their finger tips? Especially if the person doing the patting likely senses you are anxious or nervous? This occurred with a specialist (doctor) who I’ve seen four times now, maybe two to three out of the four visits. Both kinds of pats as mentioned above. And yes I do feel anxious around most doctors.

  19. I think I know what it means, but what it is called: you clasp your hands together and then shake them over each shoulder while slightly bowing with each swing of the clasped hands to each shoulder (like the Lolli-pop Guild character in Wizard of Oz does while he’s being cheered for his Welcome song to Dorothy). Thanks!

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  21. What is the meaning if a person scrubbing his other hand while talking (about a particular thing and not always talking). Is it showing his tension?

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  23. Hi Nicolas,
    Thank you for a very informative post. I have never been too concerned with analysing people or their tells in the past … I guess I am a late bloomer when it comes to “getting with the game”, but now it’s as a necessity – not as an advantage as I am starting to engage with business owners on their level (who have been aware of these subtleties their whole working life). I’m not writing to tell you of a “missed” hand position, more so to give you a point to ponder. The post I read (hand-body-language) did not appear to be very gender neutral. I am one who likes to type out what I read into my own shorthand version so that the content really sinks in. Whilst I was doing this with your post, the absence of one gender kept coming up – I had to keep correcting the terminology as I interpreted the lesson. To continually reach a wider audience with informative posts, it is not good to inadvertently alienate half your potential audience whilst they read an initial introduction to the content, so it is important for it to show respect to both sexes by using gender neutral terminology.

  24. A brother and sister are standing side by side, each holding their own hands ( the right hand is holding the left hand’s fingers, for the sister and vice versa for the brother). I’m curious to know what this means

  25. Nice article! May I know what’s the meaning of hand on collar gesture? For example, your right hand touching the collar on the left side while explaining things. Thanks!

    1. Hi Denise,

      It’s hard to say without context, but it could mean simply that this is a comfortable position for that person, or perhaps that he or she is uncomfortable with the discussion. It tends to depend on when they adopted that hand position. Was something said and then she did it? This could mean a discomfort.


      1. Hi Nicolas, I have often seen few of my friends and colleagues cover their Fist fully but not tight enough unlike, the normal half moon curve. What does that mean. Is it the person is nervous or not ready to trust or ???

  26. Hi!

    Thanks for sharing all these informations!

    I have a question for you. I had a supervisor a few years ago, he was rubbing his right hand, either with arm in low (along the body) or high position (elbow on desk). The gesture was like when you’re at a desk, pen in the hand, elbow on the desk, hand high, rubbing the pen – but without the pen. A few months later, he quit. The next supervisor after a certain time did the exact same thing and a few months later he also quit.

    What does this mean?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Hard to say without seeing it live, but this often means a certain discomfort or heighten level of stress.

      (any type of self-massaging/self-rubbing is often that)



      1. Cynthia Colasanto

        Thank you very much. I found it very interesting.
        How about if a man is constantly moving and bending his fingers, particularly his index fingers and thumbs. Also hands always in crotch area.

  27. What about the gesture Donald Trump uses with thumb and forefinger together like an ok sign? And what does it mean when a person rests the chin on partially closed hand as Hillary did when she was being asked about Benghazi?

      1. I’m pretty sure Barbara is asking about something I was also curious about. You can see Trump do this in his videotaped speech at the National Prayer breakfast 2/2/17. Time put together a clip of various things he said, and you can see that here: http://time.com/4657913/donald-trump-apprentice-prayer-breakfast-schwarzenegger/?xid=time_socialflow_facebook

        There’s a variation of the gesture (even odder to me) at 41 seconds

        Then the gesture she mentions at 51 seconds
        Same gesture at 1:04.

        Trump uses this gesture a lot, and it’s odd to me but the 41 second gesture is even odder.

    1. Hillary’s chin on hand was a combination utter boredom and disgust coming from an arrogant and self-important attitude (how dare these underlings question me!)

      Trump with the OK position is a corollary to the steepling gesture. Confident in what he’s saying and trying to get you to agree with him.

  28. What about when someone is speaking to you, looking down at their hands while they are rubbing the tips of, say, their left fingers with their right hand? Does that signify anything?

  29. I notice Donald Trump consistently curling his index fingers or touching index fingesr to thumbs while motioning with his hands. Just wondering if there was any study showing such motioning to signify underlying meaning.

    1. Bad news, disturbing.
      As I watched this video, I couldn’t help but notice Trump’s continual usage of the same hand signal, the illuminati 666 sign (TIPS of index and thumb together while remaining figures point up or outwards) he did it so much it hit me.
      Something just became blatantly obvious to me. Look at his hand signals. Everytime he does the 666 sign (index finger touches thumb while three fingers point up/outward) listen to those words spoken at the same time. It acts like an antidote. When he calls down the illuminati (etc) he signals the 666! Letting them know he is a brother. Is Trump another layer to the deception, a creation to suck ppl into believing change will happen, the wrongs righted As a means to further capture and enslave? Yikes!
      MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN….GRATE: to reduce to small shreds, rip apart; covering of a drain–not let a single soul get away.

    2. My guess is that the significant part of that gesture lies in the way the tips of the index finger and thumb meet (as though one were attempting to carefully place a small but important object into a confined space). It looks to me that perhaps this gesture is used when one is attempting to place a particularly important detail into the subject at hand, but I could be totally off-base on that.

  30. So rubbing your arm with the opposite hand could be a mix of heightened stress levels and anticipation (rubbing)?
    Thinking of a colleague who, when approached by a new woman in the office put one arm across his chest and rubbed with his hand. I interpreted it as him being interested in this woman. Is this right?

    1. Reef,

      The way you describer it there would be some discomfort or anxiety. That does not mean he’s interested in her (could be), could also be that she intimidates him, he doesn’t like her all the same.



  31. The way Hillary Clinton holds her hand when making a gesture. The fingers are held together kind of cupping and the palm is down.

    1. It typically means some form of anxiety. I do it when my hands are shaking from nerves or fear. It could also mean that the person’s hands are cold.

  32. Yes, you missed the hand gesture, when a person speaks and holds his hands together, example: palms touching together and fingers inbetween each other making both hands closed. What does this hand gesture means?

    1. He probably misses the weight of the ring, or isn’t used to it not being there. I know when I lost my ring, I felt naked without it because it was constantly on my hand for almost three years. I did the same thing because it felt like something was missing, and I wasn’t used to how light my hand felt without it.

  33. What does it mean when Hillary Clinton has both arms outstretched with palms up and fingers spread open? She does this all the time when speaking behind a podium.

    1. It is a well practiced gesture by a totally dishonest individual, trying to convince you that he/she is the next thing to a benevolent angel, when in fact they are as full of the feces of sin as Satan can cram them! A whole lot of wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing preachers use the same gesture, and it is a favorite of 99.99% of all Liberal politicians and about 99.98% of all Conservative politicians.

      My authority? 73 years of watching slimy as hell wolves-in-sheep”s-clothing preachers and Liberal and Conservative politicians. For edification, the only difference between a Liberal politician and a Conservative politician is which side of the slippery slope (left or right) he/she serves the will of Satan from. [You claim to be a Christian? Jesus told you to beware of the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Scribes. Today we call them Democrats, Republicans, and bureaucrats.]

  34. Dear Mr. Fradet, what does it mean when a person sort of embrace themselves, I’ll explain myself, as when you put your arms around yourself. This happened after a very vulnerable situation and the person is a young adult man. Thanks in advance for the reply

    1. He is trying to hold himself together. It’s a way to combat anxiety or fear. Sometimes when a person feels alone or vulnerable, they will do this. Especially if they are suffering from a broken heart (be that from a significant other or from a loss). It is a way to ‘keep yourself glued together’ despite the hard situation. Some people will attempt a smile while doing this to show that they are okay, when in all reality they are not.

    1. It relates to the practice of climbing a rope hand over hand. This soon became known as hand over fist, with the fist being the hand gripping the rope.

  35. Loved the article! Can you tell me what it means when women hold their purses with both hands in front of their groin? I’m curious about the photo with the Trump family on a stage. All the women are doing it in the photo. One is clutching her wrist with the other hand. Thank you!! ?

  36. πολύ ενδιαφέρον το άρθρο και διαφωτιστικό! ευχαριστούμε! θα ήθελα να ρωτήσω για μια συνήθεια που έχω και την κάνω συνέχεια χωρίς καν να το καταλαβαίνω. με τα χέρια μου τρίβω κυκλικά τους μηρούς μου, σπάνια και κάθετα. σημαίνει κάτι αυτό? θα ήθελα πολύ να μάθω! ευχαριστώ εκ των προτέρων!

  37. I can not find this anywhere on the internet. What does it mean if somebody rubs their thumb and ring finger delicately? Is it evaluation perhaps? It could also be the index finger (closer to the body, meaning money or feeling?) Or the middle finger (normally rolling a small object between thumb and middle finger) Or pinkie (discussing something trivial?)

  38. I’ve always been tuned in to body language and hand gestures. I’ve noticed for years how
    often politicians used them. Years ago there was a book written by a man in England about
    hand gesture language and it explained the meanings. It went out of print and never was
    reprinted again.

    1. You can do it yourself. You don’t need a book. Just start observing people, watch yourself talk while looking in a mirror, stuff like that. Watch what little kids do when they talk or interact.

  39. what about palms down, both hands, just above waist level, moving hands from side to side (with thumbs towards each other but not touching such as together, apart, together) while talking to someone about someone else?

  40. What does it mean when in a large family gathering gathered together in a circle to say the blessing, a man deliberately extends the index and third finger for clasping to the women on either side of him rather than an open hand like everyone else?

  41. Always bear in mind that many of these gestures depend on several factors, context, ethnicity, gender, level of awareness of them, and manipulation of them for duplicity. A Scandinavian would have a different range to a Latin, or an Oriental. They can be learned with practice, and so misused for advantage. It would not apply to contrived images, such as fashion shows or art-works. The artist would of course be using them to suit his purpose, and so are not a natural occurrence. It is only in identifying a genuine, spontaneous reaction that your definitions might apply. An interesting subject, wide open to interpretation, but closed to denial.

  42. I have observed that scientists, researchers and some nerds have this type of posture in articles on scientific journals or everyday newspaper. Even without knowing the persons are left-handed or not I have noticed that aspect: sometimes they hold left wrist sometimes they hold right wrist. What is intended feeling comunicated with such a pose?

  43. Meaning: A ‘sort of’ OK sign with the fingers rigid and a distinct back and forth, rocking motion of the wrist, while speaking to an audience?

  44. What does it mean when a man puts the side of his thumb in his lips and maybe even pinch with his teeth and his fingers up resting on his temple with fingers a little spread?

    Thank You Nicolas

  45. Hi, Nick. I often see women’s profile pictures on dating sites, in which they’re posing with their hands on their hips in the classic “expectant or hoping ” posture, but with the index finger on one or even both hands erect and pointing upward. Sometimes they do this with arms crossed in front of them, but not in a self-protective manner (ie – not hugging themselves), as if trying to emphasize a gesture. They could be smiling, smoky-eyed or both. I have seen this with many different types and ethnicity but mostly in Asian and (interestingly enough) Latina women. I suspect I know what they are trying to “say”, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. have run searches on the gesture, wording the description differently, but keep getting results showing what I already know about every similar gesture, but not the ones I’m trying to understand. Anybody have any thoughts?

  46. Please identify what’s being said when hands are out, 10 inches apart, palms are up, like trying to catch something falling from the sky

  47. thank you for sharing all these informatio.
    I have seen a picture of some classmates, these young ladies were taking a photo of their hands, among them there was one she was crossing her fingers the index and the middle fingers, wht this could mean.Thank you in advance

  48. Trump does this frequently when he is unhappy in an interview and I am curious about it. Thumb to thumb, fingertips to fingertips, a wide gap between the palms, and the fingers are pointing down. I can guess about a Freudian interpretation, but is there more to it?

  49. NombresarioVicki Glez

    Buenos días, qué significa meter el pulgar en el bolsillo con los demás dedos afuera?

  50. Thanks Nic, i have observed people faced with a broken down vehicle, if they are not mechanically inclined, they will just stand there perplexed,
    will put their thumb and forefinger on the chin “pondering what to do”, or “wonder what can be done to fix it”. I think it is a common thing we do when we are “thinking where exactly to start” on a large project or involved task? Just like the statue of “the thinker”, LOL!
    Interesting read with comments included. I didn’t realize there are very many that we see and do, some we understand when people do them, and some we dont realize or take for granted. GOD bless you.

  51. IArms crossed? Irritates the fire out of me when my husband does it while we are having a discussion. Makes me feel like he is unhappy, unwilling to listen to my ideas, and emotionally closed off. We’ve discussed it many times and he’s says it is “just a comfortable way”. I don’t know if it is a listening gesture or what it means. Also. When others see him sittin or standing that way, they ask me if he is mad.

  52. Very interesting and made a lot of sense what does in mean when someone is always hitting you on the arm when they speak to you my sister does it all the time

  53. A few months back. I noticed I was holding my hands in a way you would associate with religious folk – at waist level with one hand loosely cupped in the other -both palm upmost – and with the thumbs loosely crossed across the uppermost palm. I was doing it entirely without realising it and it was rather irritating me every time I’d realised I’d done it. A friend commented on it eventually and said it showed I was very contented and at peace with the world. This is true, and a contrast to how things had been for ages. Then I remembered long ago that placing your hands like that deliberately when you were stressed or apprehensive would help to calm you down.

  54. I don’t think all of these are true. I always have cold, clammy hands… but that doesn’t mean I’m tense 24/7!! I just have low body temperature on my hands/feet

  55. Hey I find prominent figures like the people on shark tank or donald trump steepling their fingers. I have done this and have noticed the power. However, it hurts my hands to keep them in that position for so long. Also does clasping hands instead of steepling make someone look submissive or weak? Does clasping hands indicate that someone is religious and steepling indicate that they are secular and logical or even non religious?

  56. My husband recently started putting back of both hands on each side of chest. Mostly when sitting position. I have seen him do it when laying down in bed too. He looks like he is going to start doing a chicken dance any moment. He doesn’t know why he does it. He has a very stressful job. He says it must be stress. But his job has been stressful for 30 years. I can’t figure out why he would start this now.

  57. Hola Nicolas. Gracias por el articulo. Me gustaría preguntarte que significa golpear el lateral del puño con la mano abierta. Sería el movimiento de lo que en lengua de signos llaman el escultor.
    Muchas gracias y feliz día.

  58. Hei Nicolas
    Du nevner at dersom en person har sin venstre hånd (sikkert avhengig av om en er venstre- eller høyrehendt) i bukselommen under et foredrag, kan symbolisere at vedkommende er avslappet og selvsikker.
    Men hvorfor kan det sees på som arrogant dersom en person går med sin venstre/høyre hånd i bukselommen under gange eller i samtale med andre personer?
    Mvh Erik

  59. Hi Nicolas, I do have a question. While attending a meeting, you find someone with one arm lying on the table palm down. The other hand is on the chin with part of the fingers covering the mouth. What does that mean?

    Thank you in advance.

  60. Nicolas, The one I am thinking of is very close to the Steepling…one. You see it in Comey’s walk on several occasoions.. i’ve seen it before mostly to do with Humble men and women who cn be trusted, who are honest and forthwright. The sign swys I am a humble man and I walk wuth all humility. I’ve seen HIllary do it a fw times and others… I think it is a show of Power among the Powerful..

  61. Hi
    I liked the article but I just have one question
    Lately I tend to put both my arms behind my back but hold my fists really tight together (behind my back) and I knew that they have contract meanings so I wanted to ask about your opinion

  62. 35 yrs. in law enforcement. Dozens of dozens of interviews. Steepling to me always proved to be someone attempting to show righteousness. Sometimes they proved to be honest, other times
    Later proved to be just trying to convince authorities the lie was the truth. As in ” who, me?”
    I’m innocent! My next question was usually ” Innocent of what?”

  63. I have a coworker that uses his hands constantly when explaining something. Sometimes one hand is used, other times both. There are a few variations of the gestures.
    1. Hand with outstretched arm, palm down, swinging arm down and outward sideways as if pushing something away or dismissive.
    2. Using both hands in the manner above but alternating as he is making a statement.
    3. Use of both hands in conjunction moving both hands to the same side and at times alternating sides depending on the statement, conversation or point that is attempted to be made.

  64. Hello Nicolas
    I do have one question that I dd not see in this article. So I am in this relationship and when we talk sometimes he grabs one of his arms with his other arm. What is that mean?

    Thank you Eunae

  65. Hi Nicolas,

    What do you interpret of a job interviewer(male) who is sitting at a desk, across from female job applicant, The interviewers forearms are resting on the chair arms, his wrists are pressed into his rib cage. hands are folded inward and hidden. nearly the entire 1 hour interview.

    Thank you for your insight.

    1. Hard to say really without seeing it but it seems he’s attempting to be poised and not give out too much. It just could be his natural relaxed position. What really matters if there is a shift in his stance / position AFTER a comment or following a specific event. That would be more telling.

      I hope that makes sense.

  66. Hi Nicolas!

    When I feel like I have to explain myself to someone, I tend to hold my hand up at around a 90 degree angle with my fingers close to each other and my palm facing them.
    What could that mean?

    Thank you!

  67. what does it mean when a person holds covers his side of the face with his hand and having his elbow resting on the bottom of the car window frame this happened to me many times and dont want to be confused i want to find out what it means because it bothers me THEY ACT WEIRD STRANGE AROUND ME when i haven’t even done them anything wrong they acts if i’m the bad person i dont understand or get it can you explain this to me

  68. Charlotte Cerminaro

    I have to disagree with the “steepling” interpretation of being very confident. I find that when I’m contemplating, deeply, attempting to solve a difficult problem, my fingertips usually are together. It’s something I become aware of, coming up through the layers of thought. Seeing other people doing this, it’s not something I would associate with confidence. Just my observations.

  69. Hi Nic! I was wondering if you know the most non aggressive way a person can display their hands in? By this I mean is there any way that someone can display their hands to show that are non aggressive besides holding their hands up in the air or behind their head? I searched so many sites (law enforcement, military etc.) and still have yet to find one that can explain any other acceptable way to do this. I hope you can help!

  70. Please tell me what it means to slam your fist into the palm of your hand? Not sure if it’s a threat to me. I was out jogging. I am I south Africa…. Thanks in advance

  71. I have a question that I hope you can answer for me. I watch Question Period in the House of Commons and a certain male always stands up to make his comments holding his left hand flat below his right side of his suitcoat like he is holding something in hiding and always unbuttons his button when he sits down. Why does he do this all of the time and what does it mean? Thanks!

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