Can you tell these disapproving body language signs?
When it comes to someone’s opinion of you—especially if it’s someone who’s not your biggest fan—you can generally tell by what they say and how they behave around you. Body language in particular can tell you many things about a person’s feelings, especially if they show clear disapproving signs, like a dismissive wave of their hand or a furrowed brow.
Others, however, successfully conceal their true feelings—either subconsciously or consciously—meaning you have to pay close attention to more subtle disapproving body language signs to understand how they are truly feeling.
According to experts in interpersonal communication, it’s easy to control the words we select. But when it comes to being aware of our body language as well as what our face is doing while simultaneously controlling the tone of our voice, all while thinking of what words we’re going to choose, it’s much more common for our nonverbal communication to “leak” out.
Although we can purposely control our nonverbal communication (like when you force a smile but you’re actually feeling down), a lot of our true feelings come to surface via our nonverbal communication.
If you have the feeling that someone isn’t exactly in agreement with everything you have to say, there are several key signs you can look for in their physical communication. Keep reading to discover eight disapproving body language signs that are extremely easy to miss, according to experts.
1. They subtly shake their head “no”
One of the most disapproving body language signs is when the person you’re talking to shakes their head “no” (from side to side) during the conversation. According to experts, our true feelings often leak out, so even if they’re trying to keep a poker face, someone who is disapproving may subtly shake their head “no.”
But you’ll have to pay close attention, because this may be so subtle that you may not even notice.
2. They have their head or chin down
Another easy-to-miss indicator that someone is dissatisfied with something you’re doing or saying is the direction of their head. According to Ali Levine, a transformation, healer, and soul expansion coach, if you notice their chin is pointed down, something is amiss.
While most of us may see this as a sign of shyness, it’s actually a way of bringing them back to safety. When you start truly observing someone from a healer’s or guided perspective, you’ll see how this is true.
As one of the disapproving body language signs, kepping the head or chin down is a subtle way of saying, “I’m not comfortable; I don’t trust you or this situation; I’m looking for a way out. Let me be.”
Long story short, chin tucked down translated into words means “I disapprove of whatever is being communicated or whatever is going on in my space.”
Similar to other disapproving body language signs, this one could be easily missed, so make sure you take notice of more subtle details.
3. They tuck their lips inward
According to experts, this is one of the most common disapproving body language signs, but we all tend to miss it when it happens, even if it’s right in our face. When you’re talking to someone, pay attention to their lips. If they move them inward, it may indicate disapproval.
While it’s true that people fidget with their mouths and lips quite frequently, when someone says something we don’t agree with or don’t like, we might suck our lips inward. This may be an unconscious way of literally biting your lip to not put your anger on display or avoid saying something that may turn into a conflict.
Read on to discover other disapproving body language signs!
4. They turn away from you
Add this one to the list of disapproving body language signs so you know when it happens. When someone won’t face you directly or deliberately turns away from you while you speak to them, you should know something’s up.
However, experts point out that body language isn’t always this exaggerated, so you could miss this sign of disapproval if you’re not paying attention. The opposite, though, is pretty obvious. When we like someone, we unconsciously turn our bodies toward them.
Beth Ribarksy, professor of interpersonal communication, shared an anecdote with us. It’s about one of her first dates. When they first met, they engaged in some deep self-disclosure, resulting in an unusual first date. As the night continued and they moved to another location, the guy increasingly turned his body away from Beth.
She points out that, in fact, at one point, they were sitting at a bar, and while Beth was facing the bar, his body was turned so far away from her that he was almost talking over his shoulder to her.
As Beth explains, this is something that people frequently do without realizing it—but not always. When we no longer want to be part of a conversation, we might subconsciously turn away from others. Or, this can be a conscious action and a subtle way of indicating that you’d like to disengage.
Keep in mind that this is one of the most common disapproving body language signs and also one of the most noticeable, so it’s pretty easy to spot if it happens.
5. They avoid eye contact
Avoiding eye contact can signal a bunch of things in American culture, including discomfort and disapproval. While eye contact varies from culture to culture, within ours, it’s one of the most common disapproving body language signs. So, if someone says something that we don’t agree with, we may avoid eye contact.
This one is pretty easy when it doesn’t happen, but pay attention because some people may still look at your face to let you believe they’re looking at you, but they don’t actually look you in the eyes.
There are three more disapproving body language signs. Stay with us!
6. They tighten their jaw
According to Jessica Addeo, a nervous system clinician and occupational therapist, when someone’s jaw gets tighter during a conversation, this could indicate “dysregulation.” She explains that body language is the language of the nervous system.
If you’ve ever had the experience of leaving a conversation where everything that was said was right and you still felt icky inside, Addeo points out that this is a conversation between the nervous systems.
One specific indicator of dysregulation is the tightening of the jaw, which is how the nervous system says it has detected a “threat.”
7. They tighten their lips
Judgment and disapproval are often associated with a purse of the lips, but according to experts, tightening of the lips can also indicate this.
Similar to other disapproving body language signs, this is hardly noticeable, and you may even miss it if you don’t pay close attention. Tightening the lips is basically disapproval or not liking something the other is saying or doing. Lips can be a big indicator when it comes to emotions, and experts believe they get overlooked many times.
8. They have a “microexpression”
Body language experts also point to “microexpressions” as a way the body gives out disapproval. Like the name suggests, these are brief, involuntary facial expressions that can happen in just a fraction of a second.
As one of the complex disapproving body language signs, a microexpression can reveal intentions or true emotions that someone may be trying to hide. However, they can also be easily overlooked, as they come and go swiftly and can go unnoticed by an untrained eye.
Some common microexpressions include a quick flash of disgust, fear, anger, or surprise. These expressions are often a reaction to something that someone is trying to hide, such as a lie about an uncomfortable situation.
If you want to learn more about reading body language signs, here’s a best-selling book that millions of people have bought.
If you liked our article on disapproving body language signs, you may also want to read 5 Signs Someone Has Bad Intentions With You.