10 body language gestures that make you appear cold and less approachable

We often talk about the positive body language signs that draw people in.

But what about the ones that push people away?

Believe it or not, some gestures you’re making might be giving off a ‘stay away’ signal without you even realizing it.

So, let’s talk about 10 body language habits that could be making you seem less friendly.

You might be surprised by what you discover!

1. Crossing your arms

Okay, let’s kick things off with a common one – crossing your arms.

It might feel natural or comfortable to you, but did you know it can make you seem unapproachable?

Yep, that’s right. When you cross your arms, it could seem like you’re closed off or defensive. Even if you’re just cold or trying to stay focused, people might read it as “I’m not open to talking.”

So, instead of folding those arms, try to keep them at your sides or use them to express yourself more openly.

You might be amazed at how this small change can make a big difference!

2. Avoiding eye contact

Now, let’s move on to the next one – avoiding eye contact.

Sure, it can sometimes feel awkward to maintain eye contact, especially if you’re a bit shy or nervous.

But here’s the thing: not looking someone in the eye when they’re speaking to you can make you seem disinterested or rude. It might even seem like you have something to hide.

So, what should you do? Try to make regular, but natural, eye contact during conversations.

You don’t have to stare them down, but a few seconds of eye contact here and there can show that you’re engaged and interested in what they’re saying.

3. Constantly checking your phone

I remember a time when I was constantly glued to my phone screen during social gatherings. I wasn’t even aware that it was a problem until a friend pointed it out.

They told me, “Whenever you’re on your phone, it feels like you’re not interested in what’s happening around you.”

That hit me hard, and I realized that my phone habit was sending the wrong message.

If you’re like how I used to be, constantly checking your phone, even when you’re with other people, you might be coming off as cold or uninterested.

It can feel like a hard habit to break, but trust me, it’s worth it.

4. Pointing or wagging your finger

Here’s an interesting one that you might not have thought about – pointing or wagging your finger at someone during a conversation.

Did you know that this gesture has different meanings in different cultures?

In some places, it’s seen as highly disrespectful and aggressive. Even in cultures where it’s not seen as offensive, it can still come off as somewhat condescending or scolding.

The next time you’re tempted to point or wag your finger to emphasize your point, try using open palm gestures instead. It’s a small change that can make your conversations feel more friendly and less confrontational.

Interesting, right?

5. Not smiling

It’s such a simple gesture, but similing can warm up any interaction and make people feel welcomed and relaxed.

However, if you’re not smiling often, you might seem cold or unapproachable. You might be deep in thought or just have a more serious resting face, but it could be taken as if you’re not interested in engaging with others.

I know it’s not always easy to smile, especially when we’re going through tough times.

But remember, it doesn’t always have to be a big, toothy grin. Even a small, genuine smile can make a big difference in how approachable you seem.

6. Turning your body away

Sometimes, we all have moments when we’d rather be elsewhere, and that’s okay.

We’re all human after all! But here’s the thing – your body might be revealing your true feelings even when you’re trying to hide them.

Ever caught yourself turning your body away from someone while they’re talking? Maybe you’re angling your feet towards the door or shifting your shoulders away.

If so, you might be giving off an “I’d rather not be here” signal.

I know it’s tough when you’re stuck in a conversation you’d rather not be in. But even if you’re not particularly interested, try to keep your body facing towards the person you’re talking with. 

7. Frowning or furrowing your brow

Did you know that it takes more muscles to frown than to smile? That’s right!

You’re actually putting more effort into looking upset or serious than you would into a simple smile.

When you’re frowning or furrowing your brow, whether out of concentration or annoyance, it can make you seem less approachable.

People might think you’re upset, angry, or just too busy to be disturbed.

Instead, try to relax your face and keep a neutral expression when you’re not actively expressing yourself. 

8. Speaking too fast

As a naturally fast talker, I’ve had to learn this lesson the hard way.

When I get excited or nervous, my speech tends to speed up. It’s something I never thought much about until a close friend pointed out how it made me seem anxious and unapproachable.

When we speak too quickly, it can give off the impression that we’re nervous, impatient, or that we don’t have time for the other person. It can also make it hard for people to keep up with what we’re saying!

If you’re a fast talker like me, try to slow down and enunciate your words clearly.

Not only will this make you seem more calm and confident, but it will also make your conversations more enjoyable and meaningful for both you and the other person. 

9. Excessive nodding

We all want to show that we’re engaged in a conversation, and nodding is a universal way to do that.

But can there be too much of a good thing? Absolutely.

Excessive nodding can make you seem insincere or like you’re trying too hard to please. It can also give the impression that you’re rushing the other person to finish their point.

I know it’s tough when you’re just trying to be polite, but remember, it’s okay to just listen.

10. Looking at the clock

We’ve all been in long meetings or tedious conversations where we just can’t help but sneak a peek at the clock.

But here’s the harsh reality: it’s quite obvious and can come off as rude or impatient.

When you repeatedly look at the clock or your watch during a conversation, it sends a clear message: “I have better things to do.”

And let’s be honest, nobody likes to feel like they’re wasting someone else’s time.

So even if you’re in a hurry or bored out of your mind, try to resist the urge to clock-watch.

Give people your full attention for the duration of your conversation. It shows respect and makes them feel valued.

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Picture of Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I've ridden the rails, gone off track and lost my train of thought. I'm writing for Ideapod to try and find it again. Hope you enjoy the journey with me.

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