8 body language mistakes that make you seem aloof (even when you’re not)

Have you ever thought a social interaction or interview went well, only to never hear back from them again?

Maybe you invited them to hang out again later, only to receive an excuse or rejection – or worse – no response at all.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Especially if you’re shy, an introvert, or just generally have trouble navigating social cues.

Chances are, it could have been because you unconsciously used body language signs that can make you seem aloof, closed off, or sometimes even hostile. 

In my own experience as an introvert who has slowly learned to come out of their shell, I realized that these ten body language mistakes were sabotaging my social interactions.

Let’s dig in:

1) Speaking in a monotone voice

Sometimes we think we’re just saying things rationally and that the other person is following our internal train of thought.

But in fact, a monotone speech can be one of the biggest turn-offs in a conversation. 

Think about it: 

The cadence and tone of your voice are like an instrument. It can either move someone or put them to sleep!

When I received comments that my speech was monotone, I had to learn to add more enthusiasm and emphasis to the things I say. A little bit goes a long way.

You don’t need to become a fake or different person, but remember that the tone of your speech can make it either feel like you’re excited by their presence – or that you really don’t want to be there.

Turns out that once I changed my delivery, I noticed people would smile, nod along, and engage with me more, even if the content I was sharing was the same! So give this a go and see if it changes how people respond to you.

2) Lack of facial expression 

Just like your tone of voice, people subconsciously pay a lot of attention to your face to read the feelings beyond what you’re saying.

If your face is not moving much during a conversation, you may be making one of the biggest body language mistakes that make you seem aloof, even if you’re saying all of the right things. 

Subtle cues like raising your eyebrows to show interest, or reacting to jokes with at least a smile, if not a laugh, are necessary to make someone feel comfortable and like you’re engaged in the conversation. Deadpan expressions are mostly received as boredom.

It may be obvious to some, but others – like me – tend to have expressionless faces and need that extra reminder to smile and engage our facial muscles when we’re interacting!

3) Distracted behavior 

In the era of smartphones, it’s often easy to fall into this mistake. We literally have a tool that can easily become a distraction in our hands wherever we go. 

Looking at your phone too often, texting, or fiddling with your phone can come across as distracted and can be seen as rude.

But phones aren’t the only culprit – this can be as simple as looking around the room, talking to other people mid-conversation, or doing another task while they’re talking. 

Maybe you don’t mean to be rude, you just think you’re capable of multi-tasking, or find it difficult to pay attention for long.

Nevertheless, nobody likes getting the scraps of someone’s attention. Keep in mind that your social media, texts, work, and emails can wait until later, and hit that silent mode button, then put your phone next time you’re meeting someone.

4) Not enough eye contact

Now, since you’re no longer glancing at your phone, you can be more aware to avoid this next common body language mistake: not holding eye contact.

Studies show that holding eye contact during conversations hints at honesty and trustworthiness, and enhances social bonding.

If you’re looking down, away, or at something else while speaking, it signals to the other person that something is wrong. They may think you’re wishing you were somewhere else, are thinking something other than what you’re saying, or they might generally find you dishonest. 

If you have major social anxiety and struggle to hold eye contact, try looking at their nose, mouth, between the eyebrows, or another part of their face.

By now, you’re starting to become an expert on body language mistakes. Keep reading, because the next one’s important!

5) Closing off the body

8 body language mistakes that make you seem aloof even when youre not 2 8 body language mistakes that make you seem aloof (even when you’re not)

I used to have my arms crossed a lot when talking to people because it simply felt natural. Plus, it comforted my social anxiety.

But in reality…

To others, I was creating a barrier between myself and them. This made me seem totally closed off and guarded against connecting with them socially.

Holding an object, like your bag, in your lap between you and them has the same effect.

So if you don’t know what to do with your arms, try relaxing them and placing them in your lap or by your side to create space between your bodies.

Leaning backward or slouching can also make you seem bored and closed off, so try to sit with a straight and open posture to indicate that you are open and trusting.

6) Not acknowledging social cues

Speaking of trust, not acknowledging certain social cues can break the trust before it’s even formed.

These can differ between cultures, but the general ones are: smiling when meeting, shaking hands, and standing up when you meet someone for the first time.

You see, it’s important to make a good first impression to avoid coming across as aloof. These cues are taken as signs of respect and humility when meeting someone new and start you off on the right foot with them.

7) Boredom reflexes

Sometimes, we demonstrate boredom reflexes without meaning to or realizing it.

Boredom can be conveyed through many little body language signs like yawning, rolling your eyes, closing your eyes mid-conversation, rubbing your temples, or having your lips pressed in a straight line while listening. 

Try to become aware of your reflexes and minimize them to make the other person feel like you want to hear what they’re telling you.

Everyone wants to feel like what they’re saying is interesting!

8) Not engaging in small talk

I know, right?

Small talk can sometimes feel pointless and boring. I get that sometimes, you just want to get to the meat and potatoes of a conversation.

But think about it: 

What if the purpose of small talk wasn’t the content of it, but more of a social warm-up to feel out the interaction?

It helps both parties to feel acquainted and more comfortable with one another, especially if you’re meeting for the first time. Think of it as a primer to gauge how you interact together.

So next time someone mentions the rainy weather, don’t completely ignore it. Use it as an opportunity to engage and masterfully transition into a more interesting conversation.


So there you have it: the eight biggest body language mistakes that make you seem aloof. 

Hopefully, you’re now more aware of how your body language affects how people see you – than you were when you started reading. 

Dial up your charm in any conversation or your next job interview with awareness of these common mistakes, and don’t forget to let your personality shine through, too. 

That’s the key formula to a successful interaction!

Picture of Shela Riva

Shela Riva

Shela Riva is a Thai-Swiss freelance writer, artist, energy mentor and co-creator of Jaiyen Eco Resort, a creative retreat space in Thailand. She is deeply passionate about our incredible ability to transform and is dedicated to helping each person realize the power within themselves, whether through her writing, empowering custom art pieces, one-on-one work or in-person retreats.

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