Nonverbal Language of Bullying from Head to Toe (Part 2)

Female Track Competitors Glaring at Each Other

In the last post, we stopped at the chest and shoulders. This post covers the rest of the body.

Arms- Akimbo. The arms of a bully are often akimbo (elbows out, hands on hips, thumbs forward). This makes the bully appear bigger and more powerful. This is also used to intimidate any opponent and show power and superiority. To ward off bullies, stand with power and send the message that you won’t be a victim. Crossed Arms. When coupled with the jutted chin, bullies will also cross their arms anytime they’re facing someone. Crossed arms are not only a sign of superiority and power, they are also considered closed body language because when a bully crosses his arms when facing their opponent, they are “closed” to anything the other person has to say. Note that victims will also cross their arms in intimidation when confronted by a bully. However, the difference is that instead of using the jutted chin, a victim will lower the head, hide the neck and slouch. This is where paying attention to clustered body language comes in. To keep bullies away, never slouch, lower the head nor hide the neck. Always look confident!

Hands- The Clenching Fists. The bully will often clinch their fists when they want to physically attack their opponent. Always see this as a sign the person wants to harm you and be ready in case they do.

Mid-Section- The Crotch Expose. This is done mostly by boys and men. Although it is a sign of sexual interest in a potential mate, it can also be used to intimidate and for dominance and power. Trust me. You’ll know the difference. If you are male, return the sentiment. If you are female and this is used by a male bully for intimidate, either stand facing the bully with your feet apart and hands on your hips and challenge him with a glare or give him a dismissive look and walk away.

Legs- Legs Apart. Most bullies stand with their feet shoulder-width apart to appear bigger and more powerful. Confident people also stand this way. Therefore, if you want to appear confident and ward off bullies, this is how you should stand. There’s also The Dominant Leg Backstep. This is when the bully steps back with their dominant leg. Boxers in the ring do this just before putting up their dukes! If you see the bully step back with one leg, be prepared to fight!

Feet- The Toe Point. Again, you must pay attention to the whole body to get an accurate reading. The toes always point to where the person wants to go. If a person likes you and enjoys your company, their toes will always point in your direction. If the person doesn’t like you or is afraid of you, they will want to get away from you and their toes will always point away from you.

However, if a bully wants to attack you, their toes will also point in your direction. You’ll know the difference by the other cues their body will give you.

It pays to observe!

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