Do You Have Bad Body Language?

Bad body language comes in many forms and affects people of all ages - and it's a turn-off 100% of the time. So before you showcase your negative habits, check out Modern Manners Guy's top 3 tips on how to spot (and fix) bad body language.

Richie Frieman,
March 2, 2014
Episode #286

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Bad Body Language #2: Texting

Oh, texting, how I loathe thee.

When you think about it, texting is an odd phenomenon.  I mean, wasn’t the phone was invented so we didn’t have to write our messages? But now we have gone backwards in our evolution. People prefer to write. I’ve covered this phenomenon in the past. Check out How to Handle Texting Snafus and What to Do After Sending an Embarrassing Text or Email.

Interestingly enough, it’s not the accidental angry text or the misspellings the drive me nuts; it’s how inconsiderate people are while they’re texting that puts me over the edge. When people text, they get in this zombie-like zone where nothing else around them matters.  There could be a naked person running mad through the street nearby, singing showtunes, and it won't phase a texter.

If you have to text someone and can’t talk at the moment, that is totally fine. I’ve been there and understand. For a quick text, take the time you need and then return back to earth, and the conversation at hand. But if you’re writing a novel to your friend about where you’re going to eat tomorrow night, simply remove yourself from the table or room you're currently in and do so.

Like the Pouter and Scowler, we can see when a texter is not paying attention. When you tap-tap-tap away while others are talking, it doesn’t come across as busy, it comes across as arrogant. No one, and I mean no one, is that important that they can’t step away from their phone long enough to finish a human interaction with the live person standing in front of them.

If you are too busy, than don’t attend the meeting or don't engage in the conversation. If the only way you can go to lunch is if you’re on your phone the whole time, then stay at your desk. We won’t miss you that much.

Improper Body Language #3: Fidgeting

Okay, I’ll admit it, I fidget.

In fact, if there was an Olympic event for fidgeting, I’d take gold and silver. In fact the bronze winner would feel so beneath me, they'd offer me their medal as well. It's that bad.  Even while on the podium, I’d be swaying or moving my feet, my hands would roll around one another, and I’d probably be playing with the medal as well.

Clearly, I am well aware of my bad habit. So when the time comes to step up and keep the fidgeting to a minimum, I always make a conscious effort to do it - not matter how hard it may be. Trying not to fidget is a struggle, but knowing how distracting it is for others, and never wanting someone to feel that I’m uncomfortable around them because I can’t sit still, I work hard to minimize my fidgeting.  When you fidget, people around you feel as if you don’t want to be there or that you are so uncomfortable, you can’t wait to leave. 

Of all the bad body language habits, fidgeting is the one I am most lenient toward (and not because I am a card-carrying member of the club). I am empathetic towards people who have a hard time sitting still. However, it is still something we can control. This takes practice and everyone has to find the best way to handle it themselves.  Fidgeting is more mental than anything and you have to keep an eye on yourself and tell you brain, “Okay, okay, you’re doing it again.” Then stop.

Practice “watching” yourself and keep track of what tends to stimulate your fidgeting. After you identify your biggest weakness, work with it to limit how often you do these annoying things. It’s the same way an athlete trains for sports: practice, preparation and being able to overcome the “mental game” to get you to your goal.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

Do you have any recent graduates in your circle, or perhaps someone who is looking to start a new career, check out my new book, Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career for great tips and advice on job success. It's available now!

Pouting woman and worried woman images courtesy of Shutterstock.



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