Especially with face masks covering our mouths these days, body language is a huge factor in how we come across. Whether you’re sitting straight up, slouched over, or fidgeting with your pen, people are quick to make judgements based on the little things you do. In fact, experts say that making one common gesture with your hands makes people less likely to trust you. Read on to find out what it is, and for more on why people may be doubting you, If You Answer Questions This Way, People Don’t Trust You, Study Says.
Putting your hands in your pockets makes people not trust you.
If you want to come off as inviting and trustworthy, keep your hands where people can see them, says Susan Trombetti, a relationship expert and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. “When people keep their hands in their pockets, it appears they are hiding something. And someone is more likely to be lying because they are hiding their hands,” she explains. Concealing your hands comes across as more controlled, which can be interpreted as “deceitful and untrustworthy,” she notes.
In general, when people are being dishonest, they tend to face their palms away from other people, indicating that they’re holding back information or emotions, Traci Brown, body language expert and author of How to Detect Lies, Fraud and Identity Theft: Field Guide, told Time. “They may put them in their pockets or even slide them under the table,” Brown noted.
And for more telling traits in your romantic life, beware that If Your Partner Has These 4 Qualities, They’re More Likely to Cheat on You.
Having your hands in your pockets makes you appear less confident.
Having your hands in your pocket can also make you seem nervous, which could further give people the impression that you’re untrustworthy. “People generally consider individuals with their hands in their pockets to be insecure,” explains Girish Shukla, a mental health and psychology expert.
He says that someone with this kind of body language often comes off as if they lack confidence, which makes them seem like even they don’t trust the words coming out of their mouth. “Since you appear not confident about what you’re saying, then you can’t expect others to believe you, and this may give others the impression that you are lying,” Shukla says.
And for more on how you might be giving off the wrong impression, This Is the One Habit That Makes You Seem Less Confident to Others.
Keeping open body language makes you seem more trustworthy.
According to Trombetti, someone who is telling the truth—or at least, seems to be—is more likely to keep their hands open and palms up. When your hands are visible, “the physical openness of your body language invites trust,” says Lauren Levy, a sales expert who teaches people in the industry how to appear trustworthy.
“Keeping open hands while talking can give others the idea that you can be trusted and that you know what you are talking about,” Shukla says. “Whenever you expose your palms it means that you are not hiding anything.”
And for more tips and tricks for navigating everyday life, sign up for our daily newsletter.
There are a few other hand or arm movements you should also avoid.
While putting your hands in your pockets is a sign that you may be lying, covering your mouth with your hand sends the same message, Trombetti says. Your mouth’s expression can give insight into your true thoughts and feelings, so trying to cover that up may seem suspicious.
You may also appear to be hiding something if your arms are crossed, says Levy. Even if you aren’t, this closed-off body language still makes you seem generally “not open to new ideas,” which doesn’t come off as inviting to other people, according to Shukla.
And for more on what you should avoid doing in tense moments, check out The One Word You Should Never Say During an Argument, Experts Warn.