You need to be conscious of your body language. It’s advice you’ve heard time and time again. But, in most cases, you’re warned that your nonverbal cues could be making you look unconfident.
Shuffling feet, slouching, and small gestures—they’re all evidence of a lack of self-assuredness that you do your best to avoid. But what about the exact opposite? Are there any body language habits that could be making you look arrogant?
Yes, there definitely are certain movements and mannerisms that can make you look cocky and big-headed. Avoid these common ones, and you’re sure to send the right message.
1. Avoiding Eye Contact
But wait! you’re likely thinking, I thought lack of eye contact was one of those things that could make me look unconfident.
And that’s true. But, depending on your demeanor, avoiding direct eye contact with people can also serve to make you look incredibly arrogant.
Why? Well, to put it simply, it makes it look as though you’re unwilling (and perhaps even too good) to actually engage in the conversation. Whether you’re scanning the room for a better opportunity or repeatedly glancing down at your phone, it can easily make your conversational partner feel unworthy of your time and full attention.
2. Crossing Your Arms
We all know that this isn’t necessarily the most approachable posture. Even if it’s subconscious, this stance closes you off from others. It makes you look inaccessible and perhaps even a little angry.
You don’t want to send the message that you’re uninterested or too good to be there, so open up your posture. It instantly makes you appear friendlier and more willing to engage in conversations.
3. Holding Your Chin Too High
This is another one of those times when you need to walk a fine line. To appear confident, you want to hold your chin up. But, take it too far, and suddenly you seem condescending.
People don’t like to feel that someone is literally looking down at them when speaking. So make sure to strike a balance here.
Focus on keeping your head level. That way, you won’t run the risk of muttering to the floor, but you also won’t take this confidence booster to the extreme.
4. Pointing Your Finger
Remember when you were younger and your mom would lecture you to not point? There’s a good reason—it can easily come off as a rude and aggressive gesture.
Unfortunately, it’s a trap that’s a bit too easy to fall into. Whether you’re waving your finger around in a heated discussion or simply trying to direct someone to the appropriate place, pointing often feels natural.
But, if you want to stick to the safe side, do your best to avoid it and gesture with an open hand instead. It achieves the same result, without being quite so combative.
5. Checking Your Watch
This one should be obvious. However, if you’ve ever been engaged in a conversation with someone who continues to not-so-subtly glance at his wrist (or the time on his phone), you know that far too many people do this very thing.
Of course, this gesture immediately portrays a high level of boredom—as if you’re checking the time to see how soon you can escape. It’s another one of those habits that makes you appear to think that you’re too important to be there. So do your best to avoid it.
Yes, letting out a deep sigh can feel good every now and then—but that doesn’t mean you want to do it while someone else is speaking.
While you might not necessarily consider it body language, it’s still a nonverbal cue that can send a pretty strong message. Most people equate sighing with being uninterested, exasperated, or judgmental about what’s being said.
Even if that wasn’t your intention, a heavy sigh will almost always be taken the wrong way.
7. Forgetting About Your Facial Expressions
A completely deadpan face can cause you to look unconfident and unengaged, so you want to make sure to be expressive. But you also need to be careful about what expressions you use.
An obvious eye roll, a raised eyebrow, or pursed lips can all make your conversational partner feel uneasy and self-conscious. You’re better off keeping your facial expressions as neutral (and polite!) as possible.
Much of the advice you hear about body language advises ways to tweak your mannerisms to appear more confident. But you don’t want to swing so far in that direction that you come off as cocky. Stay away from these seven common habits, and you’ll avoid falling into that arrogance trap.
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