When It Comes to Body Language, Feet are Like an Emotional Compass

Believe it or not, our emotions and intentions can be revealed through the position and action of our feet. Feet are like an emotional compass, in that our emotions dictate the direction are feet take. Our feet naturally turn towards the person with whom we are talking when we are enjoying the conversation. This magnetic pull of our feet sends the message that we are interested in the person with whom we’re interacting.

To figure out how someone is feeling, we tend to examine facial expressions and tone of voice. People can be skilled in “keeping a straight face” when they don’t want us to know how they really feel. However, feet seem to have a mind of their own and can betray our feelings. In a conversation with your neighbor, for example, you notice that he’s smiling and his body is facing you. Uh-oh, his feet, however, are pointing away from you in a different direction. Even though his feet indicate he’s losing interest in the conversation or in you, you don’t know the reason for the waning interest. Perhaps he is late for work. Or, he has to run errands. Or, he’s just bored. Or, you’ve irritated him in some way.

In the picture above, which person clearly indicates that he or she wants to bolt? You’re right, the woman with the black ankle boots wants to relocate to a different geographical region. There are other interesting foot positions in the picture that indicate a desire to bolt as well. The woman wearing the gray pants has a shifty foot stance with some of her weight on her left foot. Her “runner’s stance” sends the message it’s time for her to go. The woman in the black high heels is in the “Mary Poppins” stance with heels together and toes pointed outwards in opposite directions. The Mary Poppins stance conveys a confusing and yet urgent message of “take me anywhere pronto.”

So the next time you want to get an emotional read on someone’s body language, start by looking at their feet. You never know what they might tell you.