Are crossed hands blocked or nervous? Do not make conclusions too fast, crossed hands can point to many different things!


In the interpretation of non-verbal signs, we often encounter interpretations that do not have to be true, but they are so established that people make standard conclusions, but unfortunately they are guilty. For example, a person who is lying can not look you in the eye or people who cross the arms are blocked.

However, that is not the case. Below we bring an excellent text by Joe Navarro, which lists nine different meanings of crossed hands. And as Navarro says and we agree completely with him, ‘Do not judge too fast, crossed hands can have more meaning.’ Which, read below.

“Very often they can hear: If we cross our hands, we block each other and send out a negative message. I’m sure you heard this too. But is it really so?

I want to inform you that it is not so. It’s just a mistake, like some other myths about non-verbal communication, as well as the idea of ​​lying if we look to the side.

Let us now consider this harmful little misunderstanding about a very useful nonverbal behavior and try to clarify it.


You’ve probably noticed that your hands cross your chest much more in the public than in privacy. In a certain way, it’s like shouting on yourself and at that moment acting comforting, Psychology Today writes. We do this while listening to someone during a speech or waiting to start with a presentation.

Of course, at this point, we are not trying to distance anyone from ourselves, we only contribute to our own comedy. In most cases, it’s just a commotion why we’re crazy about ourselves. Ask a person from the audience with their crossed hands, feel comfortable and will always say yes, because that’s what they really feel.

Stress relief

When we are under stress, relief comes to us by crossing our hands over the torso in order to reach the opposite hand and massaging it. This nonverbal behavior, which calms us and comforts us, serves the same as rubbing the hands of just stronger intensity.

And again, this is not blocking non-verbal behavior, but it gives the observer the knowledge that it is a certain tension that teachers often see in the testing days.

Hide uncertainty

Women who feel insecure or seek a way to protect themselves from lusty male glances often cross their arms so they will not feel so exposed. This nonverbal behavior also works with men who feel insecure in the presence of another man.

In the famous US election campaign in 1960, Richard Nixon crossed his arms while informally talking to John. For Kennedy, as he mentioned in his autobiography, Nixon always felt insecure in the company of “Ivy League Types”, although he was the vice president of the United States and had an international status.

Nervousness and fear

When we talk about insecurity, when we are scared or feeling great nervous crossed hands, we help overcome this tension or psychological stress. In this case we can still add and often touch the door or cover the recesses beneath Adam’s apple.

Touching the door, which you may have already read, is a sign of tension, nervousness, insecurity, or emotional stress, the person first folds his arms over the torso, then releases one hand to touch his neck and then returns back.


How are two men with crossed hands, both with their shoulders leaning against the wall and their legs crossed over? Is there a conflict between them? The answer is no. The fact is that they mirror each other, and their crossed legs say that everything is OK among them.

We skip the legs only when we feel relaxed enough in the presence of another person (This should be taken with a high dose of reserve and look at the whole situation because the generally crossed legs are defensive or subordinate).

Why then have their hands crossed? Simply because they are comfortable and focused on the topic of conversation.

Abstinence or frustration

Without further, our hands cross over our chest when we are upset, but mostly as a way to rest and to calm down. Children do it non stop. When we ask them to do something they do not want, they will cross their hands, sometimes squeeze their hands, the torso will squeeze strongly, almost like a “haunted shirt”.

In many cases, this serves as a vision of nonverbal communication to show very vividly how we feel, without saying a single word. Often at the airport we can see adults who behave like that, their hands are tightly crossed with their squeezed hands, refraining from missing the flight. And again – this is not blocking nonverbal behavior, this is a suppressive nonverbal behavior.

Powerful position

Especially men use crossed hands over their chest to look bigger, but sometimes women working in the police or army do it. Club makers often take this position as other men who think they should intimidate others. In any case, like many primate behaviors, this also serves to show us more massive than we are.

In this way we communicate: “If there is a problem I am sufficiently large to solve it.” Superman often appeared in this position. New Statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Washington is also in such a position. In schools, professors are unfortunately called this position as “violent position”.

Crossed hands of isolation

You often go to someone who is antipathic and you really want to make a barrier, you want to be isolated from that person. Apart from leaving that person, crossed hands help to create physical and mental barriers.

Keep in mind that this can help you deal with that person, but in most cases this does not reach the people you want to reach. Do not count that this position will protect you from unwanted people.

It’s cold

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the best. True to your will we sometimes cross our hands simply because we are cold …

And, does the crossed hands give a bad impression? Depends. Studies have shown that people feel slightly distracted when they cross their arms over the torso, but this is more common if they are strangers. If you are in the company of a friend or colleague, this does not have to be seen as blocking nonverbal behavior, in fact, many people say this indicates that the interviewee is serious and involved in the conversation.

This can explain why we often see this behavior among people working together and discussing important topics. This can be seen among politicians of the same party or among the doctors.

I really believe that it is very important for the proper interpretation of this nonverbal sign whether people are known or seen for the first time. I allow it to have other nonverbal characters that are more heartfelt than crossed hands, but we also need to know that it is not just a blocking nonverbal behavior.

When we study nonverbal behavior, we have to take the circumstances, the environment, and the rest of the behavior we see, not just one of them. That means we need to read the entire body, from head to toe.

Unfortunately, myths about nonverbal communication are abundant, and myth about crossed hands is one that has been misunderstood by uninvited people as a blocking nonverbal behavior, and there are actually a multitude of different reasons why someone crossed the chest.

So the next time you see it, do not be surprised if a person simply rest or is contemplative or maybe weighs them. “

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