How to Have Approachable Body Language

Written by brenna davis
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How to Have Approachable Body Language
People convey many things with their body language. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Body language is a fundamental part of human communication, and the messages you send through body language are often much more powerful than the things you say. Shyness and insecurity can often cause body language that appears unapproachable, unfriendly and even aggressive. Approachable body language is an important component of appearing friendly and likable. It can help people to get dates, impress co-workers, and defuse conflict.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Maintain an open posture. When people are feeling friendly, they tend to expand their physical presence by uncrossing their legs and arms. Keep your legs and arms relaxed and gesture with your hands when appropriate. Wild and bold hand and arm gestures can be intimidating, so keep your hand gestures small, friendly and open.

  2. 2

    Stand in an upright posture. Avoid standing stiffly with your legs planted firmly in the ground. Instead, one leg should be slightly bent and arms should hang loosely or be used for gesturing. A posture that is too stiff can signal aggression and insecurity. You should also avoid slouching or leaning against walls. These postures signal disinterest and even contempt.

  3. 3

    Use eye contact appropriately. People tend to avoid eye contact when they're nervous, especially in romantic contexts. This signals deceit and unfriendliness, however, and you should avoid it. Too much eye contact can also be problematic. Allow yourself to naturally meet people's eyes rather than staring them down. Eye contact that is never broken is intimidating and can signal aggression.

  4. 4

    Smile. It's helpful to practice your smile in front of a mirror so you can see what other people see when they look at you. Make sure your smile is natural and welcoming. Some people tend to give a quick, half-second smile when feeling anxious. This can be disconcerting. Instead, smile for a few seconds, allowing your smile to slowly fade. This is more natural and makes you seem approachable and friendly.

  5. 5

    Be mindful of the actual physical location of your body. Body language involves more than just what people do with their bodies. Avoid standing too close to people. Make sure to turn your body toward an entire group rather than just one person. Having your back to a member of the group can make him feel excluded and unwelcome. Be aware of other people when walking through rooms. Walking too closely behind someone or frequently bumping into people conveys unfriendliness, distraction and aggression and makes you seem less approachable.

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