When it comes to body language, people are often chastised for the subtle movements that make them appear unconfident; we’re told to sit up straight, look people in the eye, and give a firm handshake. But what about the body language cues that convey just the opposite: arrogance, unapproachability, or cockiness? With the help of Business Insider, we’ve identified three surprising habits that can make you come off as arrogant—most of which you probably don’t even realize you’re doing.
Perhaps the most obvious on the list, crossing your arms—whether you’re at work, out for dinner, or socializing at a bar—gives off an air of unapproachability and standoffishness. Unfortunately, people often cross their arms when feeling awkward or uncomfortable, unaware of the inaccessibility that this stance conveys. Try opening up your posture a bit to invite conversation and avoid looking uncomfortable or disinterested.
This habit is so deeply entrenched in our culture that you almost expect someone to check their phone during brunch or over morning coffee. But the fact of the matter is this gesture conveys “a high level of boredom,” according to Business Insider. “It’s another one of those habits that make you appear to think that you’re too important to be there.” Though you could argue that compulsively checking your phone is just a bad habit, symptomatic of our “always on” mentality, anyone who’s been interrupted mid-conversation by an iPhone knows how impolite it is.
While our wellness-focused culture lauds deep breathing as a quick, easy way to relax and unwind, letting out a deep sigh at the wrong moment can convey just the opposite. “While you might not necessarily consider it body language, it’s still a nonverbal cue that can send a pretty strong message,” explains Business Insider. “Most people equate sighing with being uninterested, exasperated, or judgmental about what’s being said.” That said, it’s best to avoid heavy sighing at work, in a meeting, or when meeting someone new.