#Talk Nerdy To Me™’s @staffwriter
When you see someone with their hands behind their back, what comes to mind? For many people, this gesture can mean several different things. Therefore, in this article, we will explore the different meanings of hands behind back body language.
(Note: This information is applicable to neurotypicals, and some neurodivergents.)
They Feel Powerful and In Control
One meaning of hands behind the back can be interpreted to appear more authoritative. When someone stands with their hands behind their back, they are often perceived as being in charge or in control. This is because this position might make the person seem taller and larger than they actually are based on physical measurements.
Individuals in authority, such as kings or world leaders, do not usually need their hands to perform routine tasks such as opening doors.
Other people do this for them.
They Don’t Want to Get Involved
It might also mean that the person wants to keep their hands to themselves and doesn’t want to get involved.
If someone doesn’t want to get involved, they might stand with their hands behind their back as a way of indicating that they’re not interested in participating. This can be especially true in situations where there’s conflict or tension, and the person doesn’t want to get drawn into arguments or physical fights.
In these cases, standing with hands behind the back can be seen as a way of saying “I’m not going to get involved” or “I’m not going to take sides.”
Alternatively, someone might stand with their hands behind their back because they simply don’t want to touch anything. This could be for hygienic reasons, such as if they’re in a public place and don’t want to touch doorknobs or handrails. Or it could be because they’re trying to avoid potential hazards, such as sharp objects or electrical outlets.
They Might Be Rude or Defensive
It could also be interpreted as being rude or defensive.
When we stand with our hands behind our back, we are essentially closed off from the world. We are not inviting others to approach us or engage with us. This can be interpreted as rudeness, particularly in social situations.
Additionally, standing with our hands behind our back can make us appear guarded and defensive. We are literally creating a physical barrier between ourselves and others. This can be interpreted as a sign that we are not open to communication or interaction.
They Don’t Want to Be Noticed
One of the most common reasons for standing with hands behind the back is shyness. When we’re feeling shy or self-conscious, we often want to make ourselves as small and unobtrusive as possible. Standing with our hands hidden can make us feel less exposed and vulnerable.
Another reason for standing with hands behind the back is that we don’t want to be noticed. This could be because we’re feeling insecure or because we have something to hide. When we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves, we tend to adopt a more closed-off body language, which includes keeping our hands out of sight.
They are Surrendered or Submissive
It could also be a sign of submission or surrender.
The gesture can indicate that the person is willing to acquiesce to the will of others. This body language is often seen in children who are being scolded by adults, as they triangulate their hands behind their back in a position of meek surrender.
In the workplace, it may be used by an employee who is being reprimanded by their superiors, or by a salesperson who is trying to appear deferential to a potential customer.
Regardless of the context, when someone has their hands behind their back, it is often an indication that they are not in a position of power.
They Feel Comfortable in That Position
Alternatively, it might just be a comfortable position for the person.
For one, it can be a way to subtly take up more space. When we feel confident and comfortable, we tend to want to occupy more space.
Standing with your hands behind your back can also make you appear more open and approachable. When our arms are crossed in front of our bodies, we look closed off and guarded.
But when our arms are behind our back, it gives the impression that we’re open to conversation and willing to engage. This is why you’ll often see people who are looking to make new friends or networking standing with their hands behind their backs – it’s a nonverbal cue that says, “I’m open to talking.”
They are Waiting Patiently
If the person is standing with their hands behind their back, it might mean they are waiting patiently or politely for something.
For example, if you are giving a presentation and someone in the audience has their hands behind their back, it might mean they are waiting for you to finish so they can ask their question.
They Might Be in Meditative Thought
If the person has their hands clasped behind their back, it might signify meditative thought or prayerful reflection.
This position can be used to ground and center oneself before engaging in meditation or prayer. By physically anchoring oneself in this way, it helps to still the mind and clear away any distractions.
In addition, this position also has the benefit of allowing the lungs to expand fully, giving the person a deep and calming breath. This is beneficial for both focus and relaxation.
They Want to Respect Someone or Something
In some cases, people put their hands behind their back as a sign of respect, such as when military personnel addresses an officer or when someone is speaking at a funeral service.
This gesture can also be seen in religious contexts, such as when a priest is blessing someone or when a person is praying.
They May Be Dealing with Anxiety
If the person has their hands clasped behind their back and they are fidgeting or wringing their hands, it might be a sign that they are feeling anxious or stressed.
Hands behind the back body language can often be seen in people who are waiting for news or results. The anxiety of the unknown can cause us to fidget and twist our hands behind our backs as we wait for an answer.
Hands Behind Back: The Bottom Line
The next time you see someone with their hands behind their back, take a moment to think about what might be going on with them. Is it a sign of submission or respect? Or are they just trying to take up more space? By considering the context and other body language cues, you can get a better idea of what the person might be thinking or feeling.