Space Invasion, When People Get too Close


I’m about to speak to a group of CEOs in Florida.  I notice that two of the group members are standing side-to-side, feet in a guy relaxed stance talking together laughing and eating bagels. Another CEO, the only guy in the meeting wearing a tie approaches them.  Their entire bodies change and turn to face the Tie guy each enlarging their bodies and moving their feet far apart.  In a brief minute they are exchanging thousands of cues.  It is clear to me these guys aren’t going to share the bagels or anything else with Tie guy but Tie guy doesn’t pick up on the cues.  Research shows that in just one minute you can exchange up to 10,000 nonverbal cues.

        This example specifically was Proxemics- how people use and perceive space.  Adults typically have more control of their face and upper bodies but the feet are under less conscious control.

        The broader your stance typically the more powerful you feel or want to feel. There’s physics to it!  The more space you take up the less of a push over you are as well as the message of power you send to others.

        So note, our feet communicate exactly what we think and feel more honestly than other parts of our bodies. (Morris, 1985, 244) Generally, people are focused on controlling their facial expressions, torsos and upper body while communicating.  The feet are vital to us responding to danger and stress and we need them to freeze, flee, fight, or fall.

        When you’re monitoring yourself check out your feet how you feel about yourself the topic or situation and the other person or people you are with.

        The CEOs eating bagels in the story changed their stances from relaxed to what I call a Toe Stop position. A position people, mainly men, take when they are standing side-by-side with their buddies in agreement, talking to equals and relaxed. When Tie guy approached they went into what I call lock and load position. True Grit ready to go for their guns. It is an alpha/ready to attack or defend stance.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

Julia Roberts' Niece, Emma Roberts and Evan Peters' Body Language as a Couple since the Domestic Violence Charge

Patti was asked to read the body language of Emma Roberts and Evan Peters in the pic below by Life and Style Magazine.  Her comments will be in next Wednesday's issue in the PDA section. 


That is doozy of a story. I can't see her hand closest to him.  Really they are walking beautifully in sync with one another.  See how the toes are down in the same spot on the ball of the foot on their back foot and on the heel of the foot on the front foot.   Exactly in step and looking down at the same spot which means  (I remember the first photo I read of Julia with her then new boyfriend now husband where they were walking in sync and I said for a mag" This it. This is her love" 

Getting back to them, I do see that she is using her artifact (purse papers and scarf) to block her heart, but it could be the photographer. 

What I think is most interesting is that he is so cautiously putting his hand around her. See how the upper arm, elbow and forearm are not touching her and the hand is flat. It is a very polite way of showing affection and protection and not the usual arm wrap of love and ownership.

From the photo alone I would give them a 3.

Here is a piece I did later on Julia with all her boyfriends. http://www.pattiwood.net/uploads/Julia%20Roberts%20Body%20Language%20US%20mag.pdf


Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

Patti on the TODAY SHOW, August 1, 2013 @ 8:20 a.m.

Here are Patti's notes for her appearance on the Today Show, August 1, 2013 @ 8:20 am.  Tune in to watch Patti but if you're not able you can check back on the blog later on August 1 to see the entire video of Patti on the Today Show.

WHY ARE WE SO UNCOMFORTABLE BEING CLOSE UP WITH STRANGERS?
Forced, close distances get intense at 2 feet.  Arm’s length, our bodies go into a “Stranger Danger” stress response. You have heard of the flight fight response it’s more complex. Close strangers may make you want to freeze in place, flee, expand into fight response, faint or fade.

WHY ARE ELEVATORS SO ESPECIALLY AWKWARD?
People coming in face forward into your space feels like an attack and invasion. And once you’re trapped in that space there are no lines on the floor saying this is my space that is yours. That’s why people hang out at the button panel; it gives them a defined role space.

HOW CLOSE CAN WE GET TO ANOTHER PERSON?
In North America our sense of self is external so we have a body bubble that has expanded to 18 inches. 

WHAT IS THE DISTANCE WE ARE ALL GENERALLY COMFORTABLE WITH?
Intimate relationships 0 to 18 inches, for people we know but aren’t going to be kissing 2 feet in what is called personal distance. If we don’t know them and are confined we want 4 feet or more (Think two arm lengths.)

TALKING…WHY DO WE FEEL WE SHOLDN’T TALK TO STRANGERS IN CLOSE SPACES BUT SOMETIMES WE FEEL LIKE WE NEED TO?
Social proxemics

Typically When you have an intimate relationship, think friend or family, both your primitive, limbic brain and social rules say you can and should be physically close.  If you are forced to be close with a stranger you are battling the physical messages that say this is scary and the social etiquette that says, I should be nice, after all we’re close.

HOW DO WE SIGNAL THAT WE DON’T WANT TO ENGAGE? AND WHAT’S THAT ABOUT?
Subtle limbic brain responses called blocking and comfort cues.

WHAT ARE STRESS OR COMFORT CUES?  
Blocking cues protect, comfort cues make us feel better. Rapid blinking or something I see in elevators eye shade, closing your eyes I don’t see you (or maybe you’re just napping), crossing your arms to protect your body’s vulnerable ventral front.

WHAT DO WE DO TO BLOCK AND COMFORT OURSELVES?
When mommy is not here to hold us we self-comfort.  This alerts the nerve endings and creates endorphins that make us feel better.

LET’S TALK ABOUT WHEN WE ARE STUCK SEATED NEXT TO SOMEBODY ELSE: ON A PLANE, IN A THEATRE, ON A TRAIN, ON A BUS, ETC… WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PHYSICAL THINGS WE DO TO CREATE A DISTANCE IF IT FEELS TOO CLOSE?
We may consciously avoid engagement leaning back or breaking eye contact by checking our phones or reading.  I have a theory that women’s huge purses are to make women bigger, mightier and give her something to use to block access. 
 
IS THERE A GENDER DIFFERENCE?
This is huge. Men feel attacked when sitting or standing face-to- face.  (Think elevator) They tend to puff up, get bigger in fight response or shut down and not talk. Men feel more comfortable in side-by-side.  So men can sit close on stools at a bar.  Women are socialized to face and nurture children so if they are side-to-side and they want to start a conversation they will turn and face their hearts toward you.  
 
ON AIRPLANES, THERE’S A PARTICULAR HEIGHTENED SENSE OF DISCOMFORT WHEN TALKING TO THE STRANGER SITTING NEXT TO US. IS IT TRUE? AND WHY IS THAT?
You are on a small plane hurtling in the air and there is no place to run. If you’re a frequent flyer,  you know that seats use to give you six inches of elbow room from your torso but now seats put you in an intimate space less than 12 inches head to head.

OVERALL ANY GENERAL WORDS OF ADVICE OR TIPS TO MAKE CLOSE SPACES WITH STRANGERS LESS AWKWARD AND MORE COMFORTABLE?
If you want to ease stress, establish commonality, something that signals we are in this together state something you have in common, the weather, the temperature in the plane or train, the coffee. 

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

What does Castro's Body Language Reveal?


Patti was interviewed by Erin Burnett on CNN while in Wisconsin yesterday on the body language of Castro, the man that held 3 women captive for 10 years.  Click the link below to hear Patti's observations of Castro's body language during his appearance in court.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THW6N5Enu6s&feature=youtu.be

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

PDA of the Week with Patti for Life & Style

Even though Bradley Cooper, 38, kept his eyes on the tennis match at Wimbledon in London on July 5, he was clearly happy to receive a snuggle from his new love, model Suki Waterhouse, 21.  "I like that he's subtly leaning in," observes Wood.  "He's lifting his shoulder up a little bit to cuddle with her as well."  As for Suki, "she's really pressing into his cheek, so she feels really comfortable with him."
 
Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

PDA of the Week with Patti Wood for Life & Style


Reading the body language in this pic for Life & Style, Patti observes that Johnny Depp looks like he is being a little cold towards Amber Heard. He is two steps ahead and it is clear that he wants to be in charge.  But Amber isn't on board with Johnny leading the way.  Her upright posture shows she has her own power.





Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressionscom. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

PDA of the Week with Patti Wood for Life & Style


Reading the body language in this pic for Life & Style, Patti says Gerard is really happy with Madalina and they are really in sync.  He is leaning into her and wants to be as close to her as possible.  The feeling is mutual and Madalina wraps her arms around him, her hip is touching his, meaning she's very comfortable with the physical side of their relationship..



Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.

Nicholas Brooks' Body Language during Interrogation


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XfTnAfCqJ4


Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at www.PattiWood.net. Check out Patti's website for her new book "SNAP, Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language and Charisma" at www.snapfirstimpressions.com. Also check out Patti's YouTube channel at http://youtube.com/user/bodylanguageexpert.