The Ultimate Body Language Guide

Closed Body Language Guide

Language of closure

Closure is when the body is closed up for various reasons. It can range from a slight bringing together of the limbs to a tight curled up ball.

Crossed Arms

One form of a closed position is when the arms are crossed or folded in somehow. They may be folded, tightly clasped or simply holding one another. The arms may also be lightly crossed by simply resting wrist upon wrist.

Varying levels of tension may be seen in the arms and shoulders, from a relaxed state to tight tension and holding on to the body or other arms.

Crossed Legs

There are several styles of leg crossing, including the ankle cross, the knee cross, the figure-four (ankle on opposite knee) and the tense wrap-around.

Legs may also wrap around convenient other objects, such as chair or table legs.

When legs are crossed but arms are not, it can show deliberate attempts to appear relaxed. This is particularly true when legs are hidden under a table.

Looking Down or Away

The head may incline or decline away from the person.

Reasons for closing

There are usually several factors as to why certain body language occurs. This is why it is dangerous to assume anythin without taking factors into concideration. Look for the transition when the body closes and the triggers that may have caused this change.


Closing also may serve the purpose of hiding something that we do not want the other person to see. Holding the body still prevents it from betraying our thoughts. Looking away prevents the other person from seeing our expression that may show dislike or lying.


A more common form of closure is when we are cold. Huddling up reduces exposed body area and reduces heat loss. Holding warmer parts of the body against colder parts evens the temperature.


When you are trying to persuade a person, then their standing or sitting in a closed position is usually a signal that they are not ready to be persuaded. Moving them to an open position can significantly increase your chances of persuading them.

Forced Hand Use

A common method sales people use to break a crossed-arms closed position is to give the person something to hold or otherwise ask them to use their hands, for example asking them to turn over a page, stand up and or hold something.

Interested in learning everything there is to know about body language? Check out this complete body language guide.


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