The Ultimate Body Language Guide

Open Body Language Guide

When you’re open or closed, you’re signaling a change in the way you are thinking or feeling, which is usually in response to what the other person has said or done.


When you are open, your arms and legs are not crossed in any way.

Open Arms

Arms are not crossed and may be moving in synchronization with what is being said.

Palms are usually relaxed and can be quite expressive, for example pretending to hold things and form more detailed shapes. Open hands show that nothing is being hidden.

Open Legs

Open legs are not crossed and they often appear to be parallel or stretched apart.

The feet may point forward, to the side or at something or someone of interest.

Looking around and at the other person

The head may either be pointing towards the other person or may be looking around. Eye contact is usually relaxed and prolonged.

Reasons for Opening

There are several reasons for open body language. Look for the transition when the body opens and also the triggers that may have caused this change.


When there is tension in the open body, especially if fists are clenched, then this may be a sign of significant aggression. The person is effectively holding their body open in readiness for a fight.

Aggression is also seen when the body is square on to the other person and is relatively close to them. Movements may be particularly sudden and designed to test the other person’s reactions.


When the palms face upwards, this may indicate a pleading gesture and is usually combined with lowering of the body.


The open body may simply be a sign of resting, relaxed and comfortable.

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


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