The hands on hips pose is just one of the the majority of common body language gestures that we encounter. I’m pretty sure that many world, at least intuitively, know what itsuggests.

Still, the certainty of aware understanding is much better than intuition. The previous renders it much less likely for you to disregard a gesture the following time you notice it.

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A perkid that is ready for assertive action is likely to assume the hands on hips gesture. We only take assertive action as soon as we feel the should assert ourselves.

We only feel the have to assert ourselves once our legal rights are violated or as soon as we encounter an unpleasant situation that requires us to set points straight.

So, it might be that the perchild who assumes this gesture isangryor irritated. By relaxing hands on the hips and also periodically opening up the feet to take a broader stance, we try to show up bigger by taking up more space.

In an earlier short article about rubbing the neck, I discussed that pets attempt to show up bigger throughout a fight as their hair stands on its end near the skin.1

The whole function of trying to show up bigger is to intimiday the various other person whom you’re prepared to strike.

Because of this, this body language gesture likewise conveys an intention of direct confrontation.

Pride, confidence, supremacy, and also assertiveness go hand also in hand also. In one examine, 89% of the participants judged the hands on hips gesture, along with a smile and slightly elevated chin, as a signal of pride.2

Hands on hips in the time of conversations

When you view 2 civilization suggesting, the perchild that takes up this gesture is the one who feels more offfinished. They’re likewise even more most likely to be the one to strike the initially blow in situation the altercation turns physical.

When you’re talking to someone and also they rest their hands on their hips, it might mean a number of different points.

It might be that they don’t like just how you’re wasting their time with a boring story.

If you’re narrating a story around just how you as soon as acquired out of a troublesome instance, they might have actually mentally inserted themselves in your shoes (dubbed mentalization). They’re more than likely reasoning about what assertive activity they’d take if they were in your location.

When observing this gesture in the time of your interactions, try looking at other body language gestures of the perchild to narrowhead dvery own the correct definition. If they have actually an angry expression on their challenge, they more than likely aren’t liking what they’re seeing or hearing and also are preparing to confront you.

If they maintain an excellent distance from the group while relaxing their hands on their hips, it have the right to be a sign they’re not interested. Also, they may be mentally preparing to leave.

Throughout negotiations, interpreting this gesture along with various other body language gestures becomes especially essential.

Say you’re making an market to someone and also you alert that they’ve rested their hands on their hips.

The first point you should note is their hands. As I’ll define later on, based upon what their hands are doing, they may be hostile, curious, or annoyed. After this, you should note various other elements of their body language such as testimonial gestures and also facial expressions.

Doing this will certainly aid you reliably conclude whether or not they choose your offer- whether they’re preparing to leave or communicate through your sell.

Waiting for action

Now, this body language pose might not always reflect assertiveness, but it practically constantly suggests readiness for activity.

For instance, you’re likely to notice it when a boxer is waiting for an additional round to begin or when an athlete is waiting for a game to begin.3

Still, a lot of of the time, this gesture has actually somepoint to perform via being assertive in one way or the various other.

I want you to respeak to the imperiods of well known activity heroes like Batmale or Superguy. You frequently check out them in the hands-on-hips pose bereason they’re constantly ‘all set for action’, constantly ready to defeat the evil males.

A policeman on duty frequently assumes this gesture, signaling the attitude of “I’m-going-to bust-any-crook-who-messes-around”.


Sometimes, a person assumes this gesture sindicate because they’re also tired to leave their arms dangling on their sides without assistance. We notice this in runners as soon as they’re worn down after a long run. So store the context in mind once you translate this gesture.

Clenched hands on hips gesture

If a perkid assuming this gesture has actually their hands clenched in a fist-choose position, it signals hostility in addition to assertiveness. It might be very difficult, if not difficult, to placate this perkid.

It is as if the perboy is all set to punch you through their closed fists. If you irritate this perboy even a tad even more, you can need to challenge drastic after-effects. It’s a good principle to give this perkid something to hold, forcing them to unclench their fist. This may break their hostile attitude.


Assertive and also curious

Sometimes a person deserve to be ready for activity however doesn’t fairly understand yet what the heck is going on. For instance, if you watch your friend arguing with someone, you could automatically rush to protect him without actually understanding what’s happening. This inquisitiveness may get reflected in your body language.


Your hands will rest level on your hips vertically as presented in the above photo instead of the conventional position. This gesture shows an assertive yet likewise a curious attitude. It is assumed by a perboy as soon as they desire to carry out somepoint yet don’t know what’s going on or aren’t sure what exactly they need to be doing.

Assertive and annoyed

Sometimes a perkid relaxing their hands on their hips might remainder the back of their hands on their hips, with palms dealing with external. This gesture suggests that the person is annoyed by what they’re seeing.

This gesture is passive and also less aggressive compared to the ‘assertive and also hostile’ gesture over.

It is commonly oboffered in women. If you make a mess of your room and also your mommy or wife sees it, she may not necessarily desire to punch you instantly. But she’ll likely be annoyed at you and she could be reasoning that she needs to do somepoint around it.

Before I leave, let’s translate this woman’s body language…


Her body language shows that she’s annoyed at something or someone and also probably a small curious around it at the very same time.


Pease, B., & Pease, A. (2008).The definitive book of body language: The surprise interpretation behind people’s gestures and also expressions. Bantam.Tracy, J. L., & Robins, R. W. (2004). Sexactly how your pride: Evidence for a discrete emovement expression.Psychological Science,15(3), 194-197.Sielski, L. M. (1979). Understanding body language.

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The Personnel and also Guidance Journal,57(5), 238-242.