The hand on hips pose is among the most typical body language gestures that us encounter. Ns pretty sure that many people, at the very least intuitively, know what itmeans.

Still, the certainty of conscious knowledge is better than intuition. The former makes it less likely because that you to neglect a gesture the following time you notification it.

You are watching: Woman hands on hips

A human who is ready for assertive action is likely to i think the hands on hips gesture. We just take assertive activity when us feel the have to assert ourselves.

We only feel the should assert ourselves when our rights are violated or as soon as we encounter an unpleasant instance that requires us to collection things straight.

So, it may be the the human who assumes this gesture isangryor irritated. By relaxing hands on the hips and also sometimes opened up the feet to take it a wider stance, we try to appear bigger by acquisition up much more space.

In one earlier short article about rubbing the neck, I stated that animals try to show up bigger throughout a fight as their hair stands ~ above its end near the skin.1

The whole purpose of make the efforts to appear bigger is to intimidate the other human being whom you’re all set to attack.

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

Pride, confidence, dominance, and assertiveness walk hand in hand. In one study, 89% that the attendees judged the hands on hips gesture, together with a smile and also slightly elevated chin, as a signal that pride.2

Hands on hips during conversations

When you watch two civilization arguing, the human who takes up this gesture is the one who feels an ext offended. They’re also more likely to be the one come strike the very first blow in case the altercation turns physical.

When you’re talk to someone and they rest their hand on your hips, it can mean a variety of different things.

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

If you’re narrating a story around how girlfriend once acquired out of a difficult situation, castle may have mentally placed themselves in your shoes (called mentalization). They’re most likely thinking around what assertive activity they’d take if they to be in your place.

When observing this gesture throughout your interactions, shot looking at other body language gestures the the human to narrow down the exactly meaning. If they have actually an upset expression on their face, they probably aren’t liking what they’re seeing or hearing and are prepare to face you.

If they keep a good distance from the group while relaxing their hands on their hips, it can be a authorize they’re not interested. Also, they may be mentally preparing to leave.

During negotiations, interpreting this gesture together with other human body language gestures becomes especially important.

Say you’re make an offer to someone and you notification that they’ve rested your hands on your hips.

The an initial thing you should note is their hands. As I’ll define later, based on what their hands are doing, they might be hostile, curious, or annoyed. ~ this, you must note other elements of your body language together as testimonial gestures and also facial expressions.

Doing this will help you reliably conclude whether or no they prefer your offer- whether they’re prepare to leave or communicate with her offer.

Waiting for action

Now, this human body language pose might not always reflect assertiveness, however it almost always indicates readiness because that action.

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

Still, most of the time, this gesture has something to execute with being assertive in one means or the other.

I desire you to recall the pictures of famous activity heroes prefer Batman or Superman. You regularly see them in the hands-on-hips pose due to the fact that they’re constantly ‘ready for action’, always ready to loss the angry guys.

A policeman ~ above 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 simply since they’re too tired to leave their arms dangling on their sides without support. We notification this in runners once they’re worn down after a lengthy run. So store the paper definition in mind once you analyze this gesture.

Clenched hand on hips gesture

If a person assuming this gesture has their hand clenched in a fist-like position, it signal hostility in addition to assertiveness. It might be very difficult, if no impossible, come placate this person.

It is as if the human is all set to punch you v their close up door fists. If you wake up this person even a tad more, you can have to confront drastic consequences. It’s a good idea to offer this person something come hold, forcing them to unclench their fist. This might break their hostile attitude.


Assertive and also curious

Sometimes a person have the right to be ready for action but no quite know yet what the heck is going on. Because that instance, if you see your friend arguing with someone, you might automatically rush to protect him there is no actually learning what’s happening. This inquisitiveness may get reflected in your body language.


Your hands will rest flat on her hips vertically as shown in the over image instead of the typical position. This gesture shows an assertive but also a curious attitude. That is suspect by a human when they want to perform something yet don’t know what’s going on or aren’t sure what precisely they must be doing.

Assertive and also annoyed

Sometimes a person resting their hands on their hips may rest the back of your hands on their hips, v palms encountering outward. This gesture indicates that the human being is uncomfortable by what they’re seeing.

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

It is generally observed in women. If you make a chaos of her room and also your mother or wife sees it, she might not necessarily desire to punch you immediately. But she’ll likely be annoyed at you and also she might be reasoning that she requirements to execute something about it.

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


Her human body language indicates that she’s annoyed at miscellaneous or someone and perhaps a little curious about it in ~ the very same time.


Pease, B., & Pease, A. (2008).The definitive publication of body language: The hidden an interpretation behind people’s gestures and expressions. Bantam.Tracy, J. L., & Robins, R. W. (2004). Display your pride: evidence for a discrete feeling 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.