Reading and understanding another person’s feelings is very important for your daily interaction with others. You need to discern if someone is upset or angry or happy or feeling guilty, as you can’t always rely on what they say to communicate this with you.
How often has your spouse or your boss told you that everything was fine when you knew very well that things were not fine, or have your children told you that they weren’t doing anything bad when you could tell that they were actually up to no good? It’s vital to learn to read others and how they feel just from their facial expressions and body language, and you can improve your skills in this area if you try.
To get better at reading someone else’s feelings, practice with a friend or your partner. Try to note the details of their facial expression as they convey emotion. As an example, a genuine smile will crinkle up the muscles and skin around the eyes whereas a forced smile usually just involves the mouth turned up at the corners.
The eyes can also tell you if someone is upset. If they narrow their eyes when they speak, chances are they’re angry or upset. If the eyes open wider than normal, they’re interested or happy, as the eyes let in more light to take in more information when someone is curious or happy. The mouth can also give you information about their emotions; if it seems rigid and unmoving, they’re probably upset as this helps them to control their emotions. If the corners turn own even slightly, they may also be upset or sad as this is one of the first signs of crying.
Tone of voice also tells you quite a bit about a person’s emotions. A higher pitch signals more emotions than typical, so they may be happier or upset if their voice goes up. When trying to control emotions, the voice may go down in pitch as they try to control the voice and keep it from trembling. A flat voice with little rise or change in pitch also signals someone trying to control their emotion, either anger or sadness.
Body language also tells you something about their emotions. When a person has a stiff and rigid frame, they are usually trying to control anger or fear. If they’re more relaxed, they may be happier. If they avoid eye contact, they may not be telling you the truth, and if they have their arms crossed in front of their chest this may signal that they’re ready for a fight or are not happy with the conversation. None of these signs are absolute so you need to be careful about assuming too much when it comes to someone else’s emotions, but these simple tips can help you to become better at reading others.