Arms folded across the chest indicate a wall of defense. “Don’t come near me”, they say.
When I saw it in Robert, my host I was mightily puzzled.
Why is he feeling defensive? It is his office in his home; he invited me here; he is talking, I am listening.
In the end I guessed that he was defensive because it had begun to dawn on him that he was not doing such a good job of selling his idea, but he didn’t know how to re-assemble his thoughts, so it was “Up with the drawbridge!”.
Michael sat to my right.
I sat with my legs crossed, left over right, so my left foot closer to the right of me – where Michael sat when he arrived – than my right foot.
Michael sat down, and after five minutes I saw him re-cross his legs so that his RIGHT leg was crossed over his left, his right foot closer to me than his left.
When two people sit alongside each other, crossing legs so that the opening is toward the other person is a sign of openness, closeness; crossing legs away is a sign of defense.
Naturally enough you are wondering what happens to the middle person when three people site side-by-side.
Check it out next time you sit alongside each other in an area where you have enough space to cross your legs, and they theirs.