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Body language: The truth of the pointing foot

When we communicate with others, our attention is focused mainly on the words they speak and the facial expressions they make. We pay little, if any, attention to gestures of the body and when it comes to the feet, we almost never look at them.

Yet, as I mentioned in an earlier post about feet movements, what a person’s foot does can be the most accurate clue of their emotional state. The more distant a body part is from the brain, the less aware we are of its movements and hence the less we are able to manipulate it.

So our feet often give away our true feelings without us being aware of it and an expert can easily understand what’s on your mind just by looking at your feet.

men pointing foot

The pointing foot

In any situation where we are involved with some other person or a group, be it standing or seated position, the direction in which our lead foot (the right one, mostly) points, reveals the direction in which we want to go.

The direction in which a person's foot points reveals the actual direction in which the person wants to go, even if they're engaged in conversation with other people. For instance, if you see a person talking to someone but their foot is pointing towards you, it means they are interested in you and want to approach you. 

The person who points his foot towards you is thinking of approaching you in the back of their mind, even if they seem to be engaged with their own group. You can confirm this by the occasional, stealthy look they give you. The person will try to keep you in their line of sight as long as they can and as often as they can.

It is interesting to note that even before the person orients his body in the direction he wants to go, he orients his foot. That is to say, foot pointing happens precedes body orientation. Body orientation, prolonged gaze and foot pointing are sure signs that a person is interested in you. They’re literally asking to be approached.

The foot forward position

Watch two people who’re totally interested in each other in a conversation and you’ll notice that each of them points their one foot (the lead foot) forward towards the other person. If only one of them is interested in the other one, you’ll only see one foot stepping forward. Of course, the person who is interested will be the one who assumes this foot forward position.

This gesture conveys interest because of two reasons. First, the person is ‘pointing’ his foot to the other person and second, this gesture is an attempt to reduce the space between him and the other person. It almost looks like the person is beginning to walk towards that which interests him. In a group situation, if you watch in what direction a person is ‘beginning to walk’ so to speak, you’ll easily figure out whom the person finds most interesting or attractive.

Time to exit

If we want to leave a meeting or a conversation, our foot will point in the direction of the nearest exit. If you notice this in a person who you are talking to, it can mean a lot of things- they're not interested in you or in what you have to say, they're late for an appointment or that they want to go to the bathroom. So context matters.

In a group conversation, the person who first leaves will be the one who had his foot pointed in a direction away from the group. He’ll leave exactly in the direction where his foot was pointing as if pulled by an imaginary rope along a straight line.

Some women, when they begin to think of leaving the room, point their foot towards the door and start adjusting the back of their clothing and hair so as to make a good rear-view impression as they leave.

Toes pointing upward

When the toes point upward, it means the person is in a good mood or is thinking or hearing something positive. For instance, if a teacher announces a camping trip to the class, the especially excited students will point their toes upward.

If you notice a person pointing his toes upward while talking on the phone, you can be sure that they’re hearing something good or are simply enjoying their conversation. This may also get confirmed by their frequent smile during the conversation. 

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