How To Identify The Real Intentions And True Feelings Of People?

How to master nonverbal communication to know people’s real feelings?

Chirag Malik
7 min readJan 11, 2023
  • People wear masks, and there is no denying that they act differently in various settings, with other individuals, and during social occasions in both their personal and professional life.
  • They put on masks that present themselves in the best possible way, they say the correct things, smile, and nod at the appropriate times, and over many years of acting in this way, We all have mastered the art of hiding our anxieties, envies, and insecurities — not just with other people, but also with ourselves.
  • We have this continual desire to express our feelings and yet at the same time we need to conceal them for proper social functioning, these counterforces are continuously battling between us and we do not have complete control over what we are communicating through our facial expressions, postures, and tone of voice.
  • If we accept this social façade or the mask as reality, we risk being taken off guard when someone who has been getting along with us well suddenly shows hostility, opposition, or envy. It happens because words are often used as a cover-up, a way to conceal what is really going on.
  • But fortunately, people’s masks have cracks in them, allowing them to disclose their genuine intents and unfiltered thoughts through nonverbal cues like their body language, facial expressions, voice inflections, a fake smile that doesn’t reach their eyes, and a variety of other tense gestures. These nonverbal signs are subtle, yet they are difficult to overlook if you pay close attention to them.
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  • Nonverbal language is the second language of the human species, in which people expressed something deep within themselves, sometimes without being aware of it. Learning this language can protect you from the unwanted hardships of life and identify the true intentions and feelings of the people around you.
  • I’ve studied this language in the book “The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene” and here I’m sharing what I’ve learned.

Why Nonverbal Communication Is Important?

  • We are the most successful social animals on this planet and for hundreds and thousands of years, we survived through communication through this nonverbal language before the investigation of language itself.
  • It is estimated that now also, almost 65% of all human communication is nonverbal, but the catch is, only 5% of it is absorbed or pickup by other people. As a species, we focus mainly on the words that people are conveying which don’t reflect their true intentions or real feelings and we fail to pick these nonverbal cues that tell us what they are hiding and their real desires.
  • If we are unable to identify these nonverbal cues, it is as if we are navigating this complex world while wearing a blindfold. This invites misunderstanding and hardships and the loss of life-changing opportunities to influence people.

How To Identify These Nonverbal Cues And Use Them To Your Advantage?

  • You’ve mastered the language you speak now through years of practice and a lot of punishments from your teachers. In order to master this nonverbal language as well, you must first acknowledge to yourself that you are self-absorbed and more concerned with yourself than with other people, which makes it difficult for you to notice these signs.
  • And the second thing you need to accept is that this role-playing and the wearing of masks are essential for smooth social functioning, but you must remain observant and not take people’s appearances for reality. Because if you get blinded by other people’s acting skills you won’t be able to decode their real desires and true feelings.

Understanding How To Observe People

  • When we were children we were great observers of people, their moods, facial expressions, and all the other nonverbal cues. Because we were and our survival depends on decoding these subtle signs. As children, we could easily tell if someone was threatening us by their body language.
  • Children could quickly see through the mask one was projecting, so here we are not acquiring the skills to observe people but merely rediscovering our inborn talent which is lost when we became more concerned with how others see us.
  • You need to take baby steps, to see small and daily progress. In a casual conversation with someone, give yourself a goal to observe at least 2–3 facial expressions that seem to go against what the other person is saying.
  • Focus on the face of the person you’re speaking to and pay close attention to their facial expressions. Watch for forced grins, tensing of the facial muscles, lip pursing, and the beginning of a frown, sneer, or look of contempt, among other subtle indications. You must remain relaxed and attentive because it is nearly impossible to control these facial expressions and repress the signs.
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  • Try this practice on several persons in various conversations and after you find it simple to recognize the facial cues. The next stage is to concentrate on the voice and pay attention to the small changes in the pitch of their voice when they are talking about a topic that is sensitive to them. Some people try to talk fast when they are lying. Look for these signs.
  • You must practice this observation by keeping the conversation alive, if you just stare at them and say nothing, they’ll freeze and become extra conscious of their facial expressions and might reveal nothing.
  • Make them think that you are listening to them by mirroring their gestures or making nodding at the right time and let them do most of the talking. It takes practice, patience, and a bit of hard work but the returns on investments are huge. You are learning a language that will reveal people’s true intentions and real feelings, it’s a superpower.
  • When you engage with the same person under different circumstances, they act differently. Notice the change, this will increase your vocabulary for this nonverbal language.
  • Words express direct information, nonverbal cues are much more ambiguous and indirect.
  • As a part of the practice observe yourself as well, notice when you put on a fake smile and say that you agree to something but your eyes and facial gestures communicated something else. Know how you respond under stress when you are nervous or lying to your boss or spouse. Becoming acutely aware of your own nonverbal cues will make you more sensitive and alert to the signals of others.
  • You’ll become good at identifying which emotion is resonating with which nonverbal cue and you’ll be able to gauge people’s real moods, feelings, desires, and emotions.

How To Decode Someone’s Behavior?

  • People frequently express their true desires when they are drunk, sleepy, stressed, frustrated, or angry, and after that emotionally charged moment has passed, they tend to rationalize this by saying that they weren’t being themselves at the time when, in reality, they were being more themselves than ever.
  • So pay extra attention to their words when they are in these states, you’ll be able to know more about that person and you’ll be able to decode their behavior.
  • There is always something going around in people’s heads but for the sake of social order they can’t express it, they’ll give you mixed signals to distract you, for instance, they’ll appreciate your work through their words but their body language and the tone of their voice will tell a different story, it is done to realize the tension they are feeling, it feels good to express what you are truly feeling but people usually don’t do it because there are consequences attached to it.
  • You want to say that your coworker or your boss is a jerk, but you can’t because either you’ll be fired or will not be accepted as part of the team, so you tend to express or I’d say leak your feeling through the nonverbal medium.
  • Similarly, if someone likes you, they will leak out their subtle expressions in a contrasting way, their smiles will be wider when you’re around, they feel more excited and eager to start the conversation, the lines on their forehead will relax and their lips will appear fully exposed and the whole area around their eyes will widen, these are expressions of openness and comfort.
  • If you suspect someone might be jealous of you. Tell them about your recent success from any walk of your life. It could be a job promotion, a salary raise, onboarding a new client, or closing a great deal. You’ll notice a very quick expression of disappointment on their face. Their voice might go dry and even if they want to, they can’t take away that microexpression from their face. They’ll try to cover it up with a fake smile that doesn’t reach their eyes.
  • Or you can share your misfortune with them and you’ll notice a subtle microexpression of joy in their eyes. They can’t resist it, their eyes will light up at the mention of your adversity. And they’ll quickly disguise it with a more social expression which is more suitable according to the situation.
  • By paying attention to all of these nonverbal signs you’ll become a master of this language and will be able to influence the people you want by gauging their true desires and feelings and defend yourself against potential enemies and people who are conspiring against you with a smile on their face.

That’s it from my side. Do share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Chirag Malik

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