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5 'Creepy' Body Language Signals That Are Red Flags If You Notice Them In Other People

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woman looking uncomfortable during a conversation

Sometimes, we find ourselves in uncomfortable situations that make us feel “off,” whether it’s in the company of strangers or people we know well. We can’t quite put our finger on what exactly is wrong, but something is definitely not right, and our body has alerted us through a negative gut feeling or a looming sense of discomfort. 

While it's vital to trust your gut in these kinds of situations, there are also a few signs to look out for that will reveal more information about an uncomfortable situation or dangerous person. 

Body language and mindset expert Terry Vaughn has shared several videos in recent months about “red flag” body language — teaching viewers how to pinpoint “shady” characters before things escalate. 

Here are 5 ‘creepy’ body language signals to notice in others that should be seen as red flags

1. Take note of the left side of someone’s face rather than the right — it often reveals the true emotions and intentions of a person

Have you ever noticed something off in the midst of a conversation with someone? You’re making eye contact, but can’t help but notice a nagging feeling like they’re being disingenuous

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Vaughn shed light on how exactly you can pinpoint this behavior and get a sense of the true emotion of the person you’re communicating with. While it might be as innocent as the person’s shyness or their admiration for you being concealed, he admitted there’s the potential for other, more harmful emotions to be similarly concealed.

“Focus all of your visual attention on the left side of the individual’s face rather than the whole thing or the right,” he instructed. “The reason this is a powerful hack is because the left side of the face is more likely to reveal the ‘true emotion’ or the ‘dominant’ emotion if there’s a mix."



The processing capabilities and sensory computing areas between the dual hemispheres in our brain — otherwise known as emotional lateralization — are the reason for this phenomenon. 

“The right hemisphere of our brain does more heavy lifting in dealing with processing emotions. The left hemisphere…is a little more analytical or ‘strategic’.” So, if someone wants to “present” a certain emotion, that will typically be shown more easily on the right side of their face, while their true emotion will be shown on the left. 

2. Your eyes show less white when you're genuinely smiling; when more white shows, it's likely forced

“When we’re genuinely happy and we have a genuine smile, the amount of white in the eyes that’s visible reduces,” Vaughn explained. “Wide eyes smiles are often reserved for fear, surprise, or rage — emotions that go hand in hand with some amount of adrenaline.” 

Other ways to spot a genuine smile include a "sparkle” in a typically dull eye, creases near the edge of the eyes, and the timing of the corners of the mouth rising in alignment with the eyes. 



It’s important to remember that everyone’s smile is different and unique, and the amount of white in someone’s eyes is not the only indicator you should use for detecting deception or “red flags”. However, trust your gut. If you notice their eyes in combination with other suspicious behaviors, that might be enough to second guess. 

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3. Pulling your lips back is often the body's reaction to concealing fear

“Often when men feel an emotion that makes them feel vulnerable, they want to smother it or mask it with something that puts them back in control,” Vaughn said. “That’s often anger.”

So, if you notice someone pursing their lips together, almost in an upside-down smile, it might be an indication that they’re feeling fearful or uncomfortable. 



Like Vaughn suggested, if this is someone that you know often resorts to violence in the face of discomfort, take this as a sign for you to seek safety. Whether that be setting a boundary, creating distance, physically leaving the situation, or calling for help, being able to notice small moments like this can help you in the long run. 

4. Drooping eyelids or a 'compressed' mouth is the body's reaction to feeling superior, whether over a topic, conversation, or person

If you’re on a date or meeting someone new at work and they seem bored, it might actually be something more sinister. In addition to “profound vanity” in their appearance, studies show that people with a superiority complex often engage in excessive bragging, snobbery, and selfishness. 



According to Vaughn, another common expression associated with these superiority “red flags” manifests “as a compression of the corner of the mouth … looking a little bit like a smirk.” If you notice these things, Vaughn admitted, “you’ll have to decide whether this type of arrogance is worth your time.” 

5. Be wary of an agitated person who suddenly 'becomes still' — 'It's a pressure cooker'

Vaughn called this “red flag” a “ticking time bomb.” If you are conversing with someone who has a lot of energy, whether it be excessively using their hands, pacing around, or breathing heavily, and then they suddenly “go still,” beware. 

Similar to any other kind of energy, it doesn’t simply “go away.” Instead it builds and compresses within you until it finds an avenue to escape. When it does build up and explode, you don’t want to be caught in the crossfire. 



So, if you’ve taken anything from the “red flags” above, it should be this — always be aware. Whether you’re grocery shopping, on a first date, or walking to your car, never let yourself be vulnerable, ignorant, or generally unaware. 

All it takes is one of the above “red flags” or a gut feeling to save you from something unexpectedly dangerous. 

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.