Tilting our heads is a natural instinct we typically do when we feel safe. You will observe that close family members and lovers will sit together and tilt their heads without even realizing it. We also tilt our heads as we ‘coo’ at babies too. This behaviour is part our limbic brain response. In prehistoric times, tilting our heads and exposing our necks made us vulnerable by exposing the jugular vein. It was a sign of respect and trust. Today, we convey this same message of respect and trust with those we love, whether it is romantic or platonic. We display this same vulnerability around babies to make them feel at ease.
When you tilt your head, you are perceived as attentive, listening, and caring. People will assume you are paying attention to them rather than thinking about other things. This makes head tilting a very powerful behaviour when communicating with others. It can be used when courting a person or making a business deal.
Crossing our legs while standing is another action we might carry out when we feel comfortable around others. Whenever we sense a threat, we plant our feet firmly on the ground in order to keep our balance. This can be due to a threatening situation such as standing near the edge of a tall building, but also due to uncomfortable social situations. When we feel threatened in some way, our limbic system will unconsciously activate our fight or flight safeguards in order to protect our body.
There is one last note on what behaviour to look for when trying to gauge a person’s interest. When talking to someone, observe the direction the person’s feet are pointed and that will give you an indication of where that person’s mind is headed. If their feet are pointed toward you, chances are they are interested in you. If they are pointed away from you, it is likely they want to exit the conversation. It may or may not be unconscious.