How to learn facial expressions and body language?

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Chris1263
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08 Oct 2013, 2:07 pm

I have a though time finding out how to show facial expressions and body language. I always either have a blank look on my face or I'm smiling. I work a sales job and when customers are talking to me and I have a blank face they always think I'm not paying attention to them. Also I have a problem with eye contact, I don't know weather to stare or look away at times. I feel like my eyes are always glued to theirs.

I always see other people moving their eyebrows up and down a lot but I don't understand what the reasoning is behind it. It seems confusing for me.



btbnnyr
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08 Oct 2013, 2:19 pm

I learned these things from watching Looney Tunes.

I am good at imitating Bugs Bunny.


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Thelibrarian
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08 Oct 2013, 2:32 pm

Chris, I just googled up "body language" and got a number of hits. You might want to think of taking a look at some of those. Experience is also a big help. I think ultimately though that we will never be adept at reading body language no matter what we do. Reading body language and such for NT's is reflexive and for us it never will be. All we can do is our best and not beat ourselves up when we don't get it right.



arielhawksquill
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08 Oct 2013, 3:19 pm

Take acting classes. Or read a book about body language (there are many) and practice in a mirror.



LupaLuna
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08 Oct 2013, 4:44 pm

arielhawksquill wrote:
Take acting classes..


I agree. Before I knew I has AS. I took theater when I was in school to learn to cope with social problems. It wasn't a cure but it did help a lot. One thing is for sure. You'll have to get used to stage-fright. But once you get over it. its quite easy.



Asperger96
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08 Oct 2013, 4:51 pm

I found that detailed books help you the most. Many people can read body language subconciously, we can do it. We just have to do it conciously.



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08 Oct 2013, 5:17 pm

You can't, sorry.



LupaLuna
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08 Oct 2013, 5:45 pm

Asperger96 wrote:
I found that detailed books help you the most. Many people can read body language subconciously, we can do it. We just have to do it conciously.


That's just it. We can't do it "subconsciously" or "passively", That's why we have to do it "consciously" or "actively", which is distracting and puts a load on are brain and even then, we still don't get it right.

The best analogy I could use to describe this is like a gaming PC with a crappy video card. The CPU end up doing more work to make the graphics look better (work that video card is suppose to do but is too crappy to do so). and that CPU time that could be making the game run better is now being consumed doing the job that the video card is suppose to do. and the CPU is not meant to do graphics and there for is not as efficient at doing it like the video card is. In the end. you end up with a slow game and the graphics still suck. Your "consciousness" is the CPU and your "subconsciousness" is the video card.



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08 Oct 2013, 5:56 pm

Back in the 70s, books on Body Language were very popular, surely some are still in print or can be found used.

Movies are a good source of practical information on nonverbal social cues, too. When you're watching a film you've seen before and you already know how the plot goes, start paying attention to the way the characters interact, that conveys things they aren't saying out loud, such as whether or no they like or trust each other.

Trouble is, even when you become fairly familiar with things like facial expressions, that knowledge isn't very helpful when you're avoiding eye contact out of discomfort and miss most of them.



Asperger96
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09 Oct 2013, 5:32 am

LupaLuna wrote:
Asperger96 wrote:
I found that detailed books help you the most. Many people can read body language subconciously, we can do it. We just have to do it conciously.


That's just it. We can't do it "subconsciously" or "passively", That's why we have to do it "consciously" or "actively", which is distracting and puts a load on are brain and even then, we still don't get it right.


But if you do it passively, it isn't as good. If you do it actively, it is amazing how much you can read other people. It's like they have post it notes attatched. If you understand their body language in a scientific manner, you get better results.



littlebee
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09 Oct 2013, 9:53 am

Asperger96 wrote:
I found that detailed books help you the most. Many people can read body language subconciously, we can do it. We just have to do it conciously.

Some people pick it up better than others because their focus is on fitting in, which is not a bad focus at all. It's like fitting into a comfortable and interesting glove, as the complexity of such communication can be amazing. Most people nt or otherwise never learn it to the degree I have. It depends on whom you are around, what culture, and how much you are interested in studying other people. Most nt's in the world do not have that much of a grasp of complex communications either. If you are self-preoccupied, overly self-conscious, self centered or whatever, you are less likely to focus on other people. I learned a lot from African Americans. Originally people from that culture needed to learn how to communicate in this way because it helped them survive. I always admired that culture, what they went through, how well they endured, and it became a special interest of mine to study and learn the way they used body language. Also it really helped to be an amateur jazz salsa musician and spend thousands of hours jamming with other musicians, and also it helped to be in a job where I get to watch hundreds of people every day, and also to live in a very sophisticated urban culture, and I watched a lot of talk t,v.



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09 Oct 2013, 10:15 am

I know body language and facial expressions when I see it. It's just responding to it what I don't always quite know how to do. Like if somebody throws banter at me (an insult type of thing what isn't meant to be an insult), I know they're just joking but I don't always know what to joke back, so I just laugh. I suppose laughing is better than nothing, then at least people know I have a sense of humour, but it would be nice to be able to think of what to say back.

When somebody is crying I feel awkward. I notice that they are upset, and I want to say something but sometimes feel awkward to. Sometimes I might say, ''are you all right?'' and even give them a cuddle or just a sympathetic tap on the shoulder or something. I hate to see someone crying and I would love to help but I'm not always sure how, especially if I'm not too close to the person and so I worry that I might not be the right person for them to talk to. If it's a closer friend (or relative), I know what to do more.

Explaining body language is a hard thing to do, so I can't exactly teach anyone. It's something you just have to learn for yourself, unfortunately. I just picked it up as I grew up so I've never felt blind to body language.


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littlebee
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09 Oct 2013, 11:29 am

Joe90 wrote:
I know body language and facial expressions when I see it. It's just responding to it what I don't always quite know how to do..

You have to kind of BE the other person. It's amazing. Practice makes perfect:-)



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09 Oct 2013, 12:51 pm

I improved by watching people who are more socially skilled, reading a little bit online, and practicing on my own. It took a very long time, though.



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09 Oct 2013, 3:39 pm

Use a mirror!
I know that Paul Eckman has products designed to detect facial expressions (specially microexpressions). Maybe they'll help you.


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btbnnyr wrote:
I learned these things from watching Looney Tunes.

I learned more from Tom & Jerry :lol:



Opi
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09 Oct 2013, 3:44 pm

seven years of intense group therapy did the trick for me.

now i know what people are thinking before they do.


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