An article on Social Intelligence – Observing Nonverbal Behavior and Understanding Emotions – by Dr. Sandeep Atre

You can hear through your ears… but ‘to listen’, you also need your eyes!

And this becomes especially important in close relationships. Yes! As researchers Schachner, Shaver and Mikulincer found, the ‘nonverbal sensitivity’ – i.e. ability to interpret other’s gestures, postures and expressions – had a direct bearing on fulfillment-level of the other partner. On the other hand, when relations hit a rocky patch, there is a pattern to them. Let me explain it…

Whenever one partner feels internally insecure due to some life-events, he or she looks for proximity with the other partner. Once this attachment-system is activated inside the needy partner, he or she produces nonverbal distress-signals. Now, if the other partner is able to decode these signals and becomes emotionally available then the needy partner feels safe.

However, if the other partner isn’t able to decode the nonverbal distress-signals and remains emotionally unavailable then the needy partner’s distress gets compounded. As a result, to save oneself from the frustration and heart-break, the needy partner gradually begins to shy away even from the activation of attachment-system.


And then begins the phase of ‘distancing and coldness’ – the beginnings of rocky patch in a relation.


Dr. Sandeep Atre, Founder Director, Socialigence – Developing Social Intelligence – Specialized Online Courses and Customized workshops on Observing Nonverbal Behavior and Understanding Emotions
PS: All inputs on observing nonverbal behavior should be applied after establishing the baseline behavior.