How To Decipher Facial Expressions and Body Language

If I had a nickel for every time I tried to read my partner’s thoughts, I’d be rich by now. I’m sure you’ve felt the same way, staring at a friend or employer, trying to figure out what’s going on in their brain. Well, it’s still impossible to read people’s thoughts, but learning how to read facial expressions and body language might be the next best thing.

As any poker player knows all too well, facial expressions (aka tells) can give away the thoughts of even the most well-trained stoic. Unlike words, facial expressions and body language are nearly universal. For the most part, a smile, frown, or furrowed brow mean the same thing, no matter where you are in the world.

More than anything else, looking into a person’s eyes can be the biggest indicator of how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking. “As you engage in conversation with another person, taking note of eye movements is a natural and important part of the communication process. Some common things you may note is whether people are making direct eye contact or averting their gaze, how much they are blinking, or if their pupils are dilated,” writes Kendra Cherry.

Learning to notice these subtle changes in a person’s facial expressions or body language is key to deciphering their mood, whether you’re trying to win a poker game, or diffuse an argument with a loved one.

Wish you were better at reading emotions? This infographic can help.

Poker Facial Tells


Image via Thinkstock


Eza D.
.3 years ago

Waow this is one amongst great post! Thank you for the big help.
expression recognition

Anne B.
Anne B5 years ago

Reading body language other than facial expressions can be helpful as well...

Emma S.
Emma S5 years ago

If poker players don't know all this stuff already they might not be doing too well at the game! I didn't learn anything new, but I'm not sure if that's from acting training, or just from being a human being... perhaps potential poker players might like to go to a few acting classes - you get the chance to read others and also learn neutrality, which can be a useful skill.

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

I could never play poker! I would smile and get excited if I got good cards and I would frown and stiffen up if I got bad cards (LOL)!!

Susan T.
Susan T5 years ago

i find these infographic stories difficult to I usually pass on them, but this one was laugh worthy.

Wisteria K.
Past Member 5 years ago


Mac C.
mac C5 years ago

As an artist, I am fascinated by people's expressions and how just a tiny movement can make a difference. I found this to be very interesting. Thank you.

Wendy J.
Wendy J5 years ago

Interesting article. Thank you for sharing.

Kathleen R.
Kathleen R5 years ago


Elena T.
Elena Poensgen5 years ago

Thank you :)