If you recently noticed someone standing with their hands on their hips you might be wondering why they were doing it. This post will try to help you figure that out and to help you to figure it out as it happens in the future.

So, what does it mean when someone stands with their hands on their hips? It will generally signal that the person is ready to take action possibly to present something, to do a sport or even to fight. It’s also a position men and women may take when they are attracted to someone.

When trying to figure out why someone might be standing that way it is actually very helpful to consider other body language signals that they are showing. It also helps to consider when they assumed the position and the setting in which they did it.

What it means when people stand with their hands on their hips

As mentioned above it’s important to consider all their other body language signals so that you can see if their other body language signals confirm what you think they are feeling like.

Below I will mention a number of reasons that someone might stand with their hands on their hips along with the body language signals that you can expect to go with it.

Ready to take action

When people stand with their hands on their hips it will generally imply that they are ready to take action. This is because it makes them look bigger and by exposing their bodies it shows that they are not being submissive.

Along with having their hands on their hips, you should expect to see the feet wide apart since it’s a more active stance. You should also expect to see a lack of slouching around the shoulder, a lack of rubbing behaviors and strong eye contact.

Aggression

Standing with the hands on the hips can also be a sign of aggression since it makes the person appear bigger.

In this case, you should expect to see clenching with the fists, redness of the face, clenching of the jaw, tight lips or hard to see lips, pupil constriction, squinting and close looking eyebrows.

Attraction

Men and women will sometimes stand in this position when they are with someone that they find attractive. Men do it because it makes them look bigger, shows that they are unconcerned and it shows their crotch area. One reason that women do it is that it highlights their hips.

If they are doing it due to attraction they will also likely show a number of signs that they find the other person attractive.

They will normally point their feet towards them, have dilated pupils, they may mirror the other persons body language, they might slowly close the distance to the other person, they might touch the other person frequently, they might talk to the other person a lot more than others and will leave the hands-on-hips position when they’re not with the person that they like.

Mirroring

One reason that someone might stand in the hands-on-hips position is that they are actually mirroring the behavior of their friends or the group that they are trying to fit in with.

People do this because it makes them appear like they are a member of that particular tribe and it helps to build rapport with other people.

If you have a habit of standing with your hands on your hips then it might be that the people may adopt that stance when they’re with you because they are mirroring your behavior.

If you want to develop good relationships with people then this position can come off as a bit overly assertive so you might want to put your hands by your sides instead.

Consider when they did it

When you’re trying to figure out why someone might be standing with their hands on their hips then it would often help a lot to think about when they adopted the position.

If they adopted the position when they were waiting to do something such as to present or to compete in a sporting event then it would suggest that they adopted the position because it is an action-ready stance.

If they adopted the position when they started talking to you then it would suggest that either they find you attractive, considered themselves as the dominant person or that they were expecting something to happen.

Think about how they normally behave

When trying to figure out why someone might be presenting a certain type of body language it is very helpful to think about how they normally present themselves.

If they normally stand with their hands on their hips then it would suggest that they are feeling normal. In this case, this body language wouldn’t be very helpful in determining their mood other than suggesting that they are feeling comfortable.

Whereas, if they rarely stand in that position then it would be a more honest signal that they are feeling like they are about to have to spring into action.

Consider the environment

It’s also helpful to consider the environment that they adopt the stance in.

If it’s in a business setting then it would suggest that they are waiting to have to do something such as to present something or to meet someone.

If it’s in a social setting then it may be that they are trying to attract someone, that they are waiting to leave or even that they are trying to assert themselves as the dominant person.

Look at other signals that they are showing

It’s important not to draw conclusions from single body language signals. This means that if someone is standing with their hands on their hips you should look for other body language signals that confirm or contradict what you think.

This means that you should observe what they are doing with their feet. You might not think to look at the feet when you’re trying to figure out why someone might be standing with their hands on the hips but the feet are actually one of the most honest body language signals to look at. You should look to see what direction the feet are pointing and if they are tapping with their feet which would suggest that they are anxious to do something.

The eyes can also tell you a lot. When we are feeling good it can cause our pupils to dilate and when we’re feeling anxious it can cause our pupils to constrict. When trying to dominate people will squint slightly with their eyes. When feeling anxious people will also do eye blocking behavior where they blink more, rub their eyes and put something in the way.

Related

What does it mean when someone puts their hands on top of their head? When someone puts their hands on top of their head it can either signal stress or that they are feeling confident and in control.

If you want to learn more about body language, a book I would recommend would be The Definitive Book of Body Language (on Amazon). It shows you how to interpret body language and understand people's true intentions.

Author

I created and currently manage Body Language Central, one of the premier sources for body language-related knowledge. Body language plays a key role in our daily lives. I hope that my website can help condense the wide amount of body language information available and allow you to make full use of it in your daily life. You can read more about me and my website here.