One way to tell if someone is mad at you is that they tell you they're mad at you. But sometimes, people aren't all that forthcoming with the information. Maybe they're a passive aggressive kind of person, or maybe you're in front of other company and them chewing you out would be awkward for everyone. Who wants to spoil a perfectly nice social occasion with a personal issue, anyway? Telling if someone is mad at you just by looking at them is, luckily, something you can do. People think they're being clever and hiding it, but everyone is pretty transparent with their emotions. It's our bodies that betray us, even when we think our cool heads are keeping everything under wraps.
You can probably tell someone is mad at you from their bodily cues. We all have certain physiological tells that give away our mood, and while individuals have their own, some are universal. Science tells us that different moods make our bodies react in different ways, and when we're observing other people, these things can be more obvious than you first thought they were. Here's how you can detect if someone else is mad at you, just by observing their bodily cues and behavior.
1. They Seem Sweaty Or Fidgety
If your friend is suddenly showing signs of suddenly increased adrenaline, like shaking, sweating, or any other outward anxious demeanor, it might mean they're mad at you. When someone gets mad, their adrenal glands start pumping out testosterone, the best friend of anger, which causes these physical symptoms.
2. Their Palms Are Forming Fists
That doesn't mean your friend is a violent person or wants to punch you, but a sign of anger is a balled fist. If they're trying to hide it, they won't exactly be shaking at you, but if you're noticing their hands in their lap are balling and un-balling, then you might have some madness on your hands. This is due to the adrenaline asking muscles to start working, and research has shown that the balled fist response is the body's way of attempting to ease frustration.
3. Their Brow Is Furrowed
Again, that adrenaline release has effects. This can show around someone's eyes. If your friends brow is furrowing, their eyebrows are raised or twitching, or their smile doesn't reach their eyes, that might be a sign of tension or anger. You might also notice dilated pupils — but sometimes that can be hard to notice if someone has dark eyes, or you're not sitting super close.
4. Their Nostrils Are Flared
Along with a furrowed brow, flared nostrils are the second part of universal angry face. Research shows, "The expression is cross-culturally universal, and even congenitally blind children make this same face without ever having seen one," according to Aaron Sell, a lecturer at the School of Criminology at Griffith University in Australia. So angry people flare their nostrils, and that, in conjunction with the furrowed brow, is a nearly certain sign that someone is expressing anger towards you.
5. Their Breathing Is More Noticeable
Adrenaline is basically responsible for all the visible anger cues the person who is mad at you is having. Adrenaline sends blood to the stomach, intestines and muscles in increased proportion, because it's getting ready for survival (which probably isn't a fight to the death in this situation, but your body is a boy scout in the way it always likes to be prepared). Blood pressure therefore increases, as does heart rate, and breathing. If your friend is breathing heavily all of a sudden, or making more pronounced breathing and sighing noises, they're probably mad.
6. They're Talking Louder And Faster
Even if they don't notice it or don't do it intentionally, anger will have an effect on your friend's voice. If they're mad at you, they'll start talking louder and faster. Yet again, we have adrenaline to thank for this one.