Meaning of Vibes in Interpersonal Encounters

The terms vibration or vibes for short is commonly used in relationships, at the individual and group levels, in friendships, workshops, seminars.

Vibes are feelings that one person arouses in another by supposedly unobservable means, that is, by nonverbal communications.

According to popular understanding, one person sends vibes and the other receives them. According to Beier (1974), the term is a metaphorOpens in new window for the communication of emotionsOpens in new window.

Vibes have their source in certain kinds of nonverbal communicationsOpens in new window. When positive attitudes are communicated—like well-being, security, affection—they lead to good vibe; negative communication—hostility, insecurity, anxiety—on the other hand can lead to bad vibes.

Through a study of the interaction of couples, it was found that happy couples would settle down together, have frequent mutual gazesOpens in new window, and touch their partner more often than themselves. In fact, they create for each other a comfortable and supportive body environment.

According to Beier, couples who experience negative relationships or conflicts send out more distant vibrations. They display a tendency to cross their arms and legs, have less eye contactOpens in new window, and touch themselves more frequently than they do their partner.

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