The Nose

  • Article's photo | Credit Medical News Today
  • Body language is a fascinating aspect of human communication. While we often focus on gestures and facial expressions, the nose also plays a significant role in conveying messages, albeit subtly. From simple gestures like wrinkling the nose to more complex movements, the nose can offer valuable insights into a person's emotions, intentions, and even their health. In this blog post, we'll explore the various body language signals of the nose and what they reveal about individuals in different situations.

Understanding Body Language Signals of the Nose

  1. The Wrinkled Nose

    One of the most common nose gestures is the wrinkling of the nose. This movement typically indicates disgust or displeasure. When someone wrinkles their nose, it could be in response to an unpleasant smell, taste, or situation. It's an instinctive reaction that signals a negative emotion, often without the need for words.

  2. The Flared Nostrils

    Flaring nostrils can be a subtle yet powerful indicator of heightened emotions, particularly anger or arousal. When someone is angry, their nostrils may flare as they take deep breaths to calm themselves or prepare for confrontation. Similarly, in moments of excitement or attraction, nostrils may flare involuntarily as the body responds to increased adrenaline and arousal.

  3. The Pinched Nose

    Pinching the nose is a gesture commonly associated with feelings of frustration, stress, or discomfort. It's often seen when someone is experiencing a headache, dealing with a challenging situation, or feeling overwhelmed. By pinching the bridge of their nose, individuals may be attempting to alleviate tension or pressure, both physically and mentally.

  4. The Nose Touch

    Touching or rubbing the nose can convey various messages depending on the context. In some cases, it may indicate deception or dishonesty, as individuals subconsciously attempt to cover their mouth or nose while lying. However, nose touching can also be a sign of uncertainty, anxiety, or even nostalgia. Paying attention to other accompanying cues can help decipher the true meaning behind this gesture.

  5. The Sniff

    While sniffing is a physiological response to clear the nasal passages, it can also be a body language signal with underlying meanings. Excessive sniffing or sniffling, particularly in non-allergy seasons, may indicate nervousness, discomfort, or even deception. Additionally, sniffing in the presence of certain stimuli, such as food or perfume, can reveal preferences or aversions.

  6. The Nose Bridge Rub

    Rubbing the bridge of the nose is a self-soothing gesture often observed when individuals are deep in thought or trying to concentrate. It's a way of comforting oneself and can indicate a need for reassurance or introspection. However, excessive nose bridge rubbing may also signal anxiety or frustration, especially if accompanied by other stress-related behaviors.


The nose may not always be the first feature we associate with body language, but its movements and gestures can speak volumes about our thoughts, feelings, and intentions. By paying attention to subtle cues like nostril flares, nose touches, and sniffing patterns, we can gain deeper insights into the inner workings of the human mind. Understanding these body language signals of the nose can enhance communication, foster empathy, and enrich our interactions with others. So, next time you find yourself wrinkling your nose or rubbing the bridge, take a moment to reflect on what your body might be trying to tell you—and what messages you might be sending to those around you.

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  • References
    • The SAGE Handbook of Nonverbal Communication (Skill in Nonverbal Encoding, Pg 85-87). By Valerie Manusov, Miles L. Patterson

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