While your sitting style can vary based on your surroundings and particular mood, a person’s plopping patterns can say a lot about his or her personality. Even if you don’t realize it, you are probably getting signals from the body language of those around you. In the same way, your own body language is an important factor in the way others read you. Poor body language can make you seem dishonest or uninterested, even if your words make you seem friendly and open. Your posture is part of your body language, which allows it to reveal a lot about who you are and what you’re thinking.
If you keep your knees together but turn your toes inward when you sit, you are most likely creative and charismatic. At times, you can be a little childish. You might forget to think before your speak, but in general, others see you as a happy person. You have a tendency to avoid problems in your life, but the good news is you’re far from boring.
When you cross one leg over the other you’re making yourself smaller while physically tucking your bottom leg out of sight, which signals insecurity, according to Glass. And of course confident people don’t shrink away like that — they spread out like they own the place.
That said, like most rules of body language, there are situational exceptions: Crossing your legs toward someone can be a bold statement that says you’re into the person you’re cozying up to. Crossing away from someone, however, can send the message that you’re checked out.
The opposite of tentative — “where should I sit? Left or right side? BAH!” — is confident, and it’s exactly how you look when you plop down right in the middle of whatever surface you’re working with. (Still, no shade if you pick one side of a couch to simply avoid sitting directly in a cushion’s crease or avoid a stranger. Remember, you can’t accurately interpret body language out without context.)
People who sit with their legs straight are often neat and intelligent, but they can be rather sensitive. This sitting position is a sign that you’d rather avoid conflict and keep your feelings to yourself. You may be someone who likes to hide in your insecurities, but you also aren’t afraid to come out and set someone straight if they feel you’ve done something wrong. This position can indicate that you’re a little tense, but you’re ready to take action if needed.
Like every aspect of body language, context is key here: Assuming you don’t take this position for pure comfort, stacking your knees to one side, and propping yourself up on one hand is thought to be flirtatious. “Women are neurologically wired to take up less space when they are flirting,” says Glass, who sees this position as one way women consolidate their limbs in an effort to attract a partner. Meanwhile, while leaning in the direction where your knees point — foreseeably, towards a potential mate — simultaneously makes your upper body more available to that person.