Open Formation

In an earlier chapter, we stated that the physical distance between people is related to their degree of intimacy. The angle at which people orient their bodies also gives many non-verbal clues to their attitudes and relationships. For example, people in most English speaking countries stand with their bodies oriented to form an angle of 90 degrees during ordinary social intercourse. Figure 140 shows two men with their bodies angled towards an imaginary third point to form a triangle. This also serves as a nonverbal invitation for a third person to join in the conversation by standing at the third point. The two men in Figure 140 are displaying similar status by holding similar gestures and posture and the angle formed by their torsos indicates that an impersonal conversation is probably taking place. The formation of the triangle invites a third

Gesture Foot Pointing

Figure ]36

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Figure ]36

The bady xhow* wJttfi! llie PtMiJcJ ri'wifs tv gu person of similar status to join the conversation. When a fourth person is accepted into the group a square will be formed and for a fifth person, either a circle or two triangles.

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