Walking, just like breathing, is something that we often take for granted. It’s just how humans get from point A to point B, right?
But did you know that you can tell something (or even a lot) about a person’s personality by observing how he or she walks?
Read on to find out what your walk says about you, and how you can use this knowledge of walking style psychology to your advantage.
The way you walk can reveal a lot about who you are. From the speed of your step, to how your upper body interacts with the lower body while you walk, some people will already have assessed if you are the type of person they want to associate and interact with. How you walk may be the first impression you give to another person.
People are generally aware that there is a relationship between swagger and psychology. Our research provides empirical evidence to confirm that personality is indeed manifest in the way we walk.
We have different “gait patterns’ ‘ that we develop early in life. . This distinct walking pattern is often recognizable. For example, if you have friends who are identical twins and you see them walking together from afar, side by side, with their backs turned, it is possible to distinguish who is who by observing the way they walk. There are 4 major types of walking styles that we are going to talk about later on.
Consciously, we may not recognize the cues, because we assume there are lots of things to observe and consider before we make an accurate interpretation of a person’s personality. But subconsciously, our minds may have already processed, identified, and distinguished the patterns needed to make a reasonable assumption of who a person is based on his or her walk. So, what can we learn from walking style psychology, and what does your own walk say about your personality? Read on to find out.
Table of Contents
Patti Wood, a body language expert, breaks down each of the four major types of walking styles, what it says about you, and tweaks that you can make to leave a better impression on other people.
This style is fast-paced and focused. Whenever there are obstacles, the Driver will often take the most direct route around or even through it. That may mean occasionally bumping someone along the way… and it won’t probably bother him.
It will look like he’s charging towards something because the Driver’s weight distribution tends to lean and projecting forward. Most probably, he will also multi-task… either he’s on the phone, calling someone or sending texts. Or maybe he’s digesting big ideas and organizing them on the go. He’d also most likely miss someone he knows even if they cross paths.
The Driver is all about goals and getting things done. Others may think of this as being cold or impersonal, but for others, it could be something to be admired.
If you’re a Driver, you could make a few tweaks. From time to time, consciously think about slowing down and making your walk more casual. Be more aware of your surroundings. Learn to make eye contact, smile, and even stop once in a while to say hello. This slower pace with a bit more conversations with co-workers and acquaintances will go a long way to let them know you’re also friendly and approachable.
You’re a Corrector when your walk is slow and cautious. Eyes down, it looks like you are evaluating the movement of your feet, worried you are going to take a wrong step. Arms are probably at your sides, held close as you walk so you do not ‘intrude’ on other people’s personal space. You’re not likely to walk alongside anyone, sometimes even your friends, unless absolutely necessary.
You may be seen as distant and unapproachable. Most people would be quick to identify you as introverted.
To help others see you in a better light, you could try raising your eyes and take longer, more confident strides.
Also, try to develop the skill of walking side by side with co-workers while having a conversation. Some people noticed that most of their productive talks happen when they stroll around the office or when they walk to lunch. Friedrich Nietzsche was quoted saying “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking” and this may also be the case here.
Fast. Energetic. Influencers walk with a spring in their step. You tend to be more aware of your environment, with eyes scanning from side to side while walking. You love to communicate with gestures while walking and you tend to be extremely engaged with anyone you encounter.
You’re usually at the front leading—the first to get up from a meeting or the first one to leave the room.
You may be a little bit too much for some people, but for others, you are the source of fun. They see you as charismatic and very likable. Don’t overdo it though… learn to dial down your energy when others deserve the attention.
Learn to look at situations. Ask yourself if it’s a good time for your light to shine, or is it an opportunity to let others take center stage. You can try to slow down a bit from time to time and let others take the lead for a change.
Slow to medium paced, your gait is very smooth it feels like you just ‘glide’ your way to your destination. Your weight distribution tends to be centered over your legs, neither forward nor backward. You also tend to gesture like the Influencer, but these are less flamboyant than Influencers.
Others think you’re more focused on the people you encounter rather than the task you have. There’s also this ‘hidden’ need that you want to be liked and be a part of the group, but you’re too shy to tell people about it. You may come off as ‘wandering’ sometimes, aimlessly and just going with the flow.
A tweak you can do is to consciously remind yourself to walk with purpose— as if you have to be somewhere really important, the opposite of what you naturally tend to do. Practice this more if you’re trying to impress important people, or when you’re around Drivers or Influencers so they will not see you as weak or easily distracted.
These attributes are not part of the four major types of walking styles, but can also be useful to identify other interesting traits and reveal the secrets of someone’s personality.
If you cross your arms when walking, it may indicate a sense of vulnerability to people around you. For women this can be potentially dangerous.
Women who cross their arms when walking alone at night or through an unfamiliar place are often identified as ‘easy prey’. Next time, if you find yourself in this situation, remember to uncross your arms, walk upright, and have a quick, confident pace, so you can project an aura of confidence, strength and not someone to be trifled with.
Do you drag your feet? It can imply that you have a lot of worries and anxieties, that you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. It may portray you as lacking in energy, that you are lethargic, and/or sad.
Step with purpose, and inject energy into your steps may help in making you look better and feel better. The more you do it consciously the better you will feel. You might want to also look at meditation, yoga, and a healthier lifestyle to help perk things up and get you back on track.
Some people look like they are trying to press their feet through the ground. As if they are carrying a heavy load, which has nothing to do with their body weight. Heavy footsteps can be a positive indicator, showing a person as persistent and determined. But be careful not to give the impression that heavy footsteps meaning as ‘stomping.
Stomping could be taken as a show of anger, or aggression. . People would most likely see you as aggressive and would want to avoid you..
For the lucky among us, walking plays a pretty dominant role in our everyday lives. On the surface it may seem frivolous, but this simple motion broadcasts a lot about who you are as a person.
Now that you’ve identified what your walk may say about you, use it to your advantage to calibrate how you may be projecting your vibe to other people… or perhaps help others see you in a better light (or imposing light if need be). You can also use this knowledge to read people better so you can adjust to every person you meet.
Yes. it may seem awkward or hard when you first make the initial adjustments to your stride. But just keep at it and you’ll realize that you can rewire both yourself” and your emotions by changing how you walk.
I hope that this was both an entertaining and informative read for you, if not then… walk of it off!