The Social Implications of a Head Nod

By on August 21, 2013

I don’t know how many times throughout my life I have given or received a head nod. A head nod, at least in my experience, is a single nod of the head in a downward motion. This type of body language can mean two things: The agreement of something or the social acknowledgement of someone. I wish to discuss the later.

Just about everybody has experienced this type of body language at one time or another. I have often thought about the social implications of its meaning. It is often quoted that body language accounts for over 80% of communication.

A simple head nod, in my opinion, is nothing more than I acknowledge you, know you passively, and, in some strange way,  accept  your existence. It is a neutral, passive feeling towards someone you have seen previously who shared some co-incidental part of your life. You may receive a head nod from someone you have seen in your town, neighborhood, bar, or store.

This passive social greeting is usually given by someone you have encountered more than once. You have not, however, shared anything remotely intimate with this person such as an in-depth conversation. In other word, you haven’t had any formal bonding time.

In conclusion, the head nod is a social gesture of simple acknowledgement and passive acceptance. The next level, to be discussed in another blog, is the wave.

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