The secret language of the Goggleboxers

Chance are you have a favourite place to sit and watch TV. Maybe it’s stretched out on the couch or curled up on an armchair. Just like us, the Gogglebox have their preferred posses too.

But did you know where and how you sit in front of the box says a lot about you? “A lot of information about the current state of a relationship can be gathered from observing body language and other nonverbal communication behaviours,” says body language expert Sophie Halliday Zadeh. We asked her to analyse the Gogglebox Australia cast to see what their viewing styles say about them.
 

Adam and Symon

 

“Both their bodies lean-in towards each other–they are in this together, a friendship of solidarity,” says Sophie. “This is most obvious in Adam’s body language, his head and torso lean towards Symon. His body is relaxed.” Mirroring is a strong indicator of closeness within a relationship. “The biggest give-away to their strength of friendship is seen in their leg and foot direction,” says Sophie. “Both Adam and Symon mirror each other's pose, with one leg tucked under their body and their other leg pointed directly towards each other–their feet are almost touching.”
 

The Daltons

 

“This is a family with a loving and close bond. We can see this with their close proximity and touch–each one of them is linked to the next, connecting them together like links of a chain–a solid family unit,” says Sophie. “Mother and daughter, Kate and Millie match each other’s pose, their knees pointing towards their right–towards Matt. They are both positively engaged in what they are observing, more so that Matt and daughter Holly.” Sophie says shared mannerisms could indicate similarities in personality within a family. “There is a very subtle nonverbal behaviour from Matt, towards daughter Millie. His right arm points slightly outwards towards her,” says Sophie. “This could be a deliberate attempt to reach out to her, comforting her and maintaining the connection between them all.”
 

Mick and Di


“Notice their hands. Mick’s hands extend beyond his torso, towards Di, while her hands sit on the right side of her lap–also towards Mick. I suspect that if the cameras weren’t present, these two would be holding hand,” says Sophie. “since both have interlocked fingers, I wonder if this is their attempt to self-comfort and pacify their innate need to touch each other.” Cute!

 

Leanne and Tim



“Both are using a cushion as a device in which to block a source of discomfort, probably stemming from what they are watching. This is a blocking behaviour. In fact, both are also using their arms and hands in a similar way, a physical barrier crossing over their torso, offering some protection them from the discomfort they feel,” explains Sophie. “We do this when we feel the slightest bit of emotional discomfort, even if that is the presence of a stranger in the room or something negative we see or hear. It’s our attempt to comfort ourselves from a perceived potential threat; typically, we protect the area of our body which contains our most vital organs–the torso.”
 

The Silberys

   

“Emily, Kerry and Isabelle sit together, but apart. Like birds perched on an overhead wire, these women value their independence and personal space, each living their own separate lives,” says Sophie. “I suspect the mothers of this family have nurtured their daughters to be strong and independent. Each one of them is comfortable within their own skin, without the need to feel emotional connectedness or support from others.”


The Jacksons

 

“Like the Silberys, the Jacksons sit equally distanced apart, each independent to the others. This distance could indicate emotional independence felt by all members of the large family. The autonomy is possibly a consequence of the size of the family,” says Sophie. “Each male member of the family in the picture, show similar body language to each other as do the two females in the picture. In fact, mother and daughter have the same pose and positioning. These similarities suggest good rapport and a positive family dynamic.”

The Delpechtiras 

“What’s interesting here is how they are all responding to whatever it is they are looking at. In the picture their gaze, and the orientation of their faces, is towards something on their left. Notice how each one of them is physically containing their own body–legs and arms together,” says Sophie. “They are all responding to the situation in the same way to the rest of the family. This resemblance shows an emotional bond between them, even though we don’t see physical touch and close proximity.”
 

Anastasia and Faye

 

“Like Adam and Symon, Anastasia and Faye seem to have a strong connection. They sit separately, maintaining their independence, but at the same time, each leans-in to the other with their upper body and head,” says Sophie. “Additionally, they are engaging with what they are viewing with a similar expression. This could indicate a similarity in their preferences, which goes hand in hand with a positive relationship.”

 

Stream new episodes of Gogglebox weekly or watch 7.30pm Wednesdays, first on Foxtel.

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