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Self-defense with regards to status jockeying through body language

I know a guy who acts overly or extremely relaxed and expansive  whenever one is in a room with him - perhaps especially if sitting down. With his arm way behind his neck, or perhaps with his foot on his knee, pointing his soles towards one's face. I interpret this as him jockeying for status through attempting to show dominant (rather than prestigious) body language. In other words: I interpret it as a unusually clear expression of lack of respect.


I'm not sure how to defend against this properly. Calling it out will easily sound weak. Mimicking it is not something I want, as I view it as coarse and unrefined. My best solution seems to be to minimize time spent in such scenarios. Another alternative might be to increase my own confidence such that I will be indiffernet to the behavior. Or perhaps a more difficult route: to win the prestige of the other involved people.


What is the best strategy?

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hello Clarkz123,

Welcome here!

Overall, it seems to me this guy isn't doing himself any favors.

Overdoing good things is not extra good, but just not good.

He may be winning small short-term points but only over the most submissive and/or unaware folks.
The more seasoned players look at that and think "annoying posturing" and "annoying power move", he's not a friend or ally.
And if he does that with higher rank folks, he's harming himself even more.

When it comes to your own best approach, let me preface this:

You're the one best placed to say what's the best strategy because you have far more details and nuances -ie.: is this guy hig rank, is he high status and respected, is he delivering great work, is he good friends with the boss, is he growing in his career or flatlining, etc. etc...-

That being said...

You seem to have great awareness and strategic thinking already.
Both your analysis is solid and your proposed solutions are great.

Let me quickly analyze them here:

  • Become indifferent: great, but only great if you combine it with something else. It's foundational of personal self-development not to be too bothered, but you also need to take some action as well
  • Minimize time spent: great! It's a nonverbal way to sub-communicate disdain. I've done this a lot of times in my life, and if you're high status it's a good nonverbal power move to sub-communicating "you're not worth my presence".
    Even if you're not yet high-status enough, you still remove your attention at the very least and remove yourself from the audience, so at the very last he's not power moving on you -let some other losers be disempowered by the idiot-.
  • Win prestige: absolutely, another root-level solution. Especially if you do it with actual results. Then he's the guy who's posturing and you're the guy who's putting numbers on the board.
    Then his antics will look even more ridiculously out of place

Another possible good idea if you have enough power is to surface it:

You: hey man, why are you sitting like that
Him: why, what's about my sitting
You: it almost feels like you're trying to display on others how cool/alpha you are, you know. I don't know, it feels off (or: "it feels like a power move")

"it almost feels like" and "I don't know" soften your power moves so you're not calling it out too directly or provocatively.

But then you surface exactly what he's doing.
That by itself already removes a lot of the power component from the power move.

And if he keeps it up with you, then you can joke about it next time. For example "ehehe there you go again", or you sit and strike a few exaggerated poses on your own while laughing (then you go back to normal and back to business).
And that would further hollow out his game to the point where it would be just a laughing matter.

If you do it with others present, you publicly shame and disempower him, but I'd be careful with that as you don't necessarily want to make an enemy.
The guy may just be a bit uncalibrated and overdoing things.

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I wonder if you could play the fake dumbness card to surface.

Innocently ask

Is your neck sore?

Is your foot sore?



Lucio Buffalmano, Kavalier and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierBel
Quote from Transitioned on December 31, 2022, 4:50 am

I wonder if you could play the fake dumbness card to surface.

Innocently ask

Is your neck sore?

Is your foot sore?

Yes, if his position looks unnatural it's a solid option and a lot more subtle.

You could use this one with people around so it doesn't feel too much like a bigger attack.

And you can also use it to bridge it to the more direct surfacing:

You: is your neck sore?
Him: my neck's great (<---- worst case scenario of him not giving you a "why" back but playing again the power game)
You: the way you hold it seemed a bit strange

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