According to body language experts, smiling is considered a submissive gesture. It was noticed that during MMA matches the one who smiles to the other opponent was more likely to lose the match.
According to body language, a tilted head is a sign of submission. When a person talks while their head is straight, they will appear more dominant.
The less dominant a person feels, the smaller their body will seem to be. When a person becomes submissive, their body takes a smaller space, while the opposite happens when they feel dominant.
Lowering the head
Lowering the head down can be a sign of submission or defeat. A dominant person will usually keep their head raised up as they interact with others.
Lowering the body
Putting the body in a lower position is a sign of submission. This includes hunching down, bowing, kneeling or just curving the back.
When a person feels submissive, their eyes can get wider and so their faces might seem less dominant. Half closing the eyes can be a sign of dominance or even aggression.
A curved back can indicate many things in body language including feeling unhappy, lacking confidence or being submissive. Dominant people will usually keep their back straight.
A submissive person might feel anxious around the more dominant person. This could lead to freezing or doing some jerky movements. (See The body language of defeat)
A person’s shoulders might hunch when they feel submissive. This gesture might also indicate lower levels of self-confidence.
Weak eye contact
A submissive person is less likely to maintain proper eye contact with the more dominant person. A dominant person on the other hand will maintain more eye contact.
Covering sensitive parts
When a person feels submissive, they might cover their chest or body. This happens because of an unconscious desire to hide sensitive parts. (See What is personal space in body language?)
Leaning on something
When a person feels weak or submissive, they might lean on an object such as a table or a chair. The dominant person will usually stand tall just like a military soldier.
Palm up during handshake
During a handshake, the submissive person’s palms might be facing the ceiling, whereas the dominant person’s palms might be facing the ground.
Submissive Body Language Signals
How can you tell if someone is submissive? Using body language to show dominance and submissiveness