Donald Trump routinely tries to assert dominance on virtually all occasions - and this year's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Da Nang, Vietnam was no exception.
In these images, the American President can be seen shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin. While President Trump is approximately 6 inches (15.24 cm) taller than President Putin, bowing is not considered proper etiquette in either Russia or the US. Mr. Trump often commits the nonverbal faux pas of bowing/bending down to men and women of shorter stature (e.g., he makes this same mistake with German Chancellor Angela Merkel). This dynamic is patronizing and demeaning.
President Trump also repeatedly touched President Putin's upper arm as well as his back - which, while making Trump feel more alpha - it loses him Vladimir's favor. While superficially, this behavior appears as affectionate/friendly - it's a feigned subroutine - and one of Trump's habitual attempts at dominance.
Given Mr. Trump's actions, it's thus very curious that Mr. Putin is displaying a sincere smile. It's particularly noteworthy that Mr. Putin is blushing. Blushing is NOT required in order for a smile to qualify as sincere. Intriguingly however, while you may NOT share another person's emotions, agree with their motives, or welcome their actions - if they ARE blushing in the midst of a smile, their smile is ALWAYS sincere.
In this context, Mr. Putin's blushing likely indicates:
• Clandestine Motives/Plans
• Difficulty Containing Excitement
Less likely causes include:
Summary: Blushing is involuntary and uncontrollable. Outside of the context of romance/physical attraction (of course, neither of which are applicable here), blushing is a sure signal showing something is amiss. Blushing during a smile always conveys the sincerity of the smile - but beware, for this phenomenon is very often disparate with the simultaneous verbal message (e.g., an incongruity between the nonverbal and verbal communication).
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