Body Language Experts Debunk Popular TikTok Green Line Theory

by : Emily Brown on :
Body Language Experts Debunk Popular TikTok Green Line Theory
Body Language Experts Debunk Popular TikTok Green Line Theory (@JackMacBarstool/TikTok/Alamy)

You shouldn't need anyone to tell you not to base the strength of your relationship on a viral internet trend, but on the off-chance you're still tempted, allow me to direct you to body language experts who have flat-out debunked TikTok's 'Green Line' theory.

The theory has grown in popularity online after a Twitter user first discussed it in 2020, claiming at the time that if 'a man leans into his girl, he reveals that he feels needy and lower value'.

The 'rule' claims that the way a couple stands with one another indicates who is 'in charge', with the person who leans to be displaying a sign of 'weakness', and though it sparked debate on Twitter at the time it gained further attention earlier this month after a TikTok user decided to put the 'Green Line Rule' to the test with a picture of Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson.


TikToker @jackmacbarstool claimed in his video Pete did 'not pass the test' as his line was on a slant, saying: "Ladies, if your man is leaning in like Pete in this and does not pass the green light rule, it's time to consider and come to terms with the fact that you are not dating a man, you are dating a child."

The video has so far racked up more than 1.2 million views with many commenters intrigued to learn more about the rule, but body language expert Blanca Cobb assured it is, unsurprisingly, complete rubbish.

Speaking to Newsweek, Cobb warned it is a 'mistake if you're judging the health of your relationship based on your partner 'leaning in' towards you in a photo'.


"The simplest thing about relationships is that they're complicated," she continued. "There are many reasons why your partner might lean in that has nothing to with weakness or dependency.

"What if they feel close to you? What if leaning in shows their connection? What if they're feeling loving in the moment? What if touch and closeness are part of their love language?"

Couple holding hands. Credit: Pixabay
Couple holding hands. Credit: Pixabay

Cobb said it is 'dangerous' to use a single criteria, such as the Green Line Rule, to decide your partner is 'weak', and encouraged people to remember 'that a single photo is a snapshot of time, and doesn't reflect patterns of behaviour'.


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Another expert, Dr. Lillian Glass, also debunked the rule as she implied that rather than being a negative, leaning in could actually be something to strive for in a relationship.

"I have analysed thousands of people in relationships throughout the years and [the Green Line Rule] is simply not true. Leaning into the other person usually means that they are into that person – that they like the other person and are connecting with them.

"It's not about power and control. It's about affection and emotional feelings. When you really like a person your body tends to gravitate towards that person. You want to be close to them," she explained.


At the same time, though, Glass assured that a partner not leaning in doesn't have to be anything to worry about, as they simply might be uncomfortable with displays of affection or preoccupied.

For clarity, though, Glass said: "It has nothing to do with power or who is in charge."

So there you have it. If you partner is leaning in towards you in a photo, it's nothing to worry about, and in fact should probably be celebrated.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University before going on to contribute to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems. She joined UNILAD in 2018 and now works as Senior Journalist covering breaking news, trending stories and longer form features with a focus on human interest stories.

Topics: News, TikTok, Viral, Sex and Relationships, Twitter, Celebrity