What is the 'green line test' and does it prove anything about relationships? Body language experts weigh in

The 'green line test' is popping up after those awkward photos of Kendall Jenner and BF Bad Bunny

Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny attend the Western Conference Semifinal Playoff game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors at Crypto.com Arena on May 12, 2023 in Los Angeles, California
(Image credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty)

Curious minds are wondering the same thing: "What is the 'green line test'?" 

The trending hashtag on TikTok is making a resurgence in popularity thanks to one of Hollywood's IT couples: Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny. While sitting courtside at a Lakers game on Friday, May 12, fans couldn't help but notice that the "Ojitos Lindos" singer seemed to wholeheartedly embrace his date, while the model comparatively appeared cool and closed off.

As a result of their less-than-exciting basketball game appearance, onlookers are turning toward the 'green line rule' to see what their expressions and movements indicate about their burgeoning romance...or if their get-together was simply a PR arrangement orchestrated by Momager Kris Jenner. 

Internet super-sleuths have resorted to the "green line test" for confirmation, but is it reliable and can it actually tell you about a relationship? We solicited the help of body language experts to make the call!

What is the 'green line test'?

The "green line test," which rose to fame in 2022, asks people to take a look at a couple in a photo, be it on a red carpet, a selfie, etc. From there, they'll draw lines in the direction in which each partner is leaning. The one that's standing upright is said to be the dominant partner in the relationship, but the one leaning is subservient. 

TikTok user @Jackmacbarstool earned viral success after analyzing red-carpet photos of Machine Gun Kelly and Megan Fox, Pete Davidson and Kim Kardashian and so on. He seems to say that the fellas who are leaning in are needy and the ones who are upright are letting their submissive partner "enter their world." Naturally, he was less than pleased with the interactions between Kenny and Bad Bunny. "This is no, no good. Bad, bad, bad, bad bunny," he said. Take a look below to see why. 


♬ original sound - Jack Mac

What do body language experts think about the 'green line test'? 

While at times the "green line test" could indicate what's going on between a couple, more often than not, there are a lot more factors that need to be considered before making a rash judgment. 

"There are so many permutations of interpretation on body language and there’s literally 50,000 things you can look for, from facial expression to one little muscle in the face, to head to toe," says body language expert Traci Brown. "To make an analysis based on one, that is the worst of the worst of any kind of analysis that I could ever think of."

Traci Brown

The "fraud-busting body language expert," Traci Brown is ranked as the third-best body language expert in the world. Also a Certified Speaking Expert, Traci has experience in subjects like managing risk, preventing fraud and detecting deception, to name a few. Her expertise has appeared in publications such as Good Housekeeping, Rolling Stone, TIME and The Wall Street Journal, among others. 

Contrary to Jack Mac and the Green Line's suggestions, leaning in is actually not a bad thing. In fact, we'd go as far as to say it's probably encouraged.

"It’s making us look at something that could indicate care, love affection, trust in your partner—all those things could be a part of leaning," says body language expert Patti Wood. "If a partner is turned toward their mate, it’s 'I care more about you than the cameras.'"

Additionally, Wood suggests turning our "windows"—head, shoulders, feet, etc.—to a partner means that we're being vulnerable with that person and want to focus on a connection. 

"They’re making it as if there’s this straight line through the body indicates power and one partner being dominant over the other and that’s fascinating to me because there could be so many other factors that affect that," she adds. 

Patti Wood

Patti Wood is a body language expert with over 25 years of her experience. She's been featured on CNN, PBS and Good Morning America, to name a few, to discuss her expertise. She's available for one-on-one coaching in presentation skills, interviewing and body language coaching. She's also written several books, including Success Signals: Understanding Body Language. 

Could it be accurate? Theoretically, onlookers could pinpoint something about a couple through the test, but there are a lot more factors to take into consideration than just posture. 

"There does seem to be something in the green line rule in some instances, but I wouldn't say it's true for every image that you see," says body language expert Adrianne Carter. "We have to remember that context, the relationship, and that moment in time are very important to take into consideration."

Brown agrees that the answer is all in the details. 

"You’ve got to look head to toe, so you look at their face. Are they happy? Are they faking their smile? Are they really happy? And that’s a combination of eyes and mouth, eyebrows—all of that." she says. "And just within that, you’ve got 100 to 200 things you can look for. Then you look for how close they’re standing. Who’s leaning in and who’s not? You can look for the littlest of things."

Adrianne Carter

Considered "The Face Whisperer," Adrianne Carter is a counselor, psychotherapist, a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Natural Success Psychology Coach. She's available for coaching in areas like meetings and negotiations, advertising and more.

While yes, it could be fun to dissect red carpet pics, remember that you have to really dig deep for answers and you cannot take things at face value. But, if Bad Bunny and Kenny continually show up to events looking uncomfortable, well, then...

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.