You're communicating with more than words: are you body language-savvy?
When you're dating, you may find yourself often wondering (and having to guess) what someone really means when they're talking. Then, add body language to the mix, and the potential for misinterpretation is huge. As human beings, we communicate by both words and actions. How we stand, walk, sit, and move conveys non-verbal messages to the outside world about how we're feeling. This becomes even more evident when we're dating.
Learning about body language (both yours and his) is extremely helpful. Then, you'll (1) know better what's really happening on the other side of the table and (2) be able to communicate more clearly what's happening on your side of the table.
To touch or not to touch
A big benefit of touching him is to see how you "feel" inside when that physical contact happens. Touching is one of the great ways your instincts and intuition let you know if you like him, are attracted to him, and if you feel safe with him. And, once you've touched him, it opens the door for him to touch you back and then you can see how that feels. (Don't forget: A good man will wait for you to offer your permission before touching you.) A few safe ways to explore touching:
- When he makes a point you like, touch his arm or his hand as you tell him what you liked about it.
- Take his arm when you're walking with him. You'll have total control of how close — or not — you're willing to get to him.
- Compliment him on his shirt, jacket, or tie and touch that article of clothing as you say the compliment.
- Touching your hair or your jewelry is a flirty way to indicate you like him.
How much is too much? An intense stare can be as off-putting as not looking at him at all. Generally, it's a good rule to look at the person 75 to 80 percent of the time. This shows you're interested, but not too intense.
How to give yourself permission to break eye contact? It's normal to look away when you're formulating a thought or trying to remember a fact. It's also normal to glance away when there is a natural pause in the conversation. If you need a break from eye contact, you can do such things as use your napkin to wipe your mouth and then refold it in your lap, replace your lipstick (just a quick swipe; not the entire makeover), or reach in your purse for a tissue. In general:
- Look at him when you talk.
- Glancing away occasionally is just fine.
- If he's looking at you as you talk to him, then look back at him.
- If he's looking at you as he talks to you, then look back at him.
Posture — breaking the space barrier
Men instinctively know they're generally bigger and stronger than we are, so they tend to honor the 18 to 36 inch space barrier we all have around us until we indicate to them it's okay to "come inside". Here are some ways to show him you're okay with him coming closer:
- If you're sitting across a table from him, leaning towards him shows him you're interested in him and what he's saying.
- If he leans in and it's comfortable for you, then lean in to mirror his motion.
Arms. Keep your arms uncrossed. If you find yourself continually drawn to crossing your arms (and you're not cold) you might be picking up signals to be cautious of him. Put your hands in your lap, lay them on the table, hold your glass, etc. This also gives you another easy opportunity to reach out and touch his hand or arm. Also notice if he's crossing his arms or not.
Feet. Pay attention to your feet. If you're comfortable, your feet will be pointed toward him (even if you cross your legs, pay attention to the direction your feel are pointed). Notice the direction his feet are pointing; this gives you insight into how he's feeling as well.
Using a blend of animation and stillness. It's best to avoid too much of either. Are you a naturally exuberant person? You can still be your animated self, just don't let yourself get carried away (something that can happen if you're nervous). Fidgeting is unattractive. Make a conscious decision to resist playing with the things on the table or with the things you're wearing.
Tools and awarenesses. For each of these areas it's important to stay conscious about what you're doing and how you're feeling. Questions to ask yourself at each phase: Am I ready to smile at him? Be physically closer to him?
Going on a first date can be nerve wracking, and now I've filled your head with even more things to think about. So, to feel more relaxed with these new skills, practice them on your family and friends at every opportunity. Then you'll feel like an expert when you make it to on that first date.
If you'd like to know more about understanding body language (both yours and theirs), please let me know. It would be my pleasure to help you learn how to be and how to attract The Perfect Catch.
More body language advice from YourTango:
- 4 Tricks To Exude Confidence & Attract More Dates
- How To Get A Boyfriend: Stop Trying!
- 12 Sensual Massage Dos & Don'ts