Understanding the Body Language of a Potential Date
Understanding the Body Language of a Potential Date
People tend to communicate more than just words when they speak. In fact, between 80 and 90 percent of communication is done through nonverbal displays, originating in the limbic brain, which is tasked with controlling our animal instincts and unconscious reactions. Learning how various external stimuli can affect the limbic system (and in turn, your body, through involuntary movements and reactions) can be a powerful tool when presenting yourself to a member of the opposite sex. In order to improve these skills, one must first learn how to interpret body language, then how to choreograph their own non-verbal signals, and finally how to use NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) techniques.
Women typically use specific types of body language when they interact with members of the opposite sex. This physical communication comes from the unconscious, limbic center of the brain, often called the “honest brain” because of how difficult it is to control unconscious, instinctual reactions. For example, a woman might show her wrists to someone she trusts. If she exposes her wrists often during while speaking with you, she probably feels comfortable in your presence. Women smokers, after taking a drag off of their cigarette, will hold the lit cigarette to the side of their face in such a way as to present her wrist to the person she in the most interested in/comfortable with. Feet and legs are honest indicators as well, because dishonest people rarely pay any attention to these furthest-from-the-brain appendages. A person’s foot points to where they want to be. If you are talking to a woman who is pointing one or both of her feet toward the nearest exit, or toward another suitor, you are more than likely not going to get far with her until you successfully turn her attention back toward you.
If a woman is seated near you, look at her feet and legs first (discreetly, because staring is creepy). If her legs are crossed, knees connected in such a way that both of her shins are parallel to each other, facing you, then you are on the right track. You have her undivided attention and interest. Another good sign is when she dangles one of her shoes off the end of her toes during conversation. There are a large number of nerve endings in the feet, a good portion of which are connected to the same part of the brain that controls the genitalia. If at any point in the conversation the shoe dangling suddenly stops, you may have just done or said something which unconsciously turned her off, or made her uncomfortable. Backtrack and try to figure out where you went wrong.
Vocal patterns are also an indicator of attraction. Women will almost always raise the pitch and tone of their voices when they are speaking with someone to whom they feel affection. “Gravity-defying” behavior (like jumping up and down, standing on the balls of their feet, or lifting a leg when kissing) signals elation, and a higher-pitched voice is a sort of vocal “lift.”
Watch for distancing behaviors as well. Folded arms can be an unconscious way of creating a barrier between a person and someone who triggers a sense of uneasiness. If there is a table between you and a woman, watch to see if she puts her drink on the table in such a way that she has to cross her arm in front of her body to pick up the glass. If she places her purse on the table in between the two of you, she is distancing herself from you by creating a physical barrier. This is a bad sign! This distancing behavior is compounded by the fact that there is already a table acting as a physical barrier between you.
Faces also betray much that is going on inside a person’s head. If a woman is sincerely attracted to someone, her pupils will dilate and blood will rush to her cheeks, earlobes, and lips. (This is why makeup and jewelry have been developed specifically to accentuate those areas of women’s faces.) Happiness is often faked with a smile, but real smiles tend to “crinkle” the skin around the outside of the eyes, and the upper parts of the cheeks just beneath the eyes. A fake smile is limited to just the mouth, without attention being paid to other facial muscles. Watch for subtle signs of disgust, fear, and anger. These expressions will only last for a fraction of a second before she forces her face back into a polite, socially acceptable, fake-happy expression. You might want to study facial microexpressions in order to hone your ability to spot these subtle body language tells.
You can also train yourself to display comforting body language messages to someone you are interested in. When you approach a woman, try to avoid overly dominating positions, such as crossed arms, hands on hips (the way drill instructors are typically pictured), proximity encroachments (standing too close, too early in the conversation), wide foot placement, and pointing at your crotch (thumbs in pockets, with the rest of the hands highlighting your groin region). All of these are excellent ways of overplaying your first hand in the dating game.
Standing with your legs crossed slightly signals that you are not feeling defensive or aggressive (i.e., not likely to stage a sudden retreat or attack). When you first meet a woman, don’t shake hands with your palm facing down. Instead shake with your palms parallel to an imaginary, vertical plane, or with your palm turned up ever-so-slightly. Also, a little unintrusive touching goes a long way; gently touch her forearm, elbow, or shoulder as you are shaking her hand. Stand within an arms length of her on average. However, if you are in a rural area, stand a little farther than an arm’s length; in the city, it may be OK to stand closer. If you sit down with your prospective date, try to sit at the corner of a table, or next to her on a couch or bench. Avoid putting her in a defensive “firing squad” position, and remember that a table placed between you and her acts as a psychological barrier.
In most situations, exposed palms equal truth and openness. When you are talking, try to show the palms of your hands as much as possible. People who are feeling comfortable around another person, and who are not engaged in deceptive behavior, typically show their palms. Balled up fists, on the other hand, are a sign of aggression. Turning your palms downward projects an authoritative impression, as if you are telling everyone to “calm down” and “behave.”
Drawing attention to your face can be done well and it can be done poorly, depending on the body language and facial expressions you are relaying to the viewer. Raised eyebrows, wrinkling of the forehead, and a real smile are all indicators of an appropriate, nonthreatening level of interest. If you lean in toward a woman, with your interlocked fingers (palms down) holding your chin up, you are essentially offering yourself on a visual platter, and you are not being at all aggressive or threatening. This, obviously, only works when there is a table on which to rest your elbows (otherwise you would just look weird), and therefore this can be an excellent approach if you are seated across from a woman and you want to eliminate the “barrier” effect.
“Mirroring” is also a good way to break through defenses of any type, whether a table, crossed arms, or foot placement. Mirroring facial expressions and body positions unconsciously informs a woman that you are interested but not desperate, and that you see her as being on your level, not below you. Mirroring can also be useful in speech. Repeating what someone just said, before you offer your retort, has been shown to convey an image of interest, fascination, and full conversational involvement.
Lastly, there are certain Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques designed to help improve your chances with women. The most important of these techniques is called “anchoring,” wherein you must first trigger a positive emotion in your (for lack of a better word) target, and then use a slight, nonthreatening touch or visual cue to “anchor” that emotion to a particular stimulus. For example, if you are talking about movies with a woman, you can bring up the scene at the end of Love Actually when the prime minister (portrayed by Hugh Grant) kisses his new girlfriend on the stage of a children’s Christmas play. If she has seen the movie, positive emotions will begin to well up in her mind. Gently touch her shoulder, hand, or knee for about five to 15 seconds. Then, change the subject slightly and break physical contact. Now you have anchored a positive emotion to a certain type of physical touch.
You can also stack positive emotional anchors onto that same target stimulus. If you are daring enough, you might even attempt to anchor the feelings of arousal triggered by films like Nine and a Half Weeks or 50 Shades of Grey onto the same anchor site. The more time you spend anchoring, the more effective your anchors will be when you re-initiate them later. It is important to make sure you are anchoring the emotion you want them to have, otherwise your attempt will fail.
Too many men often let beautiful women get away because there are simply too many unknown variables in cold approaches and pickup techniques. A thorough knowledge and practical understanding of body language and nonverbal communication can decrease the number of these unknowns substantially by giving men a higher level of confidence. There are some who might argue that this knowledge gives one person an unfair advantage over another (and you can do with that what you will), but suffice it to say that these tools can be used in both a mature, responsible way and a sinister, manipulative way. You might even consider openly telling a woman that you are reading her body language. It might be a good ice breaker and it will make you much more interesting than other men.
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