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body language dating

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times—body language communicates far more than words do, and far more honestly.  The modern dating scene can seem full of people adept at obscuring their intentions in ambiguous words. But our bodies can’t lie.  If you can learn to decode the messages a potential match’s body is sending, you can see a mile away if he’s looking for a relationship or a hook-up, and if she really wants you to ask for her number!

Here’s the breakdown from our professional matchmakers on what you need to know about body language (and if you want the list of the many reasons, body language advice from professional matchmaker Nancy Gold is more useful than generic dating app advice, check out this previous post):

Elegant Introduction’s Better Body Language Decoder

Maximizing the effect of Eye Contact–the act of making eye contact is a physically arousing experience for humans.  Both positively and negatively so, depending on context.

When you pair direct eye contact with signs of dominance or determination—crossed arms, an uplifted chin, furrowed brows—it can read as challenging and intimidating, arousing fear or aggression in the other person.  But when you pair eye contact with softer, more inviting body language—a smile, a slight tilt of the head—it triggers an immediate emotional impact that arouses feelings of attraction.

Keep in mind the first time you make eye contact is the most emotionally powerful first impression you get.  Visual judgments are made faster and more emotionally than judgments based on verbal communication, and they are nearly impossible to change.

So take the time to let your first moment of eye contact land without distracting the brain with lots of words.  Smile and connect with another person for maximum emotional impact.  Then follow it up with your charming personality!

Show a little vulnerability–the neck, chest, and wrists are fairly vulnerable spots on the human body.  When we expose these, even for brief, rare moments called ‘flashes,’ we show that we are comfortable and interested in our partner.  For women, this often manifests in small tilts of the head, or pushing back the hair (exposing the neck), or small finger movements that expose the wrist.  She might circle the rim of a glass, or twirl a pen, or make small ‘self-touches’ on her collarbone, face, or hair. For men, this usually looks like him facing his front towards the date, and standing more erect, exposing his chest and trying to display confidence.

A little fidgeting is fine–usually, especially if your date is introverted, fidgeting shows they are interested and nervous!  Both men and women fix their hair when they are self-conscious (though, with certain styles, men might try to make their hair look messier rather than neater!), especially when they want to impress.

When we are happy, blood flows to the hands keeping them pliable and the fingers more open, when we stress the fingers are colder, stiffer, and more tucked into themselves.  If you can keep your hands open and moving gently, even if it means fidgeting a little, it keeps you reading as open.  Just be careful not to let the nervousness and insecurity make you too defensive.  Don’t cross your arms, or slouch, or let your hands clench up, as not only will this read poorly to your date, but it will send messages to your own brain to feel even worse than you might already feel.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.  Remember, signals can vary slightly from person to person, so trust us when we say it’s much better to get personalized body language tips if you want to be ‘fluent!’

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