People’s body language and body chemistry says all you need to know about what they’re thinking and feeling. We spoke with Joe Navarro, body language expert and author of What Every Body is Saying, regarding the way the body does all the talking. “In dating, what scientists call courtship rituals, it’s primarily about nonverbal communication,” says Navarro. “It’s staggering how little of it has to do with words being said.”
The moves the body makes subconsciously sends out signals to the opposite sex to show interest or to say “back off.” Read on to find out whether or not the hottie at the end of the bar is feeling your casual glances, or if he’s much more interested in the exit sign behind you. And, it’s not just male body language, it’s the same for the body language of women. So, before you overanalyze the words coming out of your interest’s mouth, read through these basics on how to read body language.
If he’s interested in you—and you, him—the natural reaction is for your body to open up in order for you to capture the other person’s essence. Your eyebrows will arch, allowing your eyes to open wide. Your eyes will also dilate so you can “see” more of what piqued your interest. “When we first meet someone we like, we tend to see things even at a distance,” says Navarro. “The arching of the eyebrows in translated to being happily contented. It has a potent message that you’re welcoming the person. Opening up the eyes lets in more light; it allows us to see the person more clearly.”
Not only do the eyes open and dilate, the nose does as well. Navarro says this allows us to “absorb this person’s chemistry.” The nostrils widen to inhale the scent of your potential lover. Their body chemistry sends out pheromones meant to attract the opposite sex. Larger eyes, bigger nostrils; all better to see and smell with, my dear.
We’re not talking about dressing up in your Sunday best. One major body language move that tells when a person is interested is when they’re fixing themselves up—known as preening behaviors. Men will fix their collars, sit or stand up taller, puff out their chests. Women tend to fix their hair and move it away from their faces so guys can get a better look. If you find your interest tidying up—or you catch yourself doing the same—they’re subconsciously saying that they want to look good for you. So keep looking.
No, not that kind of front action. We’re talking about positioning the body, and body parts, so the person you’re interested in gets a front row seat to the show that is you and vice versa. “Habitually, especially in dating, exposing our ventral [front] side is a sexual cue to the other person,” says Navarro. This full frontal allows the opposite sex to see that you’re interested and also says they’re interested. And it’s not just the body, it’s also allowing the opposite sex a view of your neck or the inside of your arm and wrist—all sensitive areas that begged to be touched. The more you can see the front of the body and certain body parts, the more attracted to you they are and vice versa. Turn your body full frontal and see if he mirrors you. Yes? Game on, sister.
He’s Just Not Interested
If you’re not positive that the position of your interest’s body language is in tune with yours, check out the feet for confirmation. If someone is interested in you, their feet will be turned toward you. If their feet are pointed in the direction of the nearest exit, you may need to take your flirt elsewhere. “The feet are the most actual part of the body,” says Navarro. “If I don’t like you, my feet won’t go near you. When we like someone, we orient our feet closer and toward them or, if not, we will literally turn our feet toward an exit—trying to get away.”
A few other indicators that your interest is contemplating a clean getaway are denying a view of the front of the body, lack of eye contact, and less animated movements when speaking. By keeping movements restricted and limiting touching the other person, or even fiddling with objects, the body is telling you that there’s a lack of interest. “When we touch someone, it releases the chemical oxytocin, a bonding chemical,” says Navarro. “The more touching that we do when it’s appropriate, the closer we grow together.”
If your is date leaning away from you, feet toward the door, and he’s keeping his hands to himself, you may want to rethink your choice of partners in that little dance called dating.