The Seven Deadly Body Language Sins
I am a big believer that body language makes all the difference in creating the attraction. Girls can tell instantly the level of your confidence, grooming, and over all self worth based on the slightest body language hints. I found this article while surfing the net and thought that I would pass it along to you.
Body language chartUnder pressure, our bodies leak – and I don’t just mean perspiration. They leak information about our true feelings. Pretend all you like that you’re having a wonderful time at Aunt Mary’s 60th birthday party (‘Of course I wouldn’t rather be down the pub with my mates. I know, the football’s on, but I’d much rather be here with you. Honest!’), but your feet will still draw circles in the air, the fingers of one hand drum a hole in the arm of the sofa and the other hand prop up your head – all classic signs of boredom. Other indicators include pursed lips, shoulders so tense they’re around our ears, shallow breathing, biting our lips, picking our cuticles, touching our mouths All the gestures our body makes tell a story.
A lot of the time we’re unaware of the signals our bodies are sending others. We’re not the only ones: the person receiving the signals usually hasn’t got a clue what their subconscious is processing to give them the conclusion they’re reaching (this person likes/doesn’t like me/is bored/having a good time). Asked to pinpoint how they knew they’d overstepped the mark with that story about their ex, and they’re likely to say ‘instinctually’. It’s unlikely they’ll say ‘Because you leant away from me and put one arm across your body in a partial arm block.’ The fact is that it doesn’t really matter if they know why. The end result is still the same: your body language is largely responsible for the impression someone has of you.
Which is why it’s worth taking a look through the following checklist to make sure you’re not guilty of any sins. Most of us chalk up one or two sins in certain situations, but if your score is five and over, best get yourself a big cup of coffee (or a very stiff drink). You’re not going anywhere until you can recite the following truths off by heart – and done your homework.
What it says about you: If you don’t think much of yourself, chances are you slink your way through life, keeping a low profile – literally. People with low self-esteem try to blend with the pavement: they slump their shoulders, bow their heads and generally make themselves look as small as possible. When forced to stand still, it’s quite obvious they’re wishing the floor would open up and swallow them – their whole body is pointing towards it.
Fix it by: Simply standing up nice and straight, just like good old Mum told you to. If you think highly of yourself, you hold yourself high. It’s that simple. People associate an erect posture with self-assured, dominant personalities. You do, too, which is why it’s possible to trick yourself into thinking you’re far more competent and capable than you really are if you pull those shoulders back and stand tall.
Instant result: You’ll appear and feel more confident.
What it says about you: Avoid looking at people and you avoid connecting with them. The real reason you’re gazing downward is probably because you’re shy – the kindest interpretation people will make of this gesture. Others will think you’re not interested in them or anything they’re saying (if you can’t even be bothered raising your eyes to fake interest, what hope have they got?), arrogant (it’s rude not to look at someone who is talking to you), or nervous and slightly dodgy (avoid looking someone in the eye and they automatically assume you’re hiding something).
Fix it by: Lifting your eyes. If you’re too shy to make direct eye contact, at least look straight ahead rather than downward. Or shift your gaze so you’re looking just above the other person’s head or slightly to the side. True, people will start to feel weirdly self-conscious (and worry that their hair’s sticking up or a bit of crisp is stuck to their cheek), but it’s better than not connecting with you at all. Once you’re used to looking upward, work on meeting people’s eyes briefly as you’re walking past. Ideally, you’ll get to the stage where you can make eye contact while stationary, and comfortably maintain it for periods at a time.
Instant result: Rectify sins one and two simultaneously and you’ll see remarkable changes in your life. According to communications specialist Gordon Wainwright, simply by making these alternations – walking tall, keeping your shoulders back and looking straight ahead – you’ll feel more positive and confident, walk faster, feel fitter, notice more, react faster to what’s happening around you, and think faster and more clearly as well. If that’s not enough incentive for you, people will respond differently to you as well. They’ll agree more with what you say and generally be friendlier. This worked a treat with lots of people on Would Like to Meet. More than one transformed immediately from Mr or Ms uncomfortable to Mr or Ms cool.
What it says about you: If you’re constantly scratching your neck or pulling your collar away from it, you might as well have a neon sign hanging round it that reads ‘My name’s John/Jane and you’re making me feel horribly insecure and/or as nervous as hell’. Both gestures are signs of doubt and uncertainty. Interestingly, most of us use the same finger (the index) to scratch, and aim for the same place (just below the ear on the side of the neck). Even more bizarre, almost everyone scratches exactly five times.
People pull their clothes away from their necks when they’re in a ‘hot spot’, literal or otherwise. If you’re feeling exposed or caught out, you start sweating, so you pull the clothes away from your neck to get a bit more air. We also do it when we fib. Zoologist and body language expert Desmond Morris found that when we tell a lie, we get a tingling sensation in the face and neck. This is because the heart beats faster when nervous (which most people are when fibbing), the blood pumps harder and the blood vessels dilate. As the skin on the face and necks is particularly sensitive, it’s uncomfortable to have clothes rub against it, so we pull them away.
Fix it by: By being aware of what your hands are doing at any given moment (always a good idea). If you feel them hovering anywhere near your neck (and you’re not a girl about to launch into a touch-and-tease moment, see page 00), mentally slap yourself and take a quick detour. Turn the movement into a preening (I’m interested in looking good for you) gesture, by smoothing your hair or collar/top.
Instant result: You’ll appear more in control, more sincere and more comfortable in any given situation.
What it says about you: Putting your hand on the side of your face and leaning on it sends three clear messages:
1. I’m so bored and tired, I can hardly hold my head up.
2. I’m feeling faintly superior and quite possibly judging you while I’m at it. (There’s no way we’d sit like that in front of a boss or someone we respected.)
3. I don’t like my face much, which is why I’m hiding half of it. (There is one exception to this rule: people sometimes wrap both hands around their face, lean forward and gaze transfixed if totally besotted with someone. But even if this is your excuse, are you sure you want them to know about it at this early stage?)
Fix it by: Er, removing your hand? That’s a great start. Then how about you do something else with it, like run your fingers through your hair and actually hold your hair back from your face. This says, ‘Have a good look. I like how I look, so you should too.’ Keeping one hand stationary in one position is also restrictive. Not only does it stop you moving your face around (to show it off at different angles), it immediately rules out any chance of touching. (You try hugging with one arm, or leaning across the table to hold someone’s hand while keeping your other hand firmly plonked under your chin.)
Instant result: They stop thinking ‘I’m boring you/You’d rather be at home tucked up in bed (alone)/I’m talking complete rubbish/Not good enough for you, etc.’ Instead, you (and they) are in with a chance. They’ll also feel less self-conscious. The other problem with leaning on your hand and gazing at someone is that they feel like they’re under a spotlight. Your focus is too intense. Remove your hand, look away as well as at them and they get the space they need. You don’t just appear more interested, alive and involved in the conversation, you lighten the mood as well.
What it says about you: The only thing worse than being tense, rigid and uptight is being so relaxed that you’re practically in a sprawled-in-front-of-the-telly pose. Unless you’re an ex-Spice girl (more specifically, Posh or Geri), or Calvin Klein’s latest male model, none of us can afford to totally relax our tummies. It’s unlikely the rest of your body’s good enough to relax either. George, our first WLTM star, let it all hang out in a spectacular way on his dummy date. It wasn’t a good look.
Fix it by: Imagining you’re about to have sex with Posh/Geri/George Clooney/Brad Pitt/whoever takes your fancy. It’s amazing how the thought of being seen naked by someone delicious suddenly makes us pull in our tummies, clench our buttocks, square our shoulders and generally position our bodies in a flattering way.
Instant result: You’ll transform yourself from Person I’d Most Like to Watch Telly With to Person Most Likely to Tempt Me to Turn off the Telly (and start having some fun in the process).
What it says about you: If we really, really like someone – friend, prospective lover or someone we’re already sharing the sheets and remote control with – we give them full body attention and do a complete, 100 per cent body pivot to face them when they’re in close proximity. If we’re not that fussed, feel intimidated or nervous about the consequences of totally committing our attention, our body language reflects our mood: we’ll make a half-hearted turn in the other person’s direction, but remain pointing elsewhere with our legs, arms, eyes, chin.
Fix it by: Stop to think about the significance of friends, family and prospective dates next time you see them. Pause for a second, then adjust your body to the angle that best represents the level of interest you want them to think they inspire. If you’re not so keen, stick with the half-turn. If you’re mad about them but they’re not getting the hint, do a full body pivot when they say ‘Hi’ and tap you on the shoulder. I wouldn’t take it as far as Linda Blair in The Exorcist and madly swivel on the spot, but this will certainly let them know your head’s in a spin when they’re around. Add a dazzling smile and they can’t help but be impressed.
Instant result: A 100 per cent body pivot makes people feel very, very noticed and very, very special – both highly desirable if you fancy them. This is even better if it’s reciprocated.
What it says about you: Our posture reflects how much we like the person we’re with. Put simply, we lean towards people we like and lean away from people we don’t. This is even more pronounced if we’re sitting. Watch two close friends perched on bar stools or huddled in a corner having a drink and they’re nearly always leaning towards each other, creating a cosy little vacuum-for-two. If you’re not convinced it makes one iota of difference, experiment and see for yourself. The next time you talk to a good friend, lean towards them. Chances are they’ll behave as normal – talk lots, smile lots – because this is how you naturally behave towards people you like. Now, deliberately lean back from them, keeping everything else constant. See how they talk less, start to look uncomfortable, ask if you’re OK, if they’re boring you (At this point, confess that it’s a body language experiment, not a power play.)
Fix it by: Apart from mirroring (see page 00), leaning forward with your upper body is the single, most effective I-like-you message you can send someone. Even a child can learn this one: lean forward if you want to get closer physically, emotionally or intellectually); lean back if you don’t.
Instant result: Not only will you send ‘I’m interested’ signals to people you’re interested in, this is also a good ploy for looking part of a group if you’re feeling ostracized or on the fringes. Watch people in a group and you can tell who’s ‘in’ and who’s ‘out’ by the angle of their bodies. Outsiders typically stand with their weight on one foot/hip, leaning away from the group. Those who are ‘in’ lean forward with head tipped forward.
About Bobby Rio I'm Bobby Rio, one of the founders of TSB. I tend to write about what is on my mind so you'll find a mix of self development, social dynamics and dating articles/experiences. For a collection of some of my favorite articles check them out.