Flirting and Body Language When Dating
If you’re on a first date and you’re trying to figure out what Mr. or Ms. Potentially Right thinks about you, look downward.
Not there, silly.
“The key to a man’s heart isn’t his stomach. It’s his feet,” says Lisa Daily, author of “Stop Getting Dumped!” (Subtitle: “All You Need to Know to Make Men Fall Madly in Love With You and Marry ‘The One’ in 3 Years or Less.”)
As it turns out, the foot rule also applies to women.
“Watch the feet of the person you’re attracted to,” she tips “People who are attracted to each other subconsciously try to ‘line up’ with the other person. Where the toes point, the heart follows.”
When you take the Sherlock Holmes approach to reading your date, trying to sleuth out whether he/she thinks you’re hot (or not), body language is the smoking gun, my dear Watson.
“Even if we’ve got our game faces on, the body doesn’t lie,” Daily says.
In fact, studies reveal that only 7% of our communication is verbal, according to Mari Smith, a relationship coach based in San Diego, California. The other 93% is nonverbal.
Tips & Clues
Men send out the following tips when they’re interested in you, according to Daily and Smith:
Extended eye contact.
Grooming behaviors (straightening their ties, pulling up their socks).
Upright stance or posture.
Standing with their chests thrust outward and shoulders back (think of a giant preening peacock).
Ego-driven comments about their successes in life (jobs, cash, their cars).
“He may have one hand in his pocket, with his thumb sticking out, or tuck his thumbs in his belt,” Smith adds.
As for the so-called “fairer” sex, look for the following nonverbal cues from a woman:
Extended eye contact and smiling (just like men).
Leaning inward or toward you.
Exposing her neck, hands or palms.
Flipping her hair (with her hands or a twist of the head) or twirling it playfully.
Crossing and uncrossing her legs.
Fondling cylindrical objects like the stem of a wine glass, straw, pen or cigarette. (Paging Dr. Freud…)
“Houston, We Have a Problem”
“For both sexes, there are also signs that things are not going well,” says Daily, who notes that distasteful dates, traumatic breakups and consequent crisis periods often call for “a few Nora Ephron movies and two tubes of frozen cookie dough eaten right out of the package.”
Look for speech patterns that are wildly out of sync. “He’s a slow talker, while she’s a thousand-words-a-minute,” she says.
Defensive body language—arms crossed in front of the chest or hands subconsciously protecting the groin area.
Someone who keeps looking over your shoulder while you speak.
“When someone is not interested in you, they will typically point their body and feet away from you and position themselves at a greater distance,” Smith adds.
Saying Goodnight…or Saying Goodbye?
As your date winds down, other cues foreshadow your relationship’s future.
“If you give your date a hug on the doorstep and he or she pats you on the back, it’s a sign of discomfort,” Daily says. “The more uncomfortable your date feels, the bigger the pat. The other obvious, not-so-great sign is going in for the doorstep kiss—and getting a handshake instead.” (Ouch!)
Positive signals are much easier to read: a concrete invitation for a second date, with firm plans—not just “let’s do this again” or “I’ll call you sometime,” Daily says.
The Flirt Factor
Flirting with your date—and being on the receiving end—meets Sherlock’s criteria for irrefutable evidence that your lovely evening may evolve into a bona fide relationship.
Daily takes it one step further, asserting that flirting is “absolutely necessary.”
“Flirting is how we communicate our interest—and how we connect emotionally before we connect physically,” she says. “Generally, flirting is harmless, but it can sometimes be interpreted incorrectly by the ‘flirtee.’ The key is to pay attention to the tone of the flirtation and wait to see how the flirter responds if you try to take it up a notch. If she backs down, she was probably just flirting for fun. If she escalates the flirting in turn, she’s communicating interest.”
“Use attitude, voice and body synchronization to make others feel like they have a special rapport with you,” advises Nicholas Boothman, a communication specialist and author of ” How to Make Someone Love You Forever in 90 Minutes or Less.” He encourages those he counsels to learn to “access—and rev up—your sex appeal, without going over the top.”
Create chemistry by mirroring your partner’s physical presence and verbal behavior.
“When you synchronize your overall body language, your tone, the speed and volume of your voice, and even the type of words you use—as well as your attitude—people feel safe, familiar and trusting with you,” he tells
Smith believes women have the edge—and a lot more fun—when it comes to flirting. (Sorry, guys…)
“Playful, lighthearted behavior is really the domain of women,” she says, “and typically men love it and gravitate toward the woman who looks the most fun. It certainly pays to familiarize yourself with all of the signs of attraction so you know how and when to communicate interest—and make sure you’re sending the right message!”