How to Read Body Language

A lot of books and webpages make out body language to be this mysterious, unknowable secret code that you can only master after you study a lot (and maybe shell out cash for the book). It's quite the opposite! Body language is something we all learn, from the time we're babies, and you probably pick up on most of it subconsciously. It's pretty easy to consciuosly recognize the signals we all give out.

Look at this girl. Can you tell if she's happy or sad? If she seems to be angry, or loving? Just looking at someone, from the moment they're born, tells you a lot about their mood. While we may learn not to scream when we're hungry (at least most of us learn that!) we always have those built in signals that we show our emotions with.

Here are some of the more common ways we show how we feel to each other.

Paying Attention
This is a REALLY obvious one, but sometimes if you're nervous you may not realize it. If you're interested in someone, you pay attention to them. If you're not interested in someone, your attention wanders. So if you're sitting with a boy you like, and he's looking at you when you're talking, that's a great sign. The eyes are the window to the soul. If he's always looking out the window, or watching other girls as they walk by, it's a clear indication where his brain is.

Dialated eyes
While we're at it, your eye pupils dialate (get bigger) when you're excited. So if someone's eyes look really big, it shows they're interested. People have known this for centuries - you wouldn't believe the number of ways that women have either painted their eyes or ingested pupil-dialating herbs in order to get their eyes to look big and 'sexy'.

Lip and Mouth Activities
OK, we all know the first stage of intimacy is usually kissing. So the mouth is a built-in 'attraction spot' for humans. People subconsciously use this when they're interested in someone. So a girl might bite her lip gently, or run her tongue along her lip. Some girls even do this deliberately to flirt, although it rarely looks natural. If you're a girl, don't try it, unless you're REALLY sure it looks natural. Otherwise it looks REALLY goofy.. People also touch their face and chin casually, sort of to draw attention to their lips.

Hair, for Youth and Vitality
Think of Sampson & Delilah, where Sampson's power and strength was in his rich hair. Think of all the Princesses with long, lush, flowing hair. Hair is a sign of vitality, youth, strength. Anything that involves playing with hair is trying to show this off. Girls wrap their fingers in their hair. Guys run their hands through their hair. It's all a way to say, "look, I'm a good catch". Note that TWIRLING your hair is more a sign of boredom and distraction.

Arms and Hands
You have to be careful here. Lots of people say that crossed arms are a sign of tenseness and closed-inness. But I know lots of dates where the guy thought that, and the girl was just freezing cold! These signs only work if it's WARM. If she's cold, by the way, you're supposed to find a way to keep her warm. Wrapping her in your jacket or sweater is REALLY good. But back to the hands and arms. If she's warm, then arms or hands that are close or crossed is an indication that she's not feeling comfortable, Arms that are out and away from her are less 'defensive'. Also, one of the tenderest points on a woman's body is the inside of her wrist - it's also a very vulnerable spot as far as 'basic anatomy' goes because of all the blood vessels there. So if she's leaving her arms wrist-up, it's sort of a "I trust you" motion.

Ah, the infamous crossed-legs body language. Many people think crossed legs means someone isn't interested. I hate to tell them, but it's just COMFORTABLE to cross your legs! And it's not necessarily important which way you cross them. Sometimes it's just more comfortable to cross the right or left one depending which one is tired and which one is against a wall or something. However, toes tend to react to general body energy. So if someone's feeling bored and listless, they might just lay there. But if someone is feeling excited and energetic, the toe might make little circles or bounce. So think of it more as a general energy-gauge rather than anything too meaningful.

The Voice
The way someone talks to you is hugely important. You know this from your own parents - wasn't it easy to tell when they were angry with you and when they were feeling especially loving? The way they could say one word - your name - had all sorts of meaning in it which was very easy to pick out. The same is true for any other person you talk to.

Listen to their tone of voice. Are they bored and weary? Are they thoughtful and quiet? Are they enthused and interested? This is where being friends with the person first helps - you get to know their 'normal' speech so any variances become more obvious. Now, watch your own speech and then watch how their speech changes. If someone is wanting to 'get along' with someone else, they naturally match their speech patterns together. You might notice this yourself if you go somewhere far from home - you start to speak and talk like the natives there, picking up their speech patterns. The same is true in flirting. If you're interested in someone, you start to naturally speak like them, using the same tone of voice, the same loudness/softness and speed, the same phrases even. It's a way to 'become part of their group'.

How To ... in Love