Anyone over the age of 6 has experienced it: Laying eyes on someone that JUST HAS TO BE their soul-mate. You look at them and feel that immediate pang of attraction. Your heart skips a beat, your feet feel lighter, you quickly glance away so no-one sees you staring at them. Then your glance darts right back to them.
You decide to grow a backbone and walk over and maybe start a conversation. They look at you.. You play it coy and smile.. Surely, you two are meant to be, and he/she has a facebook that you can immediately begin to stalk, right?!?!? RIGHT?!?! Well here’s how to tell if that 30 second encounter has legitimacy to it..
- Pay close attention to their eyes: I have years of experience and training in reading body language and “Micro Expressions”, and I can say from experience that the eyes and the area around the eyes truly are the windows to the soul. Pay close attention to what they look at when you two make contact, and to how long they look at it. Do their eyes move all over your face, from feature to feature? Do they look at your lips? Does it seem as if their eyes opened up a little wider when they first looked at you? These are all signs of potential romantic interest. I say potential because every little clue must be taken in context of the situation/circumstances. What does that mean? If this person in question is a waiter, then giving you direct eye contact or gazing into your eyes may just be them being a good and receptive waiter. When reading body language you can’t go off of one piece of information to make any conclusion. That’s a surefire way to get it wrong. People look at things that interest them or that they desire. We do it by habit. So if the object of your heart doesn’t give you any eye contact in return, or if their eyes are darting around at everything but you, then this is a sign that they don’t feel the sparks. But once again, take it in context. Are they in a hurry? Working? Distressed? Take in the environment you two are in to help you gauge the strength of your observations.
- Look at their body: You may have already given them “elevator eyes” but this time, pay attention to how their body is oriented and to whom or what it is oriented towards. If upon walking towards them or up to them, they immediately face you, showing you their face and body full frontal and not at an angle, then this is a good sign. If they are angled away from you, or they shift to show you their side, then they have interest in something else right now. Even more true if they never turned in your direction at all. Look at their feet as well: what are they pointed towards? Any expert will tell you that our feet naturally and unconsciously forecast our intentions. If they turn to point at you, then this is good. If they turn to point at the door, then that’s where they’re heading. Women have a particularly habitual way of doing this, oftentimes while standing, and using their lead foot. Gay men tend to as well. Also, how open is their body. By this I mean, do they have an open inviting look to their body? Or is it closed off or restricted? We tend to show open body language like tilting the chin and/or face, showing the wrists, and spreading legs and/or arms when we are comfortable with the person we are talking to or interested in. We do the opposite with people we do not like or feel threatened by: our posture becomes rigid, our bodies stiff, we bring limbs closer to our bodies, and and we literally close our bodies.
- How close are they to you?: We naturally move closer to people we are attracted to. Some people out of nervous habit may not, but if given the opportunity by your proximity, they will at the very least stick around. They may even follow you, if only for a minute or two. When you walked over to the boy/girl of your dreams, did they move themselves closer to you? Did they rearrange themselves to maybe get a better look? It is also of note that in social settings, people who are shy (instead of moving closer to you) will draw attention to themselves to make you look at them. They may suddenly yell a friend’s name, they may raise their voice if they are in conversation with someone, they may drop something. Once again, take the signs in context of the environment. If you approach them and start conversation, do they move in closer? Very good, if they do. Now here’s a big indicator: are they mimicking you? Yes, literally. Our bodies naturally mimic the person we are speaking to when we are attracted to them, or in the very least comfortable with them. Opposite is true with people we don’t like.
- Preening: When we come into contact with someone we find attractive, or someone we want to impress, we do what is known as preening. We fix our hair, brush off our shirt (especially men), fix our clothes, and in general make ourselves look the very best we can. So if you spark a conversation by asking a question first, like “Do you know what the weather is supposed to do today?” pay attention to anything they are doing to make themselves look better.
That’s the basics of it. You’ll find out that the more you consciously pay attention to people’s body language, the more it will become second nature to you. The vast majority of our communication is done non-verbally, aka, body language. Better yet, the more you do it, the more accurate you will get, and the quicker you will be able to read people. Some of the clues I’ve outlined carry more “weight” than others, but they must still be taken in context of the environment. Don’t thin-slice your subject; remember that you’re looking at a big picture, not a small window. A good way of keeping track is to add 10 points to every positive body language read or “tell” that you got and subtract 10 for the opposite. Reach 100, and you’re good to go. With that, here are some tips and tricks.
Tips And Tricks:
- Want a quick gauge to see if they mimic you? Get in a conversation with them and consciously cross your arms. Or if their arms are already crossed, put your hand on your hip. Cross your legs if seated. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you consciously put your limb in a natural position and keep it there for at least a minute. Did they just do the same thing? Good. Now double check and change it again. What do they do? If they don’t change with you, take half the points away for the 10 you gave for the first time. Do it a 3rd if you have time. It’s fun to watch other people do this as well from a distance!
- If you are talking to them, move your face just a little closer. Not much, though; think as if you are trying to hear what they are saying. Do they move in as well?(+10) Do they stay put?(+0) Do they move back?(-10) Also do this with your proximity to them: take a step closer, but don’t invade their personal space. Do they step closer? (+10) Stay put? (+0) Or step back? (-10)
- If someone likes you, and they are confident or not shy, they may touch you. If they do, even something as subtle as a pat on the arm, then they are at least comfortable with you. We don’t touch people we don’t like, period. Want to test the waters? Touch them on the back of the arm, or touch their forearm as if to say “hey”. See how they react. If in the course of your encounter, they touch you back, then add 10 points. If they don’t return it, don’t add any. If they angle their body away from you or put distance between you afterwards, or exhibit any closed body language after the touch, subtract 10.
- This is one of my personal favorites to look for: Are there any obstacles or objects between you two? Do they move them out of the way? Did they put them there? This can be as small as playing with a salt shaker while on a date, and keeping it in directly in front of them, and between you. Or better, holding something like a notebook in front of their chest in crossed arms. The point is that they are placing a barrier, no matter how small, between you and them. This doesn’t mean disaster, after all, they may be insecure, or have a lot on their mind, but it is definitely something that we all do unconsciously, and is therefore very universal (yet subtle). Do they clear obstacles we you two are communicating? Move things out of the way? Clear a path to you? Good!
- Finally, here’s a flirty yet shy way to test the waters, which I find particularly fun: Look at them and wait for them to look at you. When they do, immediately look down, wait a second, then look back at them. Are they still looking at you? Good. Now smile and look away again, maybe to the side, and keep your gaze off of them for 3 seconds. Now look back at them. Are they still looking at you? If they aren’t, keep looking at them and see how long it takes for them to look back. Less than 3 seconds? Good. Now smile again, and look away for at least a minute. During this entire exchange, you should be checking them out for signals. check out their body language. Have they moved closer to you, even for something stupid like to fake going to a water fountain? Gooood..
I will add to this article as I think of more, and as always feel free to ask about anything. Happy hunting!