Forget conversation, pickup lines, and great texting skills: Body language is the unsung hero of the dating game.
“Body language isn’t as much about the reality of what you’re doing, it’s about the perceived value of your actions,” says Chris Ulrich, senior instructor at the Body Language Institute. Basically, it doesn’t matter how into someone you are if you’re giving off the wrong signals. He just won’t get it.
Want to know how to send the right message? Read on.
1. Smile. You’ve heard this one before, but there’s more nuance to this than just pasting on a grin. “Let’s say you meet someone you’re interested in. When you shake hands, hear his name, and greet him, that’s when you really smile,” says Ulrich. It will hint that the smile is especially for him. That’s not to say you should pull a Wednesday Addams for the rest of the interaction, but make sure your nerves don’t wipe your smile off your face when you two meet.
2. Uncross those arms. It’s kind of unfair that crossed appendages give off an icy vibe, considering thatresearch suggests that particular position might have some benefits. “Science says you’re more likely to work through a difficult problem with your arms crossed,” says Ulrich. Still, when it comes to attraction, keep them unentangled. “Crossed arms can make you seem closed off or disinterested. You’re subconsciously creating a barrier that makes you not as approachable as you want to be,” says Ulrich.
3. Follow the Belly Button Rule. Make sure your belly button’s facing the person you’re attracted to. “Your belly button usually faces the person you most like, admire, or trust,” says Ulrich. This stands even when your head is turned in another direction! Although you usually naturally do this, it’s a good thing to keep in mind if you’re looking at or talking to someone who isn’t straight in front of you. Just turn your body to point at him a bit more!
4. Touch him a bit. “Touch is really important for dating. We know that when people touch in the context of intimacy, their heart rates increase. It might be too much for a first date, but it’s great for a second,” says Ulrich. He advises briefly, gently touching the area between a guy’s mid-arm and wrist around five times per 15 minutes of conversation. Of course, you don’t need to be that regimented about it! Go for what you’re comfortable with.
5. Add some eye contact. “If we’re in the business world and I’m looking at you 80 percent of the time, that can be pretty intense and intimidating. But if it’s personal and there’s some intimacy, heightened eye contact is an indicator of attraction,” says Ulrich. You can combine this one with occasional touch to really put him under your spell. And if you want to go the extra mile, glance at his lips every so often.
Related: 6 Things Men Never Notice During Sex
6. Stand in the middle of the pack. So, you’re at the bar with your friends but on the outskirts of the group? Try to subtly make your way to the middle instead. “It’s a way of framing yourself. It literally comes across like you’re center of attention,” says Ulrich. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the middle of a scene as the focus, says Ulrich, so make the most of it.
7. Get a warm drink. So this isn’t exactly body language, but it’s still a cool way to stay on top of your game. “There’s this phenomenon called embodied cognition. Your mental state affects your reality and actions,” says Ulrich. The reason the temperature of your drink matters is because research showspeople who hold cold things can feel more self-involved. “If you’re holding a warm drink, or holding a wine glass by its stem, you’re other-focused. If you’re holding a cold drink, you might lose some of the awareness of looking around and seeing who you can connect with,” says Ulrich.
8. Check that posture. No judgment, because we all do it, but you’ve officially got to quit looking hunched over that phone! “Amy Cuddy did a TED Talk about her research, which shows that if you’re bent over, your cortisol levels increase and your testosterone levels decrease,” says Ulrich. Cortisol is your stress hormone, and testosterone helps with bravado—a willingness to put yourself out there. Cuddy recommends adopting “power poses” before something important, like standing with your hands on your hips and feet more than six inches apart. Cuddy’s research found that doing so can boost your testosterone and ease your stress. Does that mean you should stand outside of the bar, power posing before you stroll in? Maybe not. But if you have what you think might be the most important date of your life, a quick power pose before you leave your place couldn’t hurt.
For more tips on how to attract an awesome, guy, check out this video on how to attract a guy who’s truly quality.
By Zahra Barnes
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