Flirting and Body Language
By: L. Lee Scott
Understanding flirting and body language is key to a successful romantic relationship. In fact, the ability to interpret body language can be vital to almost every relationship in your life, from those with business colleagues and customers to friends and family. You also want to make sure that your body is saying what your words are, so that you're not misunderstood or mistrusted.
How important is interpreting body language?
It's very important to be able to understand body language since it is such a major component of communication. Body language scholars agree that at least half of the information you communicate during a conversation is transmitted through your body language. As such, correctly understanding body language is clearly an important part of the art of conversation. If you want to know what someone is really saying to you, look harder than you listen.
Let me hear your body talk: body language and flirting
Body language begins with posture. Carry yourself confidently, allow yourself to be open and appear interested in other people; such confidence means that the person to whom you are speaking is more likely to be interested in you. That posture, along with a warm smile and good eye contact, makes a great first impression. If you come across positively, you're more likely to have a chance to get to know the one you want to flirt with.
Be sure not to convey the very opposite impression. If you stand against a wall or stay at the bar, you'll probably be seen as unapproachable. If your face is anxious, or if you make no eye contact, you'll look like you want to be somewhere else. Fidgeting makes you appear bored or restless. So stand up straight and look around to see who else is looking around.
The eyes have it: interpreting the gaze
Every body language expert stresses eye contact, but you need to consider what kind of eye contact you use, or you see. When a woman's eyes meet a man's, then look quickly away, followed by a smile that she lets him see, he's likely to find it very attractive. A look over your shoulder as you walk past him, again with a sincere smile, is also attractive and flirty.
When men use their eyes for flirting and body language, they need to be careful not to stare for too long. Locking gazes with a stranger across a crowded room is less likely to be perceived as romantic than as challenging or even creepy. Keep the glances brief and warm, and slowly work your way across the room toward the object of your interest. The time for the long stare is once you've made contact and are sitting together. Then long gazes with brief touches can say more good things than words.
You're in my space: boundaries and touching
Everyone has an invisible boundary of sorts that surround them. It is her personal space, one that she wants strangers to keep out of. For most Americans, it's about 3 feet in diameter. Friends can come in about 1 foot farther, but only family and significant others can come closer than that. So it may seem surprising that entering someone's personal space is considered flirtatious body language that says you want to get closer.
It's not hard to interpret the body language of the one being approached. If he pulls away, that's a clear message to back off. If he leans toward you, he's saying move in, sit down and let's talk. Once you're sitting at the table, use the body language of the eyes, the sincere smile and the occasional, almost accidental touch. Brush his jacket as you reach for the glass the waitress is passing, or touch her hand lightly to make a point. Now you're flirting with body language.
If you find yourselves leaning toward each other as you talk and making those small touches more frequently, you're both flirting. If you watch two people in this situation, you may notice that their movements mirror each other's, and that they modulate their voice volume to match. This kind of mirroring is also flirting with body language.
What's the flirting for?
People flirt for different reasons. Some men are trying to hook up for an evening, some women just enjoy flirting, but some people are trying to find that special someone. Flirting, body language and all, is the first step. Take it slow if you're looking for a real relationship.
You don't have to flirt back with someone who strikes you as pushy or scary. Just pull away and start talking with someone else.
Flirting and body language play a huge role in the beginning of relationships. The ability to interpret that body language correctly will help that relationship grow. And even a relationship of many years' standing can be re-energized with a little creative flirting.