Your Body Language May Be Limiting Your Chances At Love
You can’t stop thinking about him. In your mind, he’s the perfect guy. You’ve stared at for months at work. He has the sweetest smile and everyone loves him. One day, he finally visits your department! And, when is walking by…you freeze and cross your arms.
Then you see him walk into the gym! He looks so good in that tank top. As he walks by you later, he tries to make eye contact, but you’re staring into your phone with headphones on and don’t even notice him.
So, what’s the end of this amazing romance story? He dates someone else and thinks you aren’t interested in him.
When I was dateless, I couldn’t figure out why finding love was so hard! Inside of my head, I was confident, attractive, open, and fun.
The problem is that had you asked those around me what I was like, the answers would have been closer to thinking I was insecure, unattractive, closed off, and boring.
My social reality unfolded not based on how I felt inside, but based on how I came across. And, your social reality is the same way.
You are how you come across.
I first became aware of this in 2010, after studying body language. For the first time ever, it hit me that maybe the messages others were receiving were different than the message I was intending to send out. And, I realized that even if I wasn’t purposely sending a message out, people were nonetheless getting a message no matter what.
I saw this in action as a teacher that same time period. A student came up and said “you always look so angry sitting at your desk.” The funny thing was that I was never angry. I was mainly just focused and occasionally zoning out while working at my computer.
But, coming across as angry was the message they got, and that is all that mattered for social interaction.
So, you may think you’re just sitting in the corner at the bar quietly. But people think you’re angry and unapproachable. You may even be staring at your phone just passing the time until someone talks to you, but the people thinking about talking to you think you’re busy (and probably assume you’re talking to a significant other).
You’re just enjoying your favorite music with your headphones in all day, but those cute guys think it means you don’t want to be bothered.
You may think you’re just being contemplative, but everyone else sees a “resting bitch face.”
You may cross your arms and look away when your crush walks by because you’re so nervous, but he thinks you can’t stand him.
Let me explain why all of this matters in a romantic context, especially for women.
Believe it or not, women actually initiate interactions with most guys. Now, by “initiate” I don’t mean that they walk up and open the conversation. They initiate by giving subtle cues that they are open to being approached.
These cues can include smiling, crossing their legs toward the guy, playing with their hair, and leaning into him. These cues tell a guy “you have a green light! Now get to work approaching me!”
However, men can get confused easily, in part because many men are reluctant to bother women (this is even more so in the #metoo era).
Also, it’s because women send out a lot of “red light” cues, such as being quiet, looking away, staring at their phones, having headphones in, not smiling, and freezing when approached. Many of these actions may not even be intended to send out a “red light” cue, but guys interpret them that way.
You may say “oh come on! Guys just need to get the hint and talk to me!” And, while we agree this is true, a lot of guys are bad at reading social cues, and many guys are deathly afraid of talking to a random woman. So, unless you give them a very large green light, they won’t approach.
So, think about how others, particularly guys, see you. Do you come across as available and open to interaction, or do you come across as the human equivalent of a brick wall?
One way to do this is when you’re trying to meet someone, or around someone you really like, focus on becoming more open in your body language. This includes purposely smiling, leaning toward them, and even avoiding crossing your arms. It also may involve pulling out your headphones or putting your phone down more often when out in public.
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