We can’t read minds but we can read body language…
Here on the Passionate Living blog we’re about getting as many tools into your love tool box as possible. For that reason I recently interviewed the fab Body Language Expert Sharon Jakubecy to find out what we should be looking for in terms of body talk when flirting, pursuing love, being in a long term relationship and dating.
You can read excerpts of this interview on Yahoo Shine and gURL but this is the only place to find our full conversation about the body language of love.
The Body Talk of Flirting.
Abiola: Let’s jump right in, Sharon. Many of us aim to ignite the passion of a special someone. I have reclaimed the word “bombshell” to mean a woman who loves herself and feels empowered. Are there specific body language tricks that you suggest women use when flirting?
Sharon: No trick trumps a woman knowing herself and accepting herself, flaws and all. Specifically when flirting, it’s important for a woman to enjoy herself, to laugh, and to smile. If you are enjoying yourself, laughing and smiling, your body language opens, you breathe more, and your eyes are softer and warmer. Allowing the front of your body to be long and wide; your chest is open and your abdomen is long shows a man that you feel safe AND vulnerable. It is a welcoming body language.
When your ribs and belly have space to move, it is easier to your body to breathe. If you are unconsciously holding or limiting your breath, the man you flirting with will hold his breath too and both of you will feel “on-guard” or uncomfortable.
Passion and attraction are experiences that require you to breathe. Think about when you were last with a man that turned you on. You were breathing more quickly and your whole body pulsed with that emotion. In order to ignite the fire of a man, feel your body moving with you breath, notice how your belly, your ribs, and even your back respond the air flowing in and out. This also encourages blood flow. Soften your gaze and look into his eyes with a little sparkle in yours.
Abiola: Okay, we are sparking. So this may sound dated but we all want to be able to show a potential love interest that we’re feeling him or her. How can a woman give a guy a “come hither” look from across the room?
Sharon: First, put your attention on your self, your body, and your breath. Let a little breath out of your mouth so you can soften any tension in your jaw, shoulders and abdomen. Think of a mischievous joke or a funny event that gets you in a humorous mood. That internal giggle puts you into lighter mindset.
When you make eye contact with a man, smile and stay with him for 5 seconds. This lets him know that it wasn’t an accidental meeting of your glances. When you smile, you are inviting him to you and that it is ok for him to approach you. Soften your jaw muscles so your teeth aren’t touching. A clenched jaw communicates frustration or resentment. Continue to face the hunk that you want to approach you. There is no need to play hard to get or play like you aren’t interested by looking away. Of course you don’t want to start a staring contest either.
Abiola: Internal giggle – got it. And for a guy trying to attract a woman?
Sharon: For a man, depending on the type of guy you are and the type of woman that you want, you either want to approach a woman as soon as you get the “green light” with a look and a smile or wait until she approaches you. I am a bit old-fashioned. If a man knows what he wants and is the type to go get it, then approach the woman. Watch her body language and facial expression for signs of pleasure and joy that say “yes” to you.
If you are a man who wants a woman to pursue you, then I recommend the same advice that I gave the ladies.
Are They Interested?
Abiola: How (besides the obvious) do we know that the person we’re flirting with is receptive?
Sharon: It is so helpful to get out of your head and into your bodies. When women think too much and over analyze, they can interfere with the signals their bodies are sending them. Women tend to be more feeling-oriented.
When you are flirting with a man, see you how YOU feel? Is there a warm feeling in your stomach? Are you naturally smiling and laughing? If both people are interested there is a chemistry that is palpable. You feel excited and energized. There is a quickening in your breath.
If your potential guy is touching you and attending to you, that makes you feel good, makes you feel sexy. How you feel is the biggest cue that you are flirting with a man who is interested in you.
Abiola: While we’re talking about this, what body language tells us (as women) that a guy is interested? And what are the signs that he’s not interested? This is a question that I get often from my passionistas.
Sharon: When a man is interested he orients his body towards you. He may lean in your direction and his eyes stay focused on you. While you are sharing, he may touch you. A gentle brush of your arm or a hand on your knee. To show you he is listening, he may tilt his head to one side. His breath will be calm and slow.
When a man is not interested, his body and gaze are pretty much doing the opposite of the above. His body is facing another direction or he is fidgeting. His eyes are focused somewhere else or looking around. His breath will be more erratic.
Most importantly, notice how you feel when you are chatting with him. There are parts of your brain that register body language, eye gaze, and body movements that inform how you feel about your conversation and connection to him. You may not be able to consciously recognize these subtle movements but you will feel happy, joyful, and energized or agitated, needy, or empty when you are sharing your world with him. Listen to those feelings in your own body and follow their guidance.
Abiola: Fantastic. And if you’re already in a relationship, what are the body language clues and cues that something is wrong?
Sharon: Once again, listen to the cues your body is giving you, for instance, a tight feeling in the stomach. Staying present to yourself, your feelings, and your breath will keep you grounded in what is healthy for you and what kind of relationship you want to be in.
Our eyes tell the truth. A lack of eye contact can be a sign of a declining connection with a man. There are “exit” behaviors like his body is facing away from you like he is trying to escape. If he is usually a very affection person and he is not touching you, then there may be challenges in the relationship that need to be addressed. It is so important to talk your man and to not come to any conclusions without communicating with him. He may just be having a hard day.
The Body Language Is In The Details.
Abiola: Everyone’s so skilled at the generalities of body language that we’d love to learn to read the subtleties, Sharon. What can we read in someone’s eyebrows, lips or hands?
Sharon: “Know Thyself” is a famous quote from the Greek philosopher Socrates. So many of us want to understand others but this is impossible until you first study and understand yourself. It is the same for body language, meeting men, flirting with men, and loving men.
In order to read the subtleties of a man’s body language, explore and discover what your body language is communicating. Out of context, a tilt of the head, a lifting of the chest, or a tightening of the fist doesn’t have meaning unless you know what it is in response to.
Begin to be curious about your own body language, facial expressions, and breathing patterns. Maybe even ask trusted friends what they notice. Study yourself in a mirror to see if you are conveying defensiveness or submissiveness and you don’t know it. From this awareness you can begin to let go of patterns of tension and closed off body language that is not getting you the relationship you want.
It is only when you are more aware of your own subtleties, like pursing your lips, locking your knees, squinting your eyes, wringing your hands, or holding your breath, that you begin to notice these cues in others and to develop compassion for them.
Your body and the bodies of the men you are attracted to and desire loving relationships with, are telling you about worries, stresses, fears, and frustrations. A clenched jaw may be a sign that a person is worried about their job. Tight lips may be revealing that as a child someone was told to keep quiet. A furrowed brow may be telling you that the man you are dating is figuring out if he is able to take care of you and the family he knows you want to have.
A lifting of the eyebrows can be a glimmer of hope that your guy feels when he gets to enjoy your company. A sigh of relief can express an openness and curiosity about what the future may bring. A lingering look and tilt down of the chin can say “hey let’s snuggle and see what happens next!”
Smiling and Body Language.
Abiola: What are the different types of smiles that people give?
Sharon: Once again, the most important factor to consider is how you feel. You can analyze a smile but that will get you up in your head thinking, and often thinking too much. As women, our most valuable asset is our body and how it feels. Your feelings in response to your smile or his smile will guide you in the direction of love.
Our bodies never lie. So if you or someone you are flirting with is faking a smile, the body will tell the truth. A fake smile has no warmth or joy. It looks forced. The sides of the lips move up but the eyes are flat and expressionless.
A flirty smile moves one side of the mouth and it is usually accompanied with a side glance of the eyes. Pure joy and excitation make your teeth shine with an open-mouth smile. In embarrassment, the lips are tight and you may even do a slight ducking movement with your head.
When a man is relaxed and loving your company, it looks like he is about to smile. His eyes are bright and his jaw is at ease.
Bombshell Body Language Tips.
Abiola: This is Bombshell Headquarters, Sharon. What non-verbal cues can a woman give to make her into a bombshell?
Sharon: When a woman has a healthy and happy inner dialogue, her body is open and fluid. Her eyes are warm, clear, and sparkling. Her breathing is easy and dynamic. She carries herself with at her full height and her chest and back or wide. She looks elegant and dignified.
You can kind of “fake it” for a bit, but in order to embody your outer bombshell, you have to think and feel like one on the inside. You have to be in a healthy relationship with yourself first. However, when you change your body, your brain changes too. Carrying yourself a little taller will encourage a more loving dialogue with yourself.
Here are some things you can try: Allow your body to breathe. Give your ribs, back, and your belly space to move with your breath by standing tall and allowing your shoulders to be wide and open. Women have curves and letting your hips sway encourages that bombshell walk. Soften your gaze so your eyes are smiling. Slow down… A hot bombshell entering the room takes her time. Enjoying yourself, laughing, and developing your happy healthy thoughts will make you look and feel sexy.
The Importance of Eye Contact.
Abiola: We love it! Let’s talk about eye contact.
Sharon: Practice, practice, practice. Most people are uncomfortable with eye contact and they often avoid it. It takes practice to be able to make eye contact and let someone see into your eyes. In the age of computers and smart phones, making eye contact isn’t practiced. However, it is essential to attraction, flirting, and connection.
So much is said with the eyes and the contact you make with a man. Here are some examples:
Making eye contact with a little smile in your eyes invites a man over to you and let’s him know that he can approach you. Lingering eye contact (5 seconds) clearly communicates your interest and a smile on top of that lets him know that you are happy that he is approaching you.
Some people may unconsciously squint when they are making eye contact. This unfortunately may make you appear judgmental or hardened.
Very wide eyes similar to a “deer in the headlights” look gives off the impression that you are fearful or afraid of a guy talking to you. With a furrowed brow and eyes cast down, you may look very sad and have difficulty making eye contact. I have to be harsh here. This can encourage other people to see right past you. Shifty eyes make others feel uncomfortable. If someone is not able to look into your eyes. it feels like they aren’t trustworthy.
Discover what you do with your eyes. What are your habits? Find out what you are comfortable with and who you are comfortable with when making eye contact. Also, find out who you are NOT comfortable with. Treat this as a journey and exploration. Make mistakes. Practice making eye contact and challenge yourself a little bit to look at a man for a slightly longer than you are used to. Play with it.
Also, if you are feeling these emotions that are cutting you off from others, please talk to trusted friends, family or maybe even seek the guidance of specialists or counselors.
Body Language and Lying.
Abiola: Let’s get down to the body language nitty gritty. How do we know if someone is lying? What clues should we look for?
Sharon: These guidelines aren’t a way of knowing 100%. Communication with a loved one or someone you are getting to know is vital to an authentic relationship flourishing. If it is someone new, your body will be giving you signs that you are uncomfortable. This can be a feeling of wanting to get away from the person.
There are also cues from them: Eye contact is huge when it comes to lying. If someone is lying their eyes show it (there are exceptions with certain antisocial behavior disorders). They cannot look you straight in the eye when they are telling you a lie.
When people are lying, telling a half-truth, or saying something that they are not comfortable with, their voice may crack, drop in volume, or they may clear their throat. They may rush their words as well and move around a lot without being able to sit or stand still. This twitchiness indicates that their body is under stress. This will also show up in their breathing patterns, which will be short and fast.
Abiola: What should we know about the Alexander Technique?
Sharon: The Alexander Technique helps you to develop a clear understanding of how you move in your own body and how you are designed to move with more flexibility, ease, and lightness. Throughout sessions, you receive hands-on guidance so you are more aware of your body and able to release unnecessary and harmful tension patterns like slouching and clenching. It is an Owner’s Manual for your body. You feel more comfortable in your own skin because you are no longer compressing your spine, rib cage, and lungs. It is easier to breathe so you feel less anxious or nervous.
Without all the old tension from a lifetime of hunching, you have a sense of centeredness and being grounded. Being centered physically allows you to feel centered emotionally. Letting go of stress and fear in your body allows the genuine YOU to show up and enjoy your body, your life, and the men that you love.
Fantastic. Bonus alert!
You should also check out:
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Vin Diesel Photo: Source.