Signs Of Interest

The Body Language Project

Body Language Mastery

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Women, keep that geek away! Get that guy in the red shirt to come over here and talk. Send each man an unspoken but unmistakable message.

Men, don't get shot down because you approached a woman who is not interested in you. Pay attention to what she's saying without words.

Here are signs of interest sent from across the room. Most are applicable to both sexes, although a few apply only to women. Those are indicated by italics. The sequence of the list approximates the courtship sequence.

I'M INTERESTED Sidelong glance (s) Looks at you a few times Holds your gaze briefly Downcast eyes, then away Posture changes to alert Preens, adjusts hair, attire Turns body toward you Tilts head

Narrows eyes slightly Twists, tugs at ring Smiles

Matches your posture

DON'T BOTHER ME Never sneaks a peek Fleeting eye contact Looks away quickly Looks away, eyes level Posture unchanged Does no preening Turns body away Head remains vertical Eyes remain normal Shows ring-back of hand Neutral, polite face Posture unchanged

Eyes sparkle Licks her lips Moves hand to her hip Thrusts breasts

Normal or dull eyes Keeps mouth closed Posture unchanged Sags to de-emphasize breasts

FROM ACROSS THE ROOM In the first photo, she looks at the man she wants with a slight smile on her face. Notice that her wine glass is not directly in front of her as a barrier. Also notice that her empty hand is not gripping her knee, because that indicates getting hold of herself.

In the second photo, she has looked at him again. She has removed her glasses (a barrier) and has barely tilted her head. Her smile is slightly bigger.

In the third photo, she has put her glass and her glasses down. Her posture has shifted from relaxed to erect and ready. She has turned so that her breasts face the man directly. Notice the open hand on her lap and uncrossed legs with feet flat on the floor—signs of openness and readiness. Finally, notice she is preening by checking her ear ring. That action also flashes her palm at the man.

SIDELONG GLANCE

Both men and women announce their interest by sneaking a peek. It begins with a look out of the corner of their eyes. The next time they look at you, they turn their head in your direction ever so slightly. The first sidelong glance is to see if you're worth looking at again. The second glance is to verify what they saw out of the corner of their eyes. When they look at you again, they are deciding if you are worth talking with. LOOKS AT YOU A FEW TIMES

Both sexes follow sidelong glances by looking directly at the person a few times, but only for the socially appropriate length of time. They are verifying what they saw when sneaking a peek. The more often they look, the greater the interest. As with sidelong glances, they are still evaluating you. HOLDS YOUR GAZE BRIEFLY

The person stares at you until you look at them, then they hold your gaze for longer than is socially appropriate. The way a woman breaks off this type of eye contact is significant. DOWNCAST EYES

Women, if you are interested, look down before looking away. This your first act of submission and the first sign of reassurance that he will not be hurt if he comes over and talks with you.

Men, when you are the object of interest, after she has held your gaze long enough, give her a slight nod and a slight smile to acknowledge her existence then look away.

After breaking off, if the other person preens or changes posture to erect and ready, you have his, or her, interest. Shortly afterwards, if the person turns so the front of their body faces you when they are not looking in your direction, that's strong interest.

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DOWNCAST EYES After eye contact has been sustained for slightly longer than is socially appropriate, when the female looks down before she looks away, it is a solid sign of interest.

This is a universal body language signal Every culture, on every continent, features downcast female eyes as an early indicator of interest. It is one of the most reliable single gestures.

POSTURE CHANGES TO ERECT

When anyone becomes interested, they shift from casual and relaxed, to energized and erect, even when seated. This movement is among the most reliable single gestures. Although it's a slight change, you will notice if you are paying attention. PREENING

After noticing someone attractive, we all adjust ourselves. Some common gestures: men fix their ties, women fluff their hair. Both sexes check their jewelry to be certain it is properly displayed. Quite reliable when following initial sustained eye-contact. TILTS HEAD

When someone looks at you, holds your gaze briefly, then tilts their head, it means they are interested as well as seriously considering you. How ever, if a tilted head is not preceded by other signs of interest, it usually signifies curiosity. A tilted head during conversation is explained shortly.

TURNS BODY TOWARD YOU The interested person, turns toward you but does not look in your direction. This is a subconscious sexual display. The woman shows off her breasts. The man shows off his chest and shoulders, the source of his physical power, as well presenting his genitals. Powerfully reliable when following sustained eye contact and a bit of preening. Moves Hand To Her Hip Usually happens after she has turned her body to face you and the two of you have exchanged signs of interest. When she puts her hand on her hip, she is saying, "Well, are you man enough to come over here?" Can also be the opening move in a carefully orchestrated game ofRapo. Thrusts Breasts Frills her shoulders back slightly so that her breasts are more noticeable. Often precedes or follows hand-to-hip gesture. She Is saying, "Well, what do think of me?" Can also be beginning ofRapo game.

EYES NARROW SLIGHTLY

The interested person's eyes narrow slightly when looking at you. This sharpens focus and allows them to examine you carefully. Can happen anytime after they are done sneaking a peek at you. Reliable only when associated with other signs of interest. Could indicate poor vision rather than interest! TUGS, TWISTS AT RING

Anyone wearing a ring signifying commitment sometimes will subconsciously pull or twist the ring if they become interested in you. They are not signaling you. They are making a symbolic attempt to lay aside the commitment while they court you. SMILES

From across the room, any smile is good, a definite sign of interest. The best smile is not a big, broad, friendly smile even though that's a great beginning. The smile you want to see is a sensual one. The person's eyes are narrowed and their mouth is only slightly open so their teeth are only partially seen. Hard to miss! Extremely reliable when following any other signs of interest. MATCHES YOUR POSTURE

People in the same emotional place, stand or sit in about the same posture. When someone changes posture to match yours, it probably means they are interested. A posture change usually happens after several signs of interest have been exchanged, but it can happen at any time. Reliable only when following other signs of interest. EYES SPARKLE

Everyone's eyes sparkle when they are interested and excited. But, from across the room it is somewhat hard to notice. However, if you force yourself to focus on the other person's eyes, you can see this striking change as it takes place, even at a distance.

The shift usually takes place just after the person moves from relaxed to erect and ready. Extremely reliable no matter how difficult it is to notice. LICKS HER LIPS

Sometimes done while she's preening. But usually happens after a sustained exchange of signals. It is a subconscious anticipation of your lips meeting. As with most other signs, reliable only when following other signals. Always used by Rapo players during each and every encounter. CLUSTERS OF GESTURES

Believe only half of what you see, and none of what you hear, quoted at the beginning of this chapter is exactly right when you are trying to see what someone is nonverbally saying.

Study the picture in the first chapter titled Major Cluster Of Gestures. One gesture is not a message. One posture shift is not a message. One movement is not a message. Look for three or more signs of interest that appear in a cluster.

Men, for example, at a wedding reception, when your eyes first meet, she holds your gaze, narrows her eyes, shifts to a readiness posture, smiles, then looks down to break off eye contact. "Great!" is what you think. Whoa! Keep your pants on! Two clusters are better than one.

Here's what really happened. She's as vain as I am, so she doesn't wear her glasses. She thinks, "Damn! Is that obnoxious Hymen Ross?" as she squints slightly to see more clearly. Not sure, she gets ready to rush for the bathroom before he corners her, then feels guilty, gives a stiff smile and looks down, slightly ashamed.

One cluster of gestures cannot be relied on. To be certain of her interest, wait until you see another cluster. However, when she first shows interest, re ciprocate with a cluster of your own. Shift your posture to erect, slightly narrow your eyes, then, after you look away, adjust your tie.

After a few minutes walk toward the group of people she is nearest to as if you are going to join them. With your peripheral vision, notice her body language as you get closer to her. She may relax when she realizes you're not Hymen Ross and then be awkward with embarrassment after realizing how vanity made her act like a fool.

No matter what happens as you approach the group, don't go over to her. Situate yourself where you can make further eye contact. Look in her direction now and then. Send another cluster of gestures. If she doesn't reciprocate, move on. PRACTICE MAKES YOU AWARE

No matter where you are, the mall, a party, at the office, in a bar, make it a habit to study couples and small mixed groups. Become aware of the exchange of signals. Don't listen to words! Study what and how she's communicating and how he's responding.

Play a game with yourself or with a companion. Is the brunette in the blue dress interested in the guy wearing the Raiders cap? When he makes his move, figure out how she used her postures and gestures to get him to come over and talk with her.

Watch people until you're able to tell: (a) if he's interested in the woman across the room or the one he's talking with (b) how does she let him know he's supposed to come over and talk with her (c) how does she, or he, nonverbally announce the conversation is over?

Body Language Anecdote-Increase Your Awareness Twenty some years ago, in the midst of learning all about body language, I had a wonderful friend who was tall, skinny, extremely flat chested, pale and very plain looking. Beyond that, she loved dressing in second-hand store outfits that made her look even more gawky. But, at any party we both attended, guys who knew we were friends would corner me and want an introduction. The range extended from buttoned down, ex-corporate associates, to studly volleyball buddies and even a few undercover cop acquaintances!

Nancy was always somewhat surprised at her ability to attract men. One afternoon by the pool I offered to explain body language fundamentals so she could improve her batting average. Her reply was typical Nancy, "I don't want to know what I'm doing, 'cause I'll start analyzing and screw up whatever I'm doing right. Besides, that body language stuff is horseshit."

I never got to tell her, so I'll tell you what I observed about her unique ability to captivate. At every gathering she would begin to work her spell by being genuinely friendly with all of the women first.

She'd circulate, chatting and gossiping, joking and poking fun at sacred cows as she expounded her outrageous views on sex, men and politics. The effect-she neutralized most cattiness and competitiveness that could have been created later.

Fascinated, men watched her as she flowed from one end of the party to the other. What they saw was a woman who loved being female. Beyond that irresistible fundamental, they saw a woman who unashamedly enjoyed being sensual, and someone who relished being looked at with desire. But most of all, everyone, including me, saw a human being who loved being alive.

How did she communicate all that without a word? Body language.

In the beginning, when she charmed the women, Nancy used the same sexual signals and gestures an effeminate man would use. In short, when she was talking with an individual woman, she was also flirting with her.

But no matter which gender she was with, Nancy's most obvious body language was her energetic, erect and ready posture. As she chatted with one person, then another her head would tilt from one side, then to the other. Nancy touched anyone she was talking with for any reason as often as possible. And, she would smile the biggest smile and laugh the heartiest laugh over even the smallest incident.

When talking with just about everyone, her posture was always open. One hand would often be resting on her hip as the other hand held her drink low at her side. But, most of all, she made powerfully direct eye contact with everyone she looked at, even from afar. If that person was an interesting man, she'd smile and look down, then turn away with what we'd all describe as a little girl's shyness. Then almost immediately, she'd regain her womanliness and go back to her jubilant circulating.

If you know an average looking woman like Nancy who's skillful at attracting men, study her gestures and postures. Sooner or later, you'll realize how she does it. You can ask her, but I sincerely doubt if she can explain. It's something she learned intuitively as she was growing up by observing women in her life who were experts. IN SUMMARY

Frequency of eye contact, the more the better. Amount of time he, or she, holds your gaze, the longer the better. How she breaks off eye contact, down before away is great! Shine of the eyes, the brighter the better. Direction of body, toward you, good. Overall posture, erect and alert are good. Tilt of head, vertical is bad. Where the drink is held, high as a barrier is bad. Hand activity, clenched, squeezing or pinching is bad but open, caressing or stroking is great.

AVOIDFRUSTRATIONAND ANGER

Please take a moment and read the Preface if you skipped it. Because, in it I presented the premise that underlies the entire book. Without reading the Preface, you may not enjoy, or learn, what is needed from What Is Courtship? the next chapter.

Also, please take a few seconds to read Darwin's quote at the beginning of the next chapter.

In the most distinct classes of the animal kingdom, with mammals, birds, reptiles fishes, insects, and even crustaceans, the difference between the sexes follow almost exactly the same rules; the males are always the wooers.

CHARLES DARWIN, The Descent of Man, 1871

What Is Courtship?

Courtship is practiced by all species in which the male is a beggar, that is, the female does not instinctively and actively seek copulation. Each species has a ritual that must be followed carefully. The rituals involve displays of dominance and aggressiveness on the part of the male, reluctance and sub-rnissiveness on the part of the female.

Adult gorillas take five hours to complete an intricate dance of gestures and branch waving. That's four hours longer than it takes to conduct the typical singles' bar ritual. IT'S LOTS OF THINGS

Courtship is subtle. Courtship is demonstrating good intentions. Courtship is signaling. Courtship is nonverbal. Courtship is calming fears. Courtship is attraction, supplication, stimulation, fascination, exhilaration, inspiration, titillation, but most of all, courtship is—PERSUASION.

In the animal world, the function of courtship is to persuade the female to let the male mount and penetrate her. Contrary to what many people want to believe, we humans cally exact, we are:

PHYLUM

CLASS

ORDER

FAMILY

GENUS

SPECIES

are animals. To be scientifi-

CHORDATA VERTEBRATE MAMMAL PRIMATE HOMO SAPIENS.

SELECTIVE FOR AGGRESSIVE

Females of every single species of mammal, except one, refuse to mate with non-aggressive males. That species is our own, homo sapiens. However, the aberration is rare. Females who will only mate with passive males cannot exist in nature any more than passive males can. Both are unnatural. NOTE 2

Men, you must be aggressive to get things underway. Then you have to slow down and court her. Just be your silly old self and have fun with her until she is persuaded. How do you know that you are persuading her? Be aware of her body language. A MINI-SCENARIO OF COURTSHIP

You approach her, an act of aggression. She smiles, an act of reassurance. You smile back, an act of reassurance. You say or do something aggressive. In response, she says or does something submissive, aggressive or reassuring. The ball's in your court.

If she's aggressive it may be a test of your courage and worth, or she could be frightened and need to be reassured you intend no harm. Then again, she may want you to drop dead. Reluctance requires a bit more aggression. How much? Depends. Read on.

If she's submissive or has reassured you, don't respond with aggression. It's been established, at least for the moment, you're the dominant one. Show you won't hurt or embarrass her by being briefly submissive, a shy smile, a bit of boyish awkwardness.

Then be aggressive.

How aggressive? Depends. On what? Your ability to determine what's needed to be accepted as dominant without chasing her away.

Here's a simple act of aggression to test her level of interest. Briefly lean into her personal space under any pretense then back out. This is known as an "advance." If she leans away, you're not welcome, at least not yet. But if she holds her ground, further advances may soon be welcome. AN EXPERT'S PERSPECTIVE

In an interview with Bottom Line, Diane Acker-man, Ph.D., naturalist and author of A Natural History of Love answered these questions:

What are the basic conflicts that produce differences between men and women?

Many of them stem from competing biological agendas that have been passed along from earliest time. Men have always been driven to impregnate as many women as possible in order to ensure the existence of future generations.

A woman's investment in reproduction has always been far more demanding. Pregnancy makes her physically vulnerable, and once she gives birth, she makes great sacrifices to ensure the survival of her child and herself. She also expects one man to stick by her, helping at least until the baby is born and safely on its feet

To apply this to contemporary life, men are naturally inclined to avoid being tied down, whereas women are more likely to think about relationships in terms of always, forever and commitment.

Why haven't some of these attitudes changed as society has changed?

Relative to human history, civilization hap pened in the blink of an eye. Men and women today may be wearing suits and carrying briefcases, but we still respond to the same instincts and concerns that we developed over eons of time. Though our instincts have not changed, our expectations have.

To make matters even more complicated, we are constantly bombarded by images of perfect relationships in movies, on TV and in advertisements. Therefore, we measure ourselves against an impossible criteria.

There is much more information on how our animal nature influences us during courtship. However, that topic does not belong here. It will distract us. For those interested, in natural sex, see NOTE 3 in the Appendix.

The next stage is to open courtship negotiations (persuade her) by following the Commandments Of Meeting.

NOTE 2

There are passive men and there are women who seek them. They are part of the courtship and dating universe. See ABNORMAL HAPPENS in the Appendix to find out why some people are not capable of taking part in a normal, natural man-woman relationship.

NOTE 3

Once we understand how much of our behavior is /¡of subject to our will power, it is far easier to relax and enjoy the timeless, wonderful rituals of courtship. See SEX IS NUMBER FOUR in the Appendix.

Once negotiations begin it's only a matter of time before castle walls crumble or maidenhead breached.

CHURCHILL

Commandments Of Meeting

As stated in the Preface, on most occasions, the man must do something to get things started. So, men, here are the facts. Nearly every woman you approach wants the same things.

SEVEN THINGS WOMEN WANT

(1) Don't be pushy, I'm not good at telling people to buzz off.

(2) Don't be obvious, although I may be interested, I don't want everyone to know.

(3) Even if this is fun and exciting, I may be a bit nervous.

(4) Don't show you're nervous, it makes me nervous. Be casual, friendly and relaxed. It'll help me stay that way.

(5) Keep the conversation superficial, further into it, leave a few openings for me to tactfully indicate if I want to continue or not.

(6) Later on, when I'm more sure of myself, don't ask for too much. Give me room to maneuver to save face, mine and yours.

(7) If I turn you down, don't act like a jerk because you started this.

ON NOT BEING DIRECT

Everyone communicates obliquely during the early stages of courtship. If you're straightforward it throws off the other person's timing as well as disorienting her, or him, as well as making the person feel you're not playing by the rules. Forget "communication skills" you learned from your marriage counselor or therapist. They are completely ineffective in the single world.

At a minimum, direct talk makes others think you're out of it, or crazy. After a few dates, when you're comfortable with each other, you can gradually start being more to the point, but in the beginning, indirect exchange of information is the only way to proceed.

Many single people are not direct for two reasons: (1) it protects them from the humiliation of rejection if the other person isn't interested and, (2) indirectness makes it possible to use the other person without risk of involvement.

Everyone is a suspected game player. Everyone is trying to protect himself or herself. Hey, too bad, that's how it really is. I didn't make the rule everybody's playing by—All's fair in love and war. COURTSHIP BY CONVERSATION

We humans conduct courtship by talking. The complex but mandatory, ritualistic displays of dominance and submission, aggression, reluctance and reassurance all take place during conversation. Although the words you choose are important, even critical, most communicating is done with facial expression, tone of voice, posture and the manner of touching. SAFETY FIRST

Men, as the aggressor, the first thing you must do is deliver an opening line that won't scare her away and won't make her think you're a playboy or a bumpkin. The next thing you have to do is sustain the conversation for a few minutes so that she can realize you are first of all safe, next, interesting and finally, attractive.

All women are afraid that any man who approaches them, including you, may be physically dangerous as well as socially or emotionally dangerous.

Physical Danger. She thinks you could he The Slasher or a Dirty Old Man trying to cop a feel. Convince her you're safe by keeping your distance, physically. Absolutely do not touch her except to shake hands. Your body language must not say lust, fear-of-rejection, impatience, or lack-of-confidence. During the entire conversation, even if you're petrified, you must appear to be friendly, relaxed and casual so that she has time to realize you are safe.

Social Danger. The woman you approach does not want everyone in the room to realize you are coming on to her. Why? If after talking with her for a few minutes, you decide she's not that interesting and walk away, everyone will know. Nobody wants to be humiliated in public. To save face, do not be obvious or up front. Your words as well as your body language must say, "I'm relaxed. We're just having a friendly, casual chat."

Emotional Danger. A woman is afraid you might be able to sexually use her, then discard her. Once she realizes you are not physically or socially dangerous, this is her biggest fear. Communicate nonverbally that you are sincere as well as trustworthy and not a playboy. This is done with postures, gestures, tone of voice and eye contact as explained. For the courtship to proceed, you must reassure her that you are not emotionally dangerous as the need arises. How will you know when? By paying close attention to her body language.

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