Filling Your Space Confidently

Height is one of the most common responses I get when asking women what they look for in a man. However, what actually appeals to them isn't height but stature. A very tall man skulking about with rounded shoulders is very unappealing. A man of more modest height, who carries himself well, with his shoulders back and his chest out, is far more attractive. The difference is stature.

People of either sex who have good stature fill their space well, look more confident, and are more attractive as a result. To be recognised as a flirting prospect you have to be able to stand out from the crowd. To stand out, you need to be spatially dominant, which simply means filling the space around you. Filling your space helps you stand out from other competitors, whether you're flirting or working.

To achieve good posture and spatial dominance:

✓ Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

✓ Keep your arms away from your body.

✓ Keep your head up, your eyes looking forward, and your shoulders back.

If you had to choose a person to flirt with from the people shown in Figure 11-1 on posture alone, you'd probably pick the one on the right because he demonstrates greater balance and presence. The guy on the left is unbalanced, has his head dropped, and, with his arms folded, is taking up the minimum possible amount of space; he's trying to be invisible.

Beware of becoming too spatially dominant by having your legs wide apart and your arms behind your head; this posture can be interpreted as intimidating or arrogant.

Be aware that, while dominating your space is key to getting noticed, getting closer is a key aim if you want your flirtation to progress to a romantic level. To offer a subtle invitation for them to join you, you need to remove the barriers to your space, such as wine glasses, and leave the path clear. Notice how the woman in Figure 11-2 moves from playing coy to leaning in closer, to opening a path towards her with her arm in Figure 11-3.

Figure 11-2: Playing coy.
Figure 11-3: Creating an invitation to your space.

For more information on how to invite people into your space, see Chapter 10.

Mirroring Gestures

Mirroring is a way of bonding with another person, creating rapport, and being accepted. This behaviour's a hang over from our prehistoric ancestors, who used it as a way to integrate into larger groups. These days we scan for mirroring behaviour, that is, checking the other person's body language to see if they're moving in the same way or using similar gestures to us, to quickly assess if the other person's feelings toward us are positive or negative.

You're naturally inclined to mirror behaviour because this form of bonding with another person began in the womb when your body functions matched those of your mother.

You may find that consciously mirroring bigger movements helps you to build rapport. But be careful not to copy someone's every move. This behaviour is known as aping and when a person spots it, all your rapport building is worthless because it feels manipulative.

Mirroring is your body's non-verbal way of saying, 'Hey, look at me, I'm just like you; we have sooo much in common.' Mirroring isn't just confined to copying the bigger limb movements, postures, and positions such as crossing and uncrossing legs and arms; it also involves smaller, subtler movements such as facial gestures, hand positions, and head nods and tilts.

Mirroring also involves micro gestures, such as:

✓ Breathing patterns

✓ Blinking patterns

✓ Nostril flaring

✓ Eyebrow raising/flashing

✓ Pupil dilating

These micro gestures cannot easily be consciously imitated, and pupil dilating cannot be deliberately mirrored, so if this level of mirroring is evident, true rapport exists between you.

Positioning the body

Copying is the highest form of flattery, so how better to pay someone a compliment than by adopting their body position.

You can see in Figure 11-4 that almost perfect body mirroring is occurring. Their bodies are leaning at the same angle, they're sitting at the same angle to each other, their legs are angled and pointed opposite to each other, and they're even extending their arms across each other. This pair is enjoying great rapport. If you can effortlessly achieve body mirroring like this, you'll enjoy a great flirtation.

Figure 11-4: Body position mirroring.

Cross your leg and see if they follow. Wait a few minutes, then try something else. If they don't mirror your gesture, try mirroring theirs and then use another limb move.

iftNG/ If they're doing the opposite of mirroring and changing their position so fast you can't possibly keep up and look natural, you're moving too swiftly for them. Back off and build your rapport at a slower pace. They're not ready to make that level of connection yet.

Getting a limb in

As an extension, you can use mirroring as an opportunity to increase body language rapport. Mirroring a limb movement not only gets a limb into the other person's space, bringing you closer, it gives them an opportunity for intentional touching or a bit of accidental brushing against you. This mirroring strategy is perfect if you're not feeling brave enough to be the first one to touch. You can see in Figure 11-5 that where she has crossed her legs to point them towards him, mirroring his leg positioning pointing towards her, that her leg is well into his space, so if he wants to move he's going to have to brush against her. You can also see that she's mirrored his position with subtle changes, so it doesn't come across as aping his exact position.

Mirroring hands placed along the back of a seat you're both sharing, or mirroring a leg crossed across the path of your intended, work equally well in achieving intentional or accidental touching.

Figure 11-5: Getting a limb in.

Mirroring touch

Mirroring their touching is an excellent way to reassure the other person that their touch has been well received and also to copy their action, so building your rapport and level of attraction for each other.

Use your fingertips and skim, rather than press or grab, the other person.

The safest places to return a touch are:

✓ Shoulder

You can mirror and accentuate the touch by placing your hand on them (if they've touched the front of you), as in Figure 11-6.

Figure 11-6: Mirroring touching.

Mirroring micro gestures

The information here on micro gestures can help you to see what impact the flirting signals you're giving off are having on the other person.

Blinkin' marvellous

Stewart and Liz were on a course together. They'd met for the first time that day and were getting on famously. Liz really fancied Stewart, but she couldn't tell if he was just being friendly or something more. Over lunch Stewart gave her a blink he hadn't done before. He smiled and raised his shoulders whilst squeezing his eyes shut, as if he was giving her a virtual hug. Liz loved his little blinking gesture and copied it. These little blinks continued, and she noticed that he'd started to copy the little twist to her mouth. She was sure now that this mirroring was more than just coincidence.

Liz and Stewart have been together ever since, and the squeezy blink remains their secret signal to each other if they're in a crowd or if one of them needs a bit of reassurance.

When you're making eye contact during conversation, blinking is hard to miss. To check for rapport, give them a slightly slower blink than usual and see if they respond.

Dilated pupils

People have no control over dilating their pupils, so if you spot this sign in someone, they genuinely fancy you.

Bear in mind that the amount of light in the room has a big impact on the dilation of the pupils, for example if it's very bright, the pupils contract to protect the eye from the harshness, or if it's very dark, the pupils dilate to enable the best vision. Therefore, although dilated pupils are a good sign that someone is attracted to you, you should also check out the lighting in the room to see if that's influencing the situation.

Rapid blinking

Of course, dilated pupils aren't the only way the eyes can reveal interest. If someone looks at you and likes what they see, they tend to blink more - hence the term 'batting your eyelashes'. The brain associates rapid blinking with finding someone sexually attractive, so the more you find yourself blinking at them, the more attracted you can feel towards them.

Just because rapid blinking means they like what they see, don't interpret slow blinking as a lack of interest. If they're completely fascinated or absorbed by you, they may blink very little, as they won't want to miss a thing.

Increase the blink rate of the person you're talking to by blinking more often. If they like you, their blinking synchronises with yours, which in turn makes you feel more attracted to each other as a result of the increased rapport.

Try a discreet wink with a sexy smile. This gesture's great for bonding because it implies the two of you are closer to each other than to the other people around you.

There's more on eye contact in Chapter 10.

Eyebrow raising/flashing

People flash their eyebrows far more than they realise. However, if you consciously try to do it, you'll find yourself pulling a wonderful facial contortion with your brows raising much higher than they would do naturally, and achieving more a look of great surprise.

People raise or flash their eyebrows:

✓ In recognition: Usually a split second, up-down of the eyebrows.

✓ In surprise: More exaggerated movements than in recognition. The eyebrows are pulled up the forehead, causing the brow to wrinkle and it can last longer than a raise of the eyebrows in recognition, depending on how surprised they are.

✓ In question: Think Roger Moore and his amazing single-brow raise, or two if your eyebrows don't work independently. This raise is often accompanied with a forward head tilt and shows that a person isn't sure, is doubtful, or is questioning of you or something you've said.


Where you breathe from affects the frequency of your breathing patterns. For example, some people breathe from their stomach or diaphragm, giving them long, deep breaths that can be easier to control; you can spot someone doing this if their stomach goes in and out as they breathe. However, if they breathe from their chest, the chest rises and falls as they do so.

If a person is relaxed, their breathing pattern is slow and deep. If anxious or excited, it's more rapid and comes from higher up in the chest. Feeling passionate can literally make you feel lightheaded because the faster breathing brings about too many breaths and creates a mild hyperventilation situation.

Watch for how and from where the other person breathes. Matching or pacing the person's breathing pattern is a powerful way of building rapport. People who breathe at the same rate are usually in synch with each other. For example, when making love, breathing normally is matched breath for breath. People sitting next to each other to watch a film often breathe in synch with each other, especially if the movie is particularly dramatic or eerie.

Nostril flaring

You can clearly see nostril flaring either when someone is afraid (as a primitive way of improving our sense of nearby attackers or of imminent danger) or as a sign of sexual arousal. Nostril flaring is a throw back to the days when we would use our chemical senses to find the best mate. When you see it in someone, they're literally sniffing you out!

Continue reading here: Reading Body Language

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