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Body Language Decoded

Did you know that the way you stand, sit, wave your hands, roll your eyes, cross your legs or use your body all send out stronger signals than the words you speak? Your body language reveals your deepest feelings and emotions. They disclose hidden thoughts and expose secret attitudes – even to total strangers, and often, without you knowing.

The latest research indicates that well over 70 percent of our communication is done nonverbally. In fact, behavioral scientists now know that the body speaks a language far louder than words.

When words do not match what the body is saying, better to rely on the body as that is a far more accurate reflection of feelings, attitudes and intentions. Here are some pointers on how to “listen with your eyes” and how to send out auspicious signals to attract good energy and good people, into your life.

If you want to make a good first impression, use luck-bringing body language! In addition to smiling and making good eye contact, show the palms of your hands as this is an inviting gesture. Keep your arms unfolded as this welcomes the chi in. Keep your legs uncrossed and your body leaning slightly forward. These are welcoming signals that send out a positive message. Don’t forget to show a hint of a smile!

Next, create instant rapport and goodwill from the other party by subtly “matching and mirroring” the other person’s facial expressions and body gestures. This seemingly unconscious mimicry of the other person will be sending strong positive signals and subconsciously telling him/her that you like and agree with what they are saying. This is sure to immediately create a harmony of chi energy.

The next time someone introduces you to a “new” friend, see if he/she crosses his or her arms - this is a sign that tells you the other person is unsure of you. You can then also subtly cross your arms to mirror the gesture. But smile and lean forward as you do so, to send a non-verbal but friendly message that you want to make friends; then check if your message has been understood and taken positively by uncrossing your arms. If the person you are interacting with likes you he/she will definitely follow suit by also uncrossing his/her arms. This sets the stage for both of you to get closer. Both sides will subconsciously then move into a more open posture with each other. The ice has been satisfactorily broken and more importantly, good chi is moving between the two of you.

When someone unconsciously matches your body gestures, it is always an indication that things are going well between you. It indicates you have developed some trust and goodwill. Conversely, if you notice  they are mismatching your body gestures, you know that trust has not yet been established.

These gestures are body language basics. You can observe them anywhere although they emerge most often when strangers come together in a social occasion such as cocktail parties, event launches, seminars, conferences and dinner parties. They also appear when one party is trying to ‘sell’ something to the other party. Insurance sales people for example are usually very good at sending out and reading body signals, as many of them have undergone some kind of training in body language.

The next time you attend a social event, observe how people who are strangers to one another will subconsciously try to match each other’s body gestures. When people are at the ‘making friends’ stage, they tend to mirror each other’s gestures in a subconscious effort to reach out.

After a while however, disagreements could start to surface, especially if they are engaged in serious conversation. When that happens, the disagreeing parties will subconsciously start to mismatch body gestures, each doing exactly the opposite of what the other person is doing.

When disagreement gets stronger, that’s when the more aggressive body signals make an appearance. The aggressive party could take a step forward or legs will get crossed; arms will also get crossed in a gesture of symbolic protection and both sides could start looking elsewhere. There are many hostile hand signals that are both unconscious yet obvious in their meaning. Smiles disappear and eyes tend to become unfocused. Mouths droop and hands come up in a “pushing away” gesture. Often, distracting gestures start to surface as one party begins to lose interest.

Hand gestures such as touching the ear, eyes or back of the head are sure signs that disinterest has set in. Sometimes hostility can escalate into more aggressive signals such as jutting the chest forward or clenching the fists, but more often than not, disagreements will give rise to boredom and disinterest. A turning away of the face or shrugging of the shoulders usually precedes a person moving away. 

Body language of LOVE decoded

In the language of love, body language comes into its own. These days, especially when many people are becoming more forthcoming in their interaction with each other, potential lovers are a lot less subtle than they used to be.

In the old days, subtlety ruled over boldness, but that was because in those days, being coy was more highly valued than being aggressive, especially in young, eligible ladies. In those days, predatory females were a rare breed. Today, they are everywhere. The bold and the beautiful outnumber the sweet and shy. Amongst guys, the trend towards directness is even more pronounced. As a result, body language has now become a big part of the mating game.

Many experts in body signals contend that in the game of courtship, women are usually the ones who make the first move by sending out a series of eye, body and facial signs to a target male (or female). It is said that men should look out for these signals before making any move. Women who do NOT send out signals are usually NOT interested and making a move on her is likely to meet with failure.  

These days, the rules of engagement between men and women have become very complex and this is because women sending signals may not always be interested in sex, whereas men receiving signals usually are. But modern women will often let the man know in no uncertain terms whether or not she is interested.

As a result of the subtle but potent difference in men and women’s perception of the mating game, men are not very good at reading a woman’s body language. Women do not always have sex on their minds whereas men almost always do. So to help them decipher signals sent their way by the opposite sex, here are some common “love” signals sent out by women when they encounter a love prospect:


Eager Eyes
Eye contact is one of the most revealing signs of interest. Interested eyes are keen, smouldering and hungry often. When someone catches a woman’s interest, she will usually raise her eyebrows, widen her eyes and look just a bit longer than usual. If a woman is interested, she will hold that look just long enough for the guy to notice. If she gets a response, she will immediately lean slightly forward and smile to herself. Here the signal being sent is YES. When a guy uses the same Eager Eyes approach, the lady will immediately turn away if she is disinterested. If she is keen she will find ways to send an affirmative signal back. When the signal sent back involves a sexual gesture such as a wetting of her lips, a slight shift in her sitting posture such that her hemline becomes a little more revealing, then sex is not far from her mind. Or watch the way she dresses. If she is in something revealing, it is obvious she is aware of her body. If she is wearing something with sleeves and collars, the guy can look forward to a period of time before he can make any sexual moves on the lady.

The Upward Leaning Jaw
As soon as a guy strikes up a conversation with a woman, the position of her head and face will immediately reveal whether or not there is any interest in the guy or his conversation. Usually she digs your bait if she tilts her head to one side and raises her lower jaw toward you. The upward leaning jaw is a very positive gesture as it strongly indicates she is paying attention to what the guy is saying. If you are the girl and someone is making the big moves on you, you can get him to slow down by lightly placing some space between you, or gently put both hands in front of you. Do not cross your hands as this will send a negative signal. You are interested but want to send him a signal not to move too fast. If you are the guy in this situation you can also move a little away from her, but keep your arms open to send a signal that you are very interested but will let her call the shots on timing.

Hips Don’t Lie
When a man and a woman are talking in a crowded room and they are checking out each other, watch their hips as they chat, especially when there are other distractions in the room such as other people, music or a television playing. Many pick-up places have plenty of distractions. So when two find each other, it is easy to tell after the first five minutes if the two are mutually attracted to each other.

When the girl turns, and only her head turns each time the guy says something, this is not a good sign. If she is interested, her whole body pivots towards the guy and her hips will face him to strongly indicate that her focus is on him instead of on other people in the room. It is the same with guys. When you chat with a man in a crowded room and he does not turn his hips towards you, he is definitely not interested.

Laughing at Your Silly Jokes
It is said that one of the surest signs of attraction is when a girl laughs out loud, shows her teeth and throws her head back. This is interpreted as very serious attraction, especially if the jokes are limp with non-humour. If each time she laughs she throws her head back directly in front of the guy, it means she will not resist the big moves being made on her.

Sending Signals Through the Clothes You Wear
Nothing sends a clearer signal than the clothes one wears. For a woman, when she wears see-through blouses or very short skirts or tight jeans, she is sending out signals that she is available and maybe, also willing. Young ladies should always be very aware of the signals they are sending out through the clothes they wear. The see-through lacy look may be the latest fashion trend BUT they are sending out a certain signal about your sexuality. Never send out signals you don’t want to send. Put another way; never send out come-hither signals that might inadvertently attract the wrong kind of guy. If what you want is a good time and you are as uninterested in a commitment as any guy, then the body language you send out is sure to be different from that sent out by a lady who is looking for a serious relationship.

Come On Now, Touch Me, Baby
Touching gestures are a step more advanced in the body language stakes. They are really very revealing and the more intimate the gesture is, the more come-hither it is. When a woman touches a man’s thigh, it is considerably more of a sexual gesture than when she touches his hand or his shoulder. Nevertheless putting her hand on a man’s forearm or shoulder during a conversation are definitive signs she has the hots for the guy. Men rarely, if ever, pull back, unless they are engaged to someone else or happily married. Most men however would respond with some kind of open gesture to see how far the woman will go. In the mating game therefore, a sure way for a guy to get somewhere with a girl is to try and get her to touch him.



The following article is taken from the "Feng Shui World (May/June 2007)". To subscribe, please click here.