Our body language and other non-verbal communication signals account for over 90% of our trusted communication, according to studies by body language expert and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at UCLA, Albert Mehrabian. In fact, Dr. Mehrabian has determined we base our comprehension and understanding of any communication through the following mix of communication signals: 55% body language, 38% vocal tone, and a mere 7% for words alone. We are trained from birth to pick up on non-verbal cues for our communication and we continue to hone these skills throughout our lives. So what does this mean to our relationships? Are the secrets of connection and attraction given away through body language? The simple answer is yes!
When we first meet someone we rely our visual and auditory cues to determine if we feel any attraction. Men tend to be more visually oriented and woman tend to be more balanced between what they hear and see. Both sexes continue to evaluate what they see and hear to determine if our first impressions were accurate. When it comes to attraction, we generally know in the first few seconds if we feel a natural attraction. When it comes to connection, we make early determinations within the first few minutes of meeting someone new. Our judgements are largely based on a lifetime of experience in decoding visual and auditory cues.
So when you meet someone of interest what are the body language signs that give away if he or she is into you? Here is a breakdown on what you can look for to be sure you are on track for a connection:
Eyes: The eyes definitely have it! When we look at someone we can quickly determine if their stare is warm, flat, cold, interested or disinterested and surprisingly we can determine this from a fair distance. When we are attracted to someone our pupils involuntarily dilate as if to take in more of our object of desire. Any direct eye contact, especially if prolonged and friendly is usually the first sign of interest. A simple glance can speak volumes. So if you find someone shooting you glances, consider the qualities of their gaze, how long and how often they look your way and if they are smiling or not.
Smile: Your smile is one of the best non-verbal tools to break the ice and capture someone’s attention. A smile, whether open mouth or closed can convey a warm welcome or simply a polite hello. When we are interested in another, we tend to smile more frequently involuntarily. To determine if their smile denotes interest, notice the frequency of their smile and if it is accompanied by a prolonged glance or gaze.
Touch: Used appropriately and sparingly, touch is a most powerful non-verbal signal. Touch sends an exaggerated and charged message. When you first meet someone even an accidental (not inappropriate) touch can signal interest when accompanied by friendly conversation, smiles or laughter. The most common touch when we first meet someone is a shake of the hand or a touch on the arm. Something non-personal and non-threatening. But use caution with touch, it is better to err on the side of caution than create discomfort.
Tone: We involuntarily adjust our tone of speech when we are interested in another person. For women their voices generally become slightly higher and softer and men typically use lower tones and slight hesitation. Men tend to be very much in tune with the tone of a woman’s communication. Women tend to focus on content and feelings. When we are nervous, we tend to accelerate our speech. Taken in context with other non-verbal signals, tone can indicate a greater or lesser interest level from that special someone you meet.
Repetition: When we meet someone, our standard reaction may be friendly and smiling, we may shake hands and have a friendly tone, yet even with all of these positive signals, we may not have an interest in the other person beyond simple friendliness. So how can you reasonably tell if someone is into you or simply being friendly? Well there is no fool-proof way, but if over the course of conversation you receive repeated positive nonverbal signals (eye contact, smiles, touch, good tone, laughter, etc.) it is likely you may have a positive connection. The only way at this point to tell for sure is to make a move. Take the next step and see if your person of interest is interested in getting together again for further conversation or a date.
When trying to determine the signals of non-verbal communication, trust your gut. Take all factors into consideration. Do not take one friendly look or smile as an invitation to take the next step. Take your time. Test the waters with a bit of conversation first. Listen. Take note of how your interaction unfolds. People reveal themselves to you over time. A conversation with all of its verbal and non-verbal cues is a perfect starting point.
We would love to hear your stories and experiences regarding nonverbal communication signals. Share yours in the comments section.