Finding Love After Loss

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Using Proper Body Language To Find Love After Loss

What you say matters as much as the way you say it. Your accompanying non-verbal gestures also matter, for they convey subtle messages of approval and disapproval.

Let’s examine 10 areas in which nonverbal clues can make the difference when meeting prospective dates.

1. Eye Contact. If you are able to maintain eye contact with someone you’ve just met for at least 60 to 70% of the time, you are showing this person respect and exhibiting a genuine interest in what he/she has to say. This also fosters a comfortable atmosphere where self-defense mechanisms can be diffused. Eye contact above 70% can make a person uncomfortable, for no one likes such an intense scrutiny. And 100% eye contact is just staring and sort of creepy!!

2. Ears. Although it may be difficult to give off too many nonverbal clues with yours ears unless you can wiggle them up and down, just remember that good communication takes place when you listen twice (2 ears) as much as you talk (1 mouth).

3. Mouth. On the other hand, your mouth can be very expressive. It can turn up in a smile or down in a frown. Lips can be pursed, which oftentimes indicates disapproval. Raising your hand to your mouth and covering it while you’re talking can indicate a sense of insecurity about what you’re saying. Since a person is paying attention to your mouth when you’re talking, it takes just a small nuance to send a loud message.

4. Posture. As you sit at a table across from your date, are you slumped over or sitting tall? Good posture emanates confidence and a general sense of well-being. When you stand or sit up straight, it is easier for you to breathe deeply. This, in turn, promotes calmness. Slouching with droopy shoulders might indicate that you carry the weight of the world on your back and it is wearing you down. This negative stance can turn people away before you even get a chance to have a conversation.

5. Head. How you hold your head is also related to your postural stance. Keeping your head up indicates self-assuredness. It tells listeners that you know what you’re talking about and that you have valuable information to share. Slightly tilt your head to the right or left and that authoritative air is softened. A head tilt puts you in listening mode and shows genuine interest.

6. Arms. Cross your arms over your body and you’re projecting a defensive attitude or expressing disapproval over what is being said. Keep your arms at your side or behind your back and you project an open-minded quality – willing to listen and ready to receive new information.

8. Hands. For many people how they use their hands during a conversation is a cultural thing. Thus, there may be no deep meaning in their gestures. In general, though, palms up indicates a friendly attitude vs. palms down possibly indicating a more aggressive attitude. Be aware of how a person shakes hands. Is the extended hand in a vertical position (which indicates a feeling of equality) or is the hand offered with the palm up or down?

8. Legs. Tapping, jumpy legs lets your date know that you’re nervous or even hiding some fact about yourself. Whether you cross your legs or not is mostly about comfort, although keeping your legs straight out precludes your date from getting too close to you.

9. Angle of Your Body. How you turn your body can be indicative of your attitude toward another. It’s a pretty simple formula: we angle ourselves toward people we like and away from those who we don’t.

10. Space. Remember the character, the close talker, who appeared in a Seinfeld episode and made everyone so uncomfortable because he overstepped the other characters’ personal space? There’s a happy medium in creating the proper space between conversationalists. Too close and you could be labeled pushy. Too distant and you could be labeled aloof. Strike a pose somewhere in the middle.

Enjoy this clip from the Seinfeld show and watch all the body language. Remember, everything means something!

Clip from Seinfeld "Close Talker" episode



4 comments:

  1. Very good tips for non-verbal communications, Ellen. I never think about my body language but I am sure it influences my relationships.

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  2. These apply for dating and friendship never mind after loss. We both mention listening and talking this week, Wonder what we have been listening to lately?

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  3. Great information, here. And, we also should recognize that different cultures provide different rules- especially those about space between conversants.

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  4. Nice to get the background details but challenging for me to be present in a conversation with all this running through my head. I simply do quick check ins - do I feel open and present or closed and disengaged? Simply focusing on noticing if my heart area is open gives me a quick answer and I can then re-adjust my posture and presence. Excellent blog on generating awareness as we definitely do communicate through a lot more than just words.

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