They say actions speak louder than words, and that’s especially true when it comes to dating. When it comes to detecting a woman’s interest in you, then you needn’t look further than her body. No, not in a leering, Tinder-esque way. Often times, it’s in the simplest gestures when a woman’s body language speaks the loudest. So even if Shakira was right when she said “Hips Don’t Lie”, what is she trying to tell you? And what is your body language saying to her?
We asked body language experts, Stacie Ikka, a nationally recognized matchmaker and dating coach, and Patti Wood, author of SNAP: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, to give us some insight on what her body language is telling you as well as tips to help you control the impression you’re giving off on your first date.
What She’s Telling You When She’s Into You
So, you just sat down to dinner, exchanged the usual pleasantries (“How long have you been on Tinder?”) and now you’re wondering what she’s thinking about you. Well, if she’s adjusting herself—twirling her hair, playing with her earrings—chances are, according to Ikka, she’s into you. “When a woman is interested in a man, she tends to be more self-conscious than usual,” she says. “She won’t realize it, and could vehemently deny it if called out, but you’ll find her doing things like, checking the bottom of her shirt (is it adequately covering the midsection she’s trying to conceal? OR is it exposing her sexy midriff in that meant-to-look-unintentional-but-actually-strategic-kinda-way?), and inconspicuously peering down at her inviting cleavage to ensure the girls are positioned ‘just right.’”
Another dead giveaway? Her eyes.
“If they are fixated on you—and not the door, her phone or the handsome bartender—then you are ‘winning’,” says Ikka. “And, if you feel violated—like her eyes are doing naughty things to your body—then consider that a bonus.”
Wood agrees that a woman’s eyes are the windows into her soul—or, at least, her loins.
“Lingering eye contact is a big sign of attraction. It’s a look that lasts longer than three seconds. For women, they will look away unless they want to go bed with you right now.”
Another indication of attraction is the direction of your date’s feet. “If she’s attracted, she will point her feet towards you,” says Wood. “I like to say, ‘where her feet point, her heart follows.’”
What She’s Telling You When She’s Not
Of course, a woman’s body language speaks volumes when she’s not into you at all. Sometimes she can be subtle about her disinterest, like, as Wood points out, her feet are pointed away from you.
Another thing to look out for? Her pelvis (like you’re not looking at it already). “The pelvis, when she is attracted sexually, will be pointed towards you and slightly tiled in towards you,” says Wood. “But when she is not interested, she might have her upper torso pointed towards you, being very polite, but her pelvis will be turned away. She doesn’t tilt her pelvis towards someone she isn’t sexually attracted to.”
Other times, she might be sending some seriously obvious SOS signals, and you still might be clueless. “If your date is spending a lot of time in the bathroom, she is either not feeling the vibe you’re sending, she has a cocaine habit or she legit has a bladder infection,” says Ikka. “None are good signs.” Checking her phone a lot and having a wandering eye are other signs she’s not into you, according to Ikka.
What Your Body is Telling Her
Just as much as her body is telling you what she’s thinking, your own physicality—whether it’s intentional or not—can be verbalizing a heck of lot to her, too. Wood warns against what she calls “peacock boasting”—when a guy lays back on a chair and spreads his arms out. “It’s a guy move and guys have always done this,” she says. “They’ll talk about themselves and the great things they’ve done, things they accomplished. It will be an attempt to peacock. ‘Don’t I have great feathers? Don’t you want to mate with me?’ But it tends to do the opposite.”
Ikka warns against checking your phone (“There is no bigger turn-off than a guy checking his phone. We automatically either assume you’re lining up your post-date booty call or wonder how many other women you’re dating”) and keeping your wandering eye in check. “Most of us understand your primitive inclinations. Some of us are more forgiving than others. But, before you start affixing your gaze elsewhere, make sure we’re willing to play the ‘people watching’ game with you,” says Ikka. “Otherwise, we take it as a personal insult. Some women may even call it demeaning or disrespectful.”
As for tips on how to better clue into your date’s non-verbal cues, Wood says, “Just be very present and very connected, and that’s very had to do when yore highly attracted to someone. Be present, connected and willing to go where they are energetically.”
Ikka echoes the sentiment. “Body language, usually, comes from the subconscious,” she says. “If you’ve been oblivious to body language in the past, before you can aspire to “accurately read someone’s body language”, you first need to wake up, and be present.” She suggests to observe and pinpoint her facial expressions, her body positioning, her hand gestures and her overall movement. “Once you’ve got this nailed down—then and only then—can you begin to interpret her body language,” Ikka says.
“Remember that any one signal—in isolation—could mean nothing. For example, just because she responds to a text doesn’t mean she’s not into you if she’s otherwise smiling, touching your arm from time to time and facing you with those bedroom eyes. She may have a sick child at home with a babysitter. Conversely, just because she’s not looking at her phone and is engaged in your conversation doesn’t mean she’s into you . . . Just like when choosing a partner you need to consider the whole package, the same must be done when reading body language.”
Brianne Hogan is a freelance writer based in Toronto, something of a humorist, and considers herself more Bridget Jones than Samantha Jones. Though she won’t reveal which parts, she will admit to liking emotionally unavailable men and drinking lots of wine. You can follow her on Twitter @briannehogan.