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Between the Lines

Take the guesswork out of attraction

By Nancy Fagan

Go ahead - admit it. There have been times when you knew someone was attracted to you, but then started second-guessing yourself. You wondered whether or not you were getting the signals straight, and if you should respond with interest. When you were chatting at the train station, were they really interested, or were they simply being friendly? Is that co-worker three cubicles over going to ask me for a date, or is that just my imagination?

Nothing will improve your dating prospects more than a quick lesson in body language interpretation. Reading between the lines is the quickest way to know if someone likes you. When Cupid shoots his arrow, emotions manifest through bodily signs that are completely out of conscious control. But, unless you are fluent in decoding this secret language, you will miss it altogether.

Understanding the language of attraction doesn't have to be complicated. It's just a matter of knowing what to watch for. Once you've learned the signals, you'll never have to wonder again whether or not your encounter has potential for more intimate moments.

The Missing Link

It's time to upgrade your listening skills. The first step is to stop relying on what you hear someone say and start paying attention to what you see. Interestingly, 93 percent of what is communicated between two people is nonverbal. That's right, only 7 percent of communication is the spoken word. We regularly neglect a significant part of language-the 23 percent that comes from tone of voice and the 70 percent spoken through body language. If you become fluent in all three areas of language, you'll be able to see obvious signs of attraction that you might otherwise overlook.

Strike a Pose

When assessing someone's body language, there are only two things you need to watch for in order to recognize their level of interest in you: specific body positions and biological reactions in their eyes.

When someone is attracted to you, their body will communicate it loudly and clearly. There are five key body positions to watch for. If you see any of them happen when you are near, it means only one thing-they like you! The more signals you see displayed, the stronger their attraction:

1. The trunk of their body will face you squarely

2. Their foot will be pointed in your direction

3. Their leg will be crossed toward you

4. They will invade your personal space (the invisible 20-inch circle around you)

5. They will touch you for any reason (take lint off your shirt or feel the fabric of your blouse, for example)

The Eyes Have It

The eyes have a body language all their own. A major telltale sign of how someone feels about you is the gazing pattern with which they look at you-the social gaze or the intimate gaze. Both involve the eyes scanning your face. However, each one has a distinct pattern as well as a significantly different meaning associated with it.

Most people give no thought to how they are looking at you. Because their eyes simply react naturally to their feelings, the way they take you in will vary.

The social gaze is the typical eye contact people use when they are having a conversation with someone for whom they have no romantic feelings. Basically, this is a look in which someone scans only your eyes, going back and forth from eye to eye. That's it. If you get that look, forget it; they don't view you romantically.

The intimate gaze involves the social gaze, plus something new. As with the social gaze, the person looks at your eyes first. Then, because they are curious about you, they can't to resist caressing the rest of your face and hair with their eyes as the two of you talk (for example, eye to eye to mouth to eyes to hair to eyes, and so forth).

This is one secret you will want to keep to yourself. They will never know that you are sizing up their intentions by following their gazing pattern. Heck, you have to look at them when they're talking, so why not maximize your interaction by unveiling their core feelings about you?

Revealing Hidden Reactions

A person can try to hide or manipulate all of the physical and emotional signs of attraction, but they are unable to conceal the physiological signs (a racing heart or perspiration, for example). Because biological reactions occur inside the body, they are usually not apparent to anyone but the person experiencing them. But there are two exceptions: dilated pupils and watery eyes. Both, coincidentally, are linked to interpersonal attraction. Even better, they are very noticeable when you look for them and most people have no idea that these signs of interest even exist.

The first "secret" sign of physiological attraction is dilated pupils. The size of someone's pupils adjusts depending primarily on two things: light and attraction. The darker a room, the larger a person's pupils will be. When someone is attracted to you, their pupils will enlarge more than is expected for their surroundings. To make this determination, all you have to do is compare their pupil size with others in the same surroundings.

As an aside, medications can also alter the size of pupils. So, if you think someone's interested, but their pupil size is small, don't worry. Instead, watch for other signs of attraction - in particular, body language.

Another physiological reaction that indicates that someone is attracted to you is watery eyes. It's almost their way of cleaning off their eyes in order to capture a clearer picture of you.

One last thing to remember: body language is a two-way street. If you want to invite dating prospects to you, position your body in the five ways mentioned above to communicate your interest. Nervousness has a way of making people want to assume a closed body stance. When you let this happen, you will appear as though you're not attracted those who find you appealing.

Proficiency in body language will take a little practice, but as soon as you remember what to look for, you'll never have to wonder if someone is attracted to you - you'll immediately know. No longer will you have to wonder what they're thinking-you will know! So, if you are stressing over his motivations, it's time to stop. You are no longer a woman who waits patiently for the words that reveal their interest. No, now you are a "decoder woman!"

Give away "actions" show someone is attracted to you:

Leaning forward in your direction:

  • The front of their body will face you
  • They will tilt their head
  • They will sit on the edge of their chair
  • Touching their face during conversation
  • Grooming behaviors (fixing hair, straightening clothes, checking teeth)

Luckily, all you have to do is watch the reactions of their body when you're near them and you will know their thoughts.

More on Body Language

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