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Dating Communication: Reading Another Person's Body Language

By Edited Aug 10, 2015 0 4

Body language is a way individuals communicate with one another without uttering a word, instead using movement and gestures. Some types of body language are pretty obvious, while other forms are very subtle. People may miss these cues and not even know they are being “spoken” to. Others are highly in tune with the body language people give.

You can really learn a lot from someone by observing his or her body language. Possessing the ability to recognize what body language means is a helpful skill to master, whether it be in the business environment or in the dating scene. This article looks at the dating scene.

Through observation of body language you can help gauge whether or not (s)he is into you or if there is no interest.  Reading body language also helps you see when your date is reluctant or has intentions or a desire to move too fast for you. In more severe cases, body language can leave hints that a person may be dangerous or abusive.

Body language illustrates a wide realm of emotions and, from observing body movement, you can tell when someone is nervous, angry, excited, bored or happy. Cues of interest, contentment, excitement and happiness are encouraging when on a date.

Other things you can look for through body language when on a date include:


Mirroring is a type of body language which is helpful to observe during a date. What mirroring entails is one person following what the other is doing, after a slight pause, with his or her body movement. For instance if someone leans close to you, if you like the person and want to let him or her know, meet them half-way.

If your date reaches out in hopes of holding your hand, allow your hand to wander in the same direction if this is appealing to you. Even facial expressions, hand movement and body position play a role in mirroring. In a sense mirroring can be likened to a dance, where two partners come together in sync.

Dancers in Alexandria Va. at the waterfront
Credit: Leigh Goessl/All rights reserved

Eye Contact

You can really learn a lot about someone from a willingness to offer eye contact. Strong eye contact also means the person is also interested in what you have to say. The desire to maintain extended eye contact by a date is usually a definitive sign he or she is attracted to you.

Refusal to engage in eye contact may be a sign of a lack of interest. This is usually perceived as a negative signal which often means there is not a desire to make a connection. However, while in most cases the willingness to make eye contact is a good way to measure if someone likes you, it is also important to remember that the meaning of eye contact varies from culture to culture; do keep this in mind as you watch for eye contact.

For instance, in the United States, it is considered sincere if when people look you in the eye when they speak to you. Those who refuse or avoid looking someone in the eye may give off the perception they are untruthful or have something to hide. A person's willingness to share eye contact often reveals a lot about both themselves and whether or not the relationship between the two of you may progress.

Crossed Arms

When a date crosses his or her arms, this often means the person is trying to set up a barrier. This blockage is his or her way of indicating he or she does not want personal space invaded. Crossing one's arms is a defensive move which is a bit bolder than some of the other subtle body movements.

Although, arm crossing may simply mean someone is uncomfortable or shy because they are unsure of what to do with themselves. However, for the most part if your date is establishing that barrier and setting personal space limits, this is a pretty good sign of disinterest. On the flip side, being with someone with crossed arms could be a turn-off. 4

Crossed arms
Credit: elisasizzle on Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution


If your date's hands, feet or arms are pointing towards you, this is a pretty keen indicator of an interest in you. The body language cue of pointing can be obvious or subtle, but if the direction of his or her body parts is headed your way, this is a positive sign he or she probably likes you.


A date who subtly (or blatantly!) primps his or herself in the presence of a partner is showing interest. The body movements associated with primping typically includes fiddling with ties, skirt, hair, or even socks. All of these body gestures indicate the person is trying to look his or her best for a date.

Facial Expressions

A date's facial expressions are also a good way to see if they're into you. Raised eyebrows (this is often a quick subtle movement) are a positive sign. Abundant smiles are another clear indicator a date is interested.

Smiling couple
Credit: Sean McGrath via Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

On the other hand, if a date seems to be miles away and off in a distant place, this is usually not be a good sign. Granted, it could mean the person has something personal weighing on the mind and is experiencing a distraction, but if it's accompanied by a yawn or other bored look, be on guard, because it's likely there won't be a follow-up date.

In some cases, the way a person moves can reveal any potential ulterior motives. If in any situation you feel your personal space is being invaded or the person is getting too close for comfort, put your guard up.

Credit: Hunter Desportes via Flickr/CC by 2.0 with Attribution

Some Warning Signs

A person's body language should respond to yours and if yours is sending one sign and you aren't being met in kind, this may be a warning factor. Always listen to your intuition when it comes to body language, especially if your brain is sending you a strong warning message. The gut rarely lies.

Once you know what to watch for, especially in the early stages of dating, you can decide whether or not you want to continue to see this person by observing his or her responses through body language.

Body language, while often subtle and not always easy to pick up on, is a great way to try and determine whether or not there is potential for future dates. Most non-verbal language is unconscious and happens without thinking so these are great cues to watch. Not to mention, you can also use it to show your interest or indifference towards a person as well.



Jun 26, 2015 7:58am
Great Article. Really drew me in.
Jul 2, 2015 2:17am
Thanks very much. I appreciate your comment.

Also, welcome to IB!
Jul 30, 2015 7:33pm
Body Language is so important - In business and other relationships I depend on it more than people's words to know what they are really thinking.

great article, love the dog pic!
Aug 10, 2015 5:13pm
Thanks mford1534 for sharing your thoughts and for your kind words.
Welcome to IB!
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  2. "Language of love ." The Guardian. 27/01/2009. 8/06/2015 <Web >
  3. "Language of love ." The Guardian. 27/01/2009. 8/06/2015 <Web >
  4. "Baffled by Body Language." Match.com. 8/06/2015 <Web >

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