Love And Body Language, Explained

Communication expert Dr. Lillian Glass answers your questions about body language and offers some very smart dating tips.

ver wonder what signals you and your date are sending with your body language? Of course, we all do! And that’s why Happen hosted a live chat with Dr. Lillian Glass, a renowned body language and communications guru and a best-selling author. The goal: helping our readers understand the unspoken signals your dates are sending — and more. Here, the key questions she answered, packed with advice for you to put to use in your love life.

Why should we care about body language? Does it really make that much of a difference?

We need body language because it doesn’t lie. It tells us the truth. So many women wonder What happened in this relationship? I like this man. I thought he liked me. But if you really looked at it objectively and analyzed what the person was doing during your interaction, you would see signs that indicate how he feels or doesn’t feel about you. Body language and facial expressions, tone of voice, speech patterns and content are essential if you want to know where you stand with another person.

What are the most common signals of attraction that people miss?

One of the most common is that people tend to compliment you when
Should you kiss hello on a first date? A warm smile and handshake usually work best.
they’re attracted to you. Because we often aren’t good at receiving compliments, we slough it off rather than reading between the lines.

So what are some negative signs to pay attention to?

If your date isn’t into you it’s easy to tell because she’ll lean away from you. She’ll look around the room. She won’t be that interested in what you’re saying. She won’t be that focused. She will have her feet and toes pointing in a different direction than in your direction. She may fidget a lot. And her facial expressions won’t have that bright sparkle that you see when somebody is attracted to you.

What is the best way to approach a first date — handshake, casual hug, kiss on the cheek?

There’s no set rule, but most often the best way to greet someone is a warm smile and a handshake, and then you can develop from there.

What signals does a man give off if he is only interested in you for sex, as opposed to if he is interested in being in a relationship with you?

One of the most commonly missed signs of attraction is a compliment — people tend to get uncomfortable and slough it off, rather than reading between the lines.
If a man is interested in sex, he’ll start sex talk right away. He’ll start talking about it over the phone; he’ll ask what you’re wearing, intimate questions that are inappropriate for telephone talk. If you meet him in person and he’s just interested in you sexually, he’s going to have a whole different approach. He’s going to be touchy, trying to kiss you all the time and being inappropriately intimate when he doesn’t really know you yet.

I am not comfortable crossing my legs. I tend to sit with my feet flat on the ground or with one leg tucked under me. I don’t mean this as a sign of anything; it’s just how I sit. Am I unconsciously sending negative signals?

When you sit on your feet, you're sending a signal that you’re a very casual person. But when you have your legs firmly planted on the ground you’re actually sending a good signal that you are open, communicative and ready to respond.

I’ve emailed and talked on the phone with a lot of prospective dates but haven’t met them in person. Is there a way to tell by their tone of voice if he is interested in a first date?

Absolutely. If he speaks with a monotone or he's abrupt, he may not be interested. Again, it’s a situation that’s very complicated because it’s not just the tone of voice, it’s what is said. If you’re meeting men over the phone but not connecting with them in terms of a date, maybe you’re giving off some vocal signals that you may not be receptive or responsive to meeting them. Why don’t you try suggesting that you meet for coffee, rather than waiting for the man to make the first move? Take a risk and see what happens.

What kind of gesture would a woman give if she really likes you?

If she likes you she’s going to look at you. She’s most likely going to gaze into your eyes. She’s going to lean forward. She may touch your hand. She’ll smile a lot. She’ll ask you a lot of questions.

What does it mean when a man looks down at the ground when he is talking to you? Is he too shy to look at you because he likes you, or is it a negative sign?

It depends on the situation and on the person. If he continues to look down, there may be a big problem a) with his self-esteem or b) with his not being attracted to you. Eventually he should look at you, whether he's shy or not. If not, he’s probably somebody who can't face other people and has self-esteem issues.

Is a movie a bad choice for a first date, since you don't get to interact with the person or get a sense of their body language?

Actually, a movie may be a very good choice because after the movie you will have something to talk about — the movie, the characters, the philosophy behind the film. It may be a very good ice breaker. So make sure if you go to a movie, you also go out afterwards so you can discuss it and spend time with the person.

What does it mean when your date is leaning towards you, yet telling you he wants to break up with you? What is the body language really saying?

When a man is leaning towards you telling you he wants to break up with you, he's trying to be intimate and block everyone out. They’re trying to let you know he wants your full attention.

Any ideas for a really shy person who is not used to dating?

Well, first of all, let’s talk about shyness. Anyone who is shy is selfish, and by that I mean thinking about him- or herself. Stop thinking about you and think about the other person. You’re so busy thinking about putting your foot in your mouth — or not putting your foot in your mouth — that you’re not being all that you can be. Try focusing on the other person. Look at the person not as someone who’s criticizing you or judging you, but as someone who wants to get to know you.

Dr. Lillian Glass, Ph.D., is a licensed therapist, voice and body-language expert, and the best-selling author of Attracting Terrific People and He Says, She Says; I Know What You’re Thinking.
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