Decoding His Body Language

People (sub-)communicate almost 90% of their intentions through their posture, movements, and tone of voice. The reality is that what a person says matters, but can be completely opposite of how he or she feels. So, how can you tell the difference, especially regarding men? Pay attention to what his body says before you listen to the words coming out of his mouth. You'll be surprised at what you might pick up on.

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May 11, 2010 2:00 PM
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man and woman at a bar
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Seeing Him for the First Time

The first thing to understand about picking up male signals is that guys, above all else, are obvious. So if you see him for the first time and he looks at you, raises an eyebrow, stands up straight, smiles, and opens his posture to face you — guess what? You or someone behind you has his attention. If he begins to preen when you notice him, he is officially letting you (or the woman behind you) know.
man and woman at a bar
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Is He Flirting with Me?

On a date, understand that men don't listen to, touch, or look into the eyes of women they are not interested in. If he is engaged in conversation, preens, looks into your eyes occasionally, touches you on the arm (good) or on the small of your back (better) and is relaxed while doing it, then guess what? Ignore everything he says, and recognize that he's flirting with you (even if he says he's not).
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Are We Just Friends?

Men tend to treat women they are friends with more like sisters than potential dates. If you're not sure where you stand, ask yourself if he treats you like his "girlfriend" from third grade. Sure, you may hug. He may be polite and chivalrous. If, however, he does not hesitate to look at other women, and adjusts his body language for them but not for you, then he's telling you that you're not date-worthy. He may love you as a friend, but he probably doesn't see you as a lover if he's willing to look for one in your company.
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During and After Sex

During and after sex, you can discern if a guy is interested in you by how attentive he is; he may not be experienced, but if he's interested he'll make an effort. Men don't engage in foreplay, touch, or maintain eye contact during sex with women they're not attracted to. If your man can look into your eyes in the heat of the moment and listens to your body, then clearly he's into you. If, however, he looks away when you look at him, doesn't want to touch you afterward, or pulls away when you do, then don't expect much from him in the future.
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Having "The Talk"

When you feel the need to ask your partner "Where are we going?" check to make sure his body language shows that he is open to the conversation. Looking down or away, with crossed arms and legs or a tight jaw, is a clear indicator that he is not open to talking. His mouth may say "yes" to discussing this, but if his body says "no," then try changing direction by asking him to go for a walk (so he uncrosses his legs), holding his hand (so his arms aren't crossed), or leading him somewhere else, where you can sit and talk. Body language creates and builds positive or negative momentum. Then again, don't force a discussion if he's clearly not open to it.
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Proposing

During one of the most vulnerable moments of his life, the body language of your partner can give you insight into where he is coming from. If he looks into your eyes when he speaks, his chest sticks out, voice doesn't crack, he holds you firmly — and can do all of this while relaxed on one knee, then he's embracing the moment and clearly knows that he wants you (which is a good sign, obviously). Conversely, a slouched posture coupled with twitching, fidgeting, and/or needy embraces says that he is either not sure, afraid of being rejected, or desperate to have you in his life (not such a great sign, obviously).