I’m not a person that has much confidence in words. Don’t get me wrong; I use them, I know how to manipulate them, how to employ them precisely for a certain purpose and I can dance you into knots with semantics. I believe in the power of words; I just don’t believe words. And so, though I am open to giving the benefit of a doubt, I trust what I see much more. The mouth can be dishonest; the body can’t.

Body language and micro expressions have become a completely independent field of study in psychology simply because they are so very difficult to control, no matter how hard a person tries. In a world of lies and misconceptions, leading people on and playing with semantics, terms and each person’s perception of meanings, body language is the one universal language everyone understands.

Sure, you can study it, you can rehearse it, you can even stage a few reactions to get what you want and achieve something. But there is no way to fake spontaneous reactions. And your body speaks volumes louder than your actual voice.

You can break down the interpretation of body language depending on the circumstance in which you’re “reading” it; from a job interview, to a family gathering, to a party with friends, to a possibly dangerous or suspicious situation. But we don’t really care about all those cases (and a thesis is not enough to cover them all – even partially) now, do we? Let’s cut to the chase and concentrate a bit on the romantic whispers of the body.

Or rather what to look for if you want to know if they really are interested in you.

There’s something primal about body language. You get a gut feeling about someone and their predisposition towards you solely instinctively, without being able to explain what they said or didn’t say, do or didn’t do, to make you feel a certain way towards them.

To get a slight idea of what your mind is registering without your realization at the time, all you have to look at are five main body parts and you’ll get an idea. These indicators are universal, pancultural, undiscriminsting and unisex, meaning no matter what your nationality, origin, upbringing, gender or your sexual orientation is, they are the same; for everyone, everywhere. So pay close attention.

Some say that the eyes are the windows to the soul; and they are partially right. A real smile touches your eyes, forming wrinkles around the outer sides of them, as opposed to a fake smile that is limited only to the mouth area. You can read fear or sadness, confusion or surprise in the eyes -and the brow- as well. Take a look at your face in the mirror and try mimicking those emotions. You’ll get a general idea. And as for lust, or sexual arousal, that can be seen in pupils. If they’re not aroused by you and their pupils are dilated, they’re either terrified of you or psychotic.

Look at where their chest is facing. Is their torso turned towards you and extended; puffed out like a peacock? They feel safe, and confident, in your presence and they are not likely hiding something from you. And they are telling everybody in the vicinity that you’re “theirs”.

Are they facing you, yet somehow, whether with their arms or an object, covering their chest? Then they are interested but something is making them self-conscious and guarded. It may not be you, it may be the conversation you are having that moment, but I would suggest you change the subject. It’s not likely something that will bring you closer to them.

Speaking of arms; when the arms are at one’s sides or open in any way, it means that they are comfortable and that they are open to seeing where your discussion, and possibly the two of you, are headed.

What about their feet and legs? Contrary to popular belief, that they eyes don’t lie –and that is why I began with them– the legs and the feet are the most trustworthy indicators of interest. A man sitting with his legs open, or crossed with his ankle on his knee, facing your direction, is interested in you. The same applies if he is standing across from you, torso and feet turned your way, with his legs slightly open. Like I mentioned, body language is primal and this is his way of showing dominance to other males around him so they know he is pursuing you.

Likewise a woman with her legs crossed, but facing you, is also interested. If she places her hands on her legs, palm open, you can be sure of it. And if you are standing and speaking, and her ankles are crossed in front of her, then she’s not going anywhere. Literally and metaphorically. When in a standing position, crossed ankles limit movement so we are unconsciously putting our “flight” instinct on the side and saying that we’re not about to run.

I could go on, but you get the point. You don’t want to go too deep into the subject; it can prove to be a disaster rather than a help.

So learn what the person across from you is like, but don’t study them. Listen to their words; take in the their whole image and not just fragments of it. Never underestimate the importance of body language, though.

Because Chico, the eyes may never lie, but the body is much more honest.

Author: Nikoletta Vasilopoulou

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