Body Language: An Overview

Happy weekend, Love Scent family! We hope you’re all doing well.

Today we’re going to look at a topic we’ve mentioned in passing before: body language. Being able to accurately read body language is an essential skill for anyone, especially because it plays such a huge role in our lives. UCLA psychology professor Albert Mehrabian found back in 1971 that a whopping 55% of our communication comes from our body language, with the rest coming from our tone of voice (38%) and our words (a mere 7%). Body language is central to our communication in every single relationship we have, from our romantic partnerships to our relationships with our friends to our interactions with our colleagues.

For pheromone users, knowing how to read body language is the only way to know what kind of effect your pheromones are having on those around you–if they’re having an effect at all. Just as importantly, being aware of your own body language will also help you make the most of your interactions and ensure that you’re sending out the right signals. As we’ve said before, after all, pheromones are not magic potions, and cannot do all the work for you. Even the most potent social pheromone can’t completely cancel out aggressive body language, and pheromones that exude confidence can’t make up for a slouching back.

When we talked about experimenting with pheromones, we briefly covered some body language basics. Today, we’re going to go more in-depth so you have more knowledge to work with when you try out a new pheromone…or do anything else, for that matter.

1. The Eyes

Eye contact is one of the most important interactions you will have, and can convey both positive and negative feelings. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t overdo it. Few things are more threatening than having someone stare you directly in the eye without blinking or looking away. If you’re trying to establish or improve a relationship with someone, staring them down won’t help; you’ll be too intimidating, and they’ll be too uncomfortable (if not outright frightened) to want to spend much time with you. Prolonged staring can even give off the impression that you’re straight-up lying. Unless you’re in a committed and affectionate partnership with someone, don’t overdo the eye contact.
  • But don’t underdo it either. Frequently looking away, or staring at the floor or ceiling, can torpedo a conversation. You’ll appear untrustworthy and nervous. Rapid or frequent blinking can give off similar impressions. A few glances away to give your conversation partner a break from your eyes can help keep the situation from becoming too tense, but looking away too often will backfire. Learn to strike a balance.
  • Pay attention around the eyes. You can actually tell if a smile is genuine or fake by looking for little wrinkles around the eyes: if they smile doesn’t reach the eyes and no little wrinkles appear, the smile is probably forced. If the eyes don’t narrow a little, that’s another sign that the smile is likely forced.  (These tiny movements of the muscles, often called “microexpressions,” also happen around the mouth.) The person might be fake-smiling to be polite, or they might be attempting to diffuse the tension they’re feeling. Either way, if they’re only pretending to smile, it’d probably time to back off a little and give them some space, or just steer the conversation somewhere else.
  • Look for the twinkle. Yes, eyes actually do twinkle when a person is genuinely smiling! This is due to the tiny muscle movements we talked about above: when the eyelids narrow and the muscles around the eye flex, it squeezes the “tear film” of the eye ever so slightly, leading to that distinctive shimmer. If their eyes are twinkling, things are going well.

2. The Mouth

The mouth also reveals a lot of our inner feelings. We don’t recommend staring at someone’s mouth, but a brief glance or two can tell you a lot.

  • Watch for the teeth. A sincere smile will often show the upper row of teeth. Sometimes someone will suppress a smile, usually out of shyness, but even a suppressed smile will reach the eyes (see above). If the bottom teeth are showing, though, the smile is probably not sincere…unless the person is laughing at the joke you just told, of course.
  • Keep an eye on the lips. Pursed lips are a sign of disinterest, distrust, or discomfort. Lip-biting is also a reliable sign of discomfort or anxiety, despite the fact that many people find lip-biting erotic. Lips that are sucked into the mouth or lips that are quivering or twitching are also signs of discomfort. If you see these signs, give the person some space. Parted lips, on the other hand, are a sign of relaxation and contentment.

3. The Arms and Legs

Our arms and legs tell a lot about how we’re feeling. Some things to look out for:

  • Look for crossed arms and legs. If someone’s arms or legs (or both) are crossed, it’s a sign that they’re not comfortable with the situation. A “low-power” pose, in which a person closes in on themselves and wraps themselves in their own arms, actually releases the stress-related hormone cortisol, and can make the situation worse. If you see any of these signs, they’re not comfortable, and you need to adjust your behavior accordingly.
  • Pay attention to the hands. Clasped hands, especially clasped behind the back, are a sign of discomfort. Tapping or playing with the fingers is also a classic sign of nervousness. But relaxed hands, especially open palms, indicate honesty and comfort, so those are good signs.
  • Look for confidence. While closed body postures suggest discomfort, an open body gesture radiates confidence and pleasure. A torso that isn’t hidden by crossed arms or slouching, hands confidently placed on hips, and a straight back are signs that the person is feeling good about themselves–and good about this interaction.

4. The Big Picture

Body language isn’t a collection of discrete gestures; you also have to take a look at the body as a whole to get a good idea of what’s going on. Some things to pay attention to:

  • Fidgeting isn’t a good sign. This one probably seems obvious, but some people mistake fidgeting for excitement or intrigue. If someone is fidgeting (their legs are shaking, their toes are tapping, they can’t sit still, they’re playing with something in their hands or their hands themselves), they’re probably uncomfortable. There are exceptions, of course: some people have neurological problems that make frequent movement involuntary; others, like me, can’t sit for long periods without physical discomfort, and may need to shift around to keep comfortable. So look for other signs of discomfort in the eyes, mouth, arms, and legs to get a sense of whether they’re really uncomfortable with you or just uncomfortable with that rock-hard chair they’re sitting in.
  • Mirrored body language is a good thing. If someone is feeling a connection with you, their body language will begin to mirror yours. They’ll make the same, or similar, hand gestures, smiles, and body movements. You’ll notice yourself doing this, too, if you’re enjoying your interaction with someone.

And that’s it for our overview. Now, keep in mind that you could write entire books on body language (and, in fact, many people have), so we encourage you to read up on nonverbal communication as much as you can. It’s fascinating stuff, and can make your life easier and more enjoyable in all areas. Here are some resources to get you started:

We hope you feel more prepared to read (and send) nonverbal signals now. As we said, it’s a skill that benefits everyone, but it becomes particularly useful when you’re testing out pheromones.

That’s it for this week! Remember, you can always feel free to contact us with any questions, comments, or concerns. And be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get free samples and to hear about new blog posts, product announcements, and promotions.

Have a great weekend, Love Scent family!

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