April 1, 2016
While it’s obvious that what you say on a date can make or break the experience, what you do also has a huge impact on your chances of getting to date #2. You might be the next Nobel Prize winner or the sexiest man alive, but if you don’t look someone in the eye, it’s hard to get to know you. Or, you might be the #1 saver of kittens trapped in trees, but if you snap at the server for your check, even Mittens the Kitten can’t save you now.
When you’re on a date, while you can never create chemistry, you can, however, subtly increase the “flirt factor” (an Erika-ism) by using these six pointers for having great body language on dates:
- Face your date.
Are your knees facing towards your date or away from your date? The more you point them towards your date, the more likely you are into him/her, and vice versa. Generally, if people turn their legs away from someone, it’s because they are trying to keep some distance.
- Try to be a little closer.
I hate two-top tables, or the ones where you feel like you have to yell across the table to have a conversation. I’ve actually been known to turn rectangular tables at restaurants so that the longer side runs in front of me rather than to the side, lessening the space between myself and the person I’m talking to. (Use your discretion on whether to try this one at home, kids.)
If given the choice, for a first date, either sit at the bar next to each other, or sit at a square table catty-corner from each other. This way, you’re more inclined to have an intimate conversation since you’re close enough to hear each other and lean in a bit.
- Playful touching can be A-okay.
Do you like your date? If so, a playful touch is generally a sign of interest. Let’s say you’re out with someone really funny. He cracks a joke. You touch his arm briefly while saying, “That was so funny.” Score.
- Maintain eye contact.
Eye contact is so important. If you want someone to know you’re truly listening, then make the appropriate eye contact. Perhaps you’re just shy, but if you don’t look someone in the eye, he or she thinks you’re either lying about something or not very interested.
Speaking of keeping your eyes on each other, I shouldn’t even need to tell you to put your cell phone away during your date. There’s nothing worse than interrupting someone mid-sentence to check a text message. If you are expecting an important call or message, simply let your date know in advance that there’s a possibility you might have to step out for a minute. Even a phone facing down on the table indicates that you’re waiting for something. Just put it away.
- Check your posture.
A recent study showed that if you have a more “expansive posture,” you’re likely to get a better response than if you contact your body. For example, having your arms outstretched makes you look more appealing than having your arms crossed, which appears closed off. While the study focused on online dating photos, the same concepts can be applied to the date itself. If you’re sitting with your arms crossed, your date assumes you’re likely bored or uninterested… or both.
- Give a nice hug.
How do most of your dates end? With a hug? A kiss? A handshake? I recommend the hug, and the quality of the hug actually matters. Just like in a business meeting, you don’t want anyone to have the “dead fish” handshake, in a dating setting, you don’t want to be the person with the weak hug. I’m not saying that give your date a great big bear hug (in fact, don’t), but what I am saying is to give a real, earnest hug that shows that you care.
What you say on a date is obviously important, but people also remember the subtle things that you do… or don’t do. So, it’s time to practice these body language exercises, both on dates and in life.
Answer key (click links for more info):
- True: All else equal, you’ll have better results on an online dating site if you wear red.
- False: Using a photo of yourself an a tortoise has been proven to get more “likes” and “right swipes.”
- True: On the dating apps, like Tinder and Hinge, asking an interesting question is better than starting a conversation with, “Hey, what’s up?”
- True (see above): Using a photo with your arms outstretched is better than using one with your arms crossed.