Everyone always says communication is key, yet proper communication can be complicated.
Contrary to popular belief, communication goes much deeper than simply saying words. It’s been suggested that nearly 65% of communication happens through body language.
Knowing that, it becomes increasingly important to learn about body language and how to read it properly.
Some things are obvious, while others are much more subtle. Learning to pick up on the smaller things can help you immensely in social situations.
Much body language is universal. However, there are some differences between male and female body language – read on to learn more.
Body Language and Facial Expressions
Facial expressions are a key factor in determining the meaning of body language, so we’ll start there. Many facial expressions are quite easy to read.
If you see someone with a beaming smile, you can likely infer that they’re happy. Similarly, a sad expression is typically pretty easy to read, as well.
The same can be said for anger, disgust, surprise, confusion, fear, and excitement.
When expressed on the face, these emotions are easy to decipher. In some cases, they may even speak to the validity of what the person is saying.
For example – if they are telling you they’re happy, but their face says. Otherwise, you probably won’t be inclined to believe them.
Beyond these large and readable facial expressions, though, are slight subtleties and differences that you must pay attention to if you want a more specific or accurate reading of emotion. We’ll break it down into each part of the face:
We’ve all heard that the eyes are the window to the soul. While it may be a tired old cliche by now, it still holds some truth.
This saying came to be because of how telling the eyes can be, even if a person is trying hard to hide something.
When having a conversation with someone, close attention to the eyes can tell you a lot about what they may be thinking or feeling. Take note of the following things:
- The gaze. Steady eye contact during a conversation indicates that they are interested and invested in what you’re saying.
At the same time, prolonged, unchanging eye contact begins to feel threatening, so the odd break is often necessary to relieve tension.
But, frequent looking around and breaking of eye contact tells you that they’re distracted or uncomfortable and may not be properly taking in what you’re saying.
- Blinking. Of course, blinking is natural and necessary. We’re all familiar with a regular, steady, blinking pace.
Anything outside of this can be telling of emotion. Rapid blinking can mean someone is feeling upset or distressed.
On the other hand, purposely infrequent blinking tells you they may be hiding something as they are deliberately trying to show no emotion.
- The Pupils. These are very telling as they are out of a person’s control. One of the most popular signs to look for is that of desire or attraction.
A person’s pupils will dilate when they are attracted to someone they’re looking at or talking to.
Another thing you can watch out for is the mouth. A smile is obvious and points to comfort and positive emotions.
The mouth can do many other things, however, that are just as telling in different ways:
- Pursed or tightened lips. This indicates distrust, distaste, or general disapproval of a person or what they’re saying.
- Biting. If someone is biting their bottom lip, they may be worried, stressed, anxious, or all three.
- Covered mouth. People often cover their mouths when they want to hide their emotional state.
A hand over the mouth means onlookers can’t see if they’re smiling or frowning.
Their desire to hide their true feelings can point to distrust, anxiety, or discomfort.
- Turning slightly up or down. This is different from an outright smile or frown as it’s more subtle.
A small upturn in the mouth can mean mild happiness or optimism, whereas a slight downturn can indicate sadness or disapproval. It may even evolve into a full-on grimace.
When actively reading body language and watching the face, you must take into consideration all three of these factors and what they could mean as a whole.
While one isolated instance of broken eye contact or a turn of the mouth can mean one thing. They may mean something entirely different when put together and put into context.
Knowing how to read facial expressions is helpful in first-time meetings, but it can become easier the more you get to know a person and their habits.
Reading A Woman’s Body Language
Men and women are both full of unspoken signs, signals, and cues. The key is to watch for them and respond appropriately.
When it comes to women, knowing how to read body language is important. Especially if you’re zeroing in on one woman, in particular, pay close attention and take note of things to learn more about her and her specific expressions.
Once you’ve determined certain things from her body language – that she’s comfortable with you, for example – you can respond.
You can send her your own subtle, unspoken cues and then watch her body language to see how she responds.
One example of this is turning your body towards her. If she mirrors this and turns towards you, she’s interested. If she doesn’t, or if she turns away, she’s not.
As a man, here are some other things you can do to communicate with her, and then watch for reactions silently:
- Don’t cross your legs. This can come off as closed and defensive and may make her feel the same way.
- Gesture frequently with your hands. Don’t be afraid to make big gestures. Studies have shown that this portrays confidence and power.
- Be physical. This doesn’t mean you need to get touchy-feely out of nowhere or engage in any physical contact that isn’t requested or consented to, but don’t be afraid of it.
Even non-romantic touching like high-fives, hugs, and pats on the back between male and female friends can be a display of confidence and likeability.
- Posture. Standing straight with your shoulders back is a strong display of confidence, whereas slouching and hunching over portray the opposite.
Be aware of these things when you’re around women, and watch how their body language changes and reacts as a result.
It will go a long way in telling you how you’re making her feel and if she’s interested or not.
Types of Female Languages
Beyond facial expressions, there are still so many things to learn about body language.
Much of what goes on with the face can be said for both men and women.
However, there are many ways women use body language to convey thoughts and emotion that are much more specific to them:
This one is often overlooked because it’s not what many think of when they think about body language.
But, it’s something you can look out for to determine if she’s comfortable around you.
Men and women react differently to alcohol, for the most part. Women tend to become more relaxed and less on-guard and judgemental. This can leave her vulnerable.
So, if she’s comfortable with you, she’ll be comfortable consuming alcohol around you.
That being said, it can slow her down, so if you want to socialize and talk with her, don’t buy too many drinks too fast.
Pay attention to how she breathes. If she’s uncomfortable for any reason, her breathing will become shallow and be centered around the chest.
Deeper breathing that involves the stomach indicates a more comfortable and relaxed state. You’ll notice the stomach and chest moving as she takes full, even breaths.
Nervous Tics/Unconscious Habits
Most people have little things they do when they’re nervous that they don’t even know they’re doing.
A common one with women is picking or biting at nails and skin with her fingers when she’s nervous, stressed, or uncomfortable.
She may also get fidgety with her fingers. Either way, this type of behavior is a good outlet for a gentle hand grab or squeeze to reassure her that everything’s okay.
These small, slight touches have a way of slowing building connection and trust.
The Position of Her Feet
It may feel strange, but watch how she positions her feet and how they change. If you want to show interest and/or comfort towards her, angle your feet in towards her and see how she reacts.
And if she follows suit and does the same, the interest and comfort level is likely mutual.
If she angles her feet away from you, it’s a sign she’s feeling defensive, uncomfortable, and likely not interested.
She may take it a step further and turn her entire torso away from you. At this point, move on.
With women, eye contact is a huge one, particularly the amount of eye contact she’s making with you.
Paying close attention can tell you a few things about her feelings, her comfort level, her confidence, and her interest in you.
If she’s not interested, she’ll look around as you talk. She may look back a few times to be polite, but she’ll be more interested in what’s going on around her.
That being said, if her lack of eye contact is coupled with nervous fidgeting and shallow breathing, she may just be nervous or uncomfortable with the environment in general, not just with you.
On the other hand, if you find her looking you directly in the eyes without breaking it frequently, she’s interested and feeling pretty confident about it.
While it’s a great way to gauge romantic interest, you can also use these cues in social settings.
If anyone can’t seem to pay attention to you, you’re probably not saying anything interesting to them or asking questions that are stimulating enough.
Hands and Arms
Lastly, pay attention to the hands and arms – particularly the inside of them. This one becomes especially useful if you’ve gotten a little deeper into a conversation and spent a little more time with her.
As she becomes more comfortable with you, her emotional barriers will begin to break down.
You can see if this is happening by the positioning of her hands and arms. If you’re frequently able to see the inside of her hands, wrists, and forearms, it means she’s comfortable enough with you to show some vulnerability.
This is also a tactic that some people use when building trust with new clients. Purposely turning the inside of your hands and arms to someone wordlessly depicts trust and sincerity.
It’s always gone without saying that body language can be telling and highly communicative. But, many people aren’t proficient enough to use it to their advantage.
Now that you know specifically what to look for, you can begin to read the room more accurately and know how people are feeling, and perhaps what they’re thinking.
Frequently Asked Questions: Short Answers
1. How can one read a woman’s body language?
When it comes to women, things like eye contact and body position are extremely important and telling.
Pay attention to these things as your base for reading her body language.
Then, as the conversation progresses, pay attention to how things change and how she reacts to your cues and signals.
Her reactions to your movements, especially if you are deliberate about them, will tell you how she’s feeling about you.
2. How can you tell if a woman likes you?
If a woman likes you, she will often turn her body to face you, particularly her feet, wrists, and hands. This means she’s comfortable, and emotional barriers are coming down.
Also, she will maintain strong eye contact, her breathing will be even, and her pupils will dilate.
3. What are the four different types of body language?
Body language is complex with many facets, but there are four main areas to pay attention to posture, eye contact, physical touch, and facial expressions.