Here are five simple things that add up to great dating body language to consider before a date, that can help to make a positive impression and build connection.
Don’t hide your smile
Did you know that when couples look back on their initial meeting, it’s often the smile they remember? One man reminiscing about the time he met his wife said, “The very first thing I remember about her is seeing her coming down a flight of stairs, smiling while she did so, and I felt the smile was just for me.”
Another woman, scanning a roomful of acquaintances for somewhere to sit, found herself gravitating towards one man’s smiling expression. Years later, it was that welcoming smile that she identified as the first action which drew her to him, her future husband.
Do remember to consider hygiene too. One dater told me: “Cared-for teeth and breath are so important too.”
‘Openness’ is a quality that daters mention again and again, meaning a willingness to share something of oneself plus being open and accepting of the other person. While openness is paradoxically an inner state of mind, you can still project this quality outwardly through your body language.
Let your physical presence suggest this openness. It can start with the environment you’re meeting in. When eating with someone, I sometimes move tableware to one side if it’s acting as a mini-barrier between us.
Think about how your positioning yourself. Avoid folding your arms across your body, which looks as though you’re closing yourself off.
Hands are another ‘openness’ indicator when you’re having an interesting conversation: gestures add movement and interest and are literally a way of reaching out to the other person to communicate with them.
Show open acceptance of the other person by nodding and leaning in, where appropriate, to reassure them they have your full attention. This is a good time for your phone do a disappearing act so you’re not distracted!
The slow movement
Sometimes we rush through life under the impression this makes us appear on top of things when underneath we are much more unsure. This can unintentionally work against when it comes to dating. I speak from experience of my own early dating days when someone hinted my always-on-the-go demeanour was coming across as on edge and impatient for the date to end.
I learned to slow the tempo. Strolling to a restaurant table instead of marching over. Walking beside someone at a relaxed pace rather than forcing a route-march. Responding more gently in conversation instead of flooding it full of my own opinions.
I found relaxed body language not only had the effect of relaxing me but also appeared to relax the other person and this was good for the dating process.
Eye contact and ‘soft attention’
Eye contact is a special part of the interaction between two people but it’s worth bearing in mind that some wonderful people can find it rather intense to maintain, especially with someone new, and it’s no reflection on their or your character.
So, if eye-contact doesn’t come naturally, try this: let your date’s face come to you — receive, don’t pierce, with the eyes. And let the surroundings be part of what you see, as well as your date’s face. This is known as ‘soft attention’ and is a gentle way of making eye-contact if you find too much too intense in the early stages of getting to know someone.
Most important of all – what’s inside matters most
Allow me to play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ (or ‘Angel Whisperer’) for a moment and say: body language is only a wrapper. It is what is inside that truly counts. I suspect Scribes and Pharisees came across as socially smooth whereas the apostles were less polished at parties.
We are all on a sliding scale and can struggle with openness, relaxed body language, and eye-contact in the early stages of getting to know someone. This doesn’t mean we are not beautiful on the inside and if we make judgements based purely on body language we might miss out on a greater treasure.
What are your top tips for great dating body language?
Read more Christian dating advice by Katrina Robinson here.