Guide to Social Activity/Body Language

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Wikibooks Guide to Social Activity

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Interpersonal Body Language


Women on average are better at body language than men; it could even be said to be an innate knowledge. Thus, understanding body language is of great importance if you want to approach attractive women.

It's up to men to decipher the implied meanings of their actions, but sadly, most men are generally lacking in this area.

The consequence would be this: a man feeling that everything is going perfectly -- until the woman suddenly leaves him.

When you meet a woman who interests you, one of the first things you should do is to observe the way she carries herself; the way she moves, stands, makes conversation with others, dilated pupils, shiny eyes, so on and so forth.

Your own body language


List of things to consider:

  • Eye contact
  • Eyebrows
  • Smiling
  • Avoiding movement during a sitting interaction
  • Hands
  • Feet tend to point out their direction, so it's important that this language be conciliatory.
  • Look forward and at one direction.
  • Do not wiggle or jerk around.
  • Maintain symmetry. If one side of the body does not match the other, that suggests that you only have half interest in the other person, that you are distracted with something else and not saying why.
  • One suggestion is to look natural, which means to not think about this list.

If you stay in one place, then you can let the other person or persons find a comfortable distance from you. Continue to stay in one place while talking with the other person. If leaving the person, leave discretely, before the other person becomes completely disinterested with you.

Good posture potentially improves your confidence and the impression you make. Sit and stand straight, keep your shoulders back and your chest up. If you avoid reacting to your own humorous remarks, the other persons might react more.

Do not change the angle of your body. That is, if the other person approached you first, and your body does not face the body of the other person, then do not reorient yourself. If you must reorient yourself, leave and return. It is best to show other persons that you are stable and consistent.

Body language of other person


The meaning of some of the body language in this list has not yet been documented here.

  • licking lips
  • maintaining eye contact
  • looking at you "from below" (persons might be trying to exaggerate the height difference between you)
  • playing with hair
  • touching your upper arm

In a social setting, try comparing the other person's body language with a third person with its interactions with you.

The "personal space" test consists of moving a little bit closer to another person at a social setting so that you are standing close and reducing the size of the space around another person. A person less interested in you will attempt to move away.

People instinctively raise their eyebrows when they meet interesting people. Use this to attempt to measure the interest that other people have with you. Interested or excited people will also have shiny eyes. The eyes have a tiny gland on the bottom of the eyelid secreting liquids such as tears and lubrication. When a person is interested or excited, the glands tend to secrete liquid thus giving the eyes the shiny appearance. Maintaining eye contact shows a person's confidence level.

Closed versus Open


Some persons form a barrier: arms crossed, legs crossed, or holding an object in front of themselves. Their body is closed. It is better to seek persons who have arms apart, legs uncrossed, and are facing in your direction; their body is open.

As an exception, if two persons like themselves well, then they might close their bodies while standing or sitting opposite each other. These persons are acting open; their bodies are only closed because they are closed to themselves.

Leaning Forward versus Away


When sitting at a table, persons can either lean forward or away. If you lean forward, then you are more visible to other persons at the table; it is easier to converse with other persons who lean forward.

When comfort and trust have not yet been secured, leaning forward can be taken subconsciously as a sign of hostility. This can be used to subconsciously manipulate or train the other person's actions to your liking.

In contrast, leaning backward, away from the table, is a sign of disinterest. However, a person that leans backward but has their body open might simply be relaxing. Try using some jokes or humor to gain the interest of this person so that they begin leaning forward.

Therefore, if you want to invite someone home, or plan another social meeting with them, suggest making the invitation when the other person or persons are leaning forward with open bodies. Invite the person to meet with you for coffee or some other beverage, or tell them to write their telephone number, even if they must write it with your pen on your arm.



Rapport is the technique of mimicking the body language of the other person. If your body language mirrors the body language of other persons in the conversation, then you are implementing rapport. For example:

  • If you are approaching a sitting person, you sit too.
  • If the body of the other person is closed, avoid being open; that would seem intrusive.

Other persons sometimes check if you mirror their body language, and have more interest in persons with rapport. For the converse, you can check if the other person mirrors you.

Rapport is more than mirroring the person you in a conversation with. Mirroring is just one of the things that can be done to Establish Rapport. Rapport is establishing a common ground with someone to make them feel comfortable and connected to you. People like those that are like themselves, so by showing body language similarities along with the common eye contact techniques,among many others, while carrying a conversation, rapport can be established.



Binocular Disparity

The difference between the two retinal images of an object. Because the right and the left eye are at slightly different positions from each other, they have to turn inwards in order to keep focus on an object as it approaches closer. The closer the object the more the eyes turn inwards. A listener can tell how alert the other person is by the angle or the eyes turning inwards. Binocular Disparity is what allows us to have three dimensional vision.

While talking to a person, subconsciously one can tell if the other person is paying attention. The more a listener focuses their vision on the speaker, the more the eyes turn inwards. A listener whose eyes are both turned straight forward reveals that he's not paying attention. Even though there is eye contact, the eyes should be turned in slightly in order to focus on the speaker.

Binocular Disparity can be used to subconsciously communicate relaxation or aggression. By focusing the eyes on a dot on the other person's face, one is perceived to be alert. Maintaining focus on the dot for longer time would make the person appear as aggressive or even angry such as zeroing in on a target.

On the contrary, looking at the whole face of the other person, and unfocusing the eyes, makes one come across as relaxed and friendly or even easy going. Unfocusing the eyes can be used as an aid in argument resolution. The decreased angle of the eyes turning inward makes one look as having relaxed. As a result, the other person sees a relaxed look of the eyes and tends to relax himself.

See Also: Pupil Dilation, Shining Eyes

Cut Off / Facing Away

A form of gaze avoidance or intrusion avoidance in which the head or the whole body is turned fully away to one side.

A sudden cut-off gesture in conversation may indicate uncertainty or disagreement with a speaker's remarks. Sustained cut-off may reveal shyness or disliking.

A cut off is a form of angular distance. People also turn away as a form of being considerate and giving the other person space in a setting where moving away physically is impractical. During an intermission, the candidates in a debate would respectfully turn away, so as to give each other room to breathe.

In salesmanship, looking suddenly up and to the side is a signal of the prospects skepticism. The sales agent themselves could turn their head or the whole body to the side to make their presence less pushy to the prospect. While walking away discourages prospects because of the retreating nature, the cut off can be used as a substitute for angular distance.

Facing away is a reaction to spatial invasion either one's own of the other persons. After the host and the various guests embrace, they back off and one or both always look away as an equilibrium-maintaining technique to re-establish a proper level of proximity.

Males and people of greater physical size turn their heads away to the side more than do females and people of smaller stature who in turn find it more comfortable and easier to create distance by walking.

Both gaze aversion and torso rotation increase dramatically in conditions of crowding.

Dancing as a Seduction Tool

Dancing is one of those things that can either greatly enhance or totally destroy your chances to score depend on how good you are at it. Many guys would actually be better off just standing around trying to look cool, if the alternative is dancing badly. Women treat dancing as a form of "safe sex" (a fun, sensual activity without any of the risks or downsides of actual sex), and a guy's ability to close-contact dance with women is often viewed by them as an indicator of sexual ability.

There's a certain breed of guy called "the dance partner". This guy likes to hang out all night in clubs, dance for hour after hour with many women, and go home with none of them. He might either be gay, or simply have no idea on how to translate the dancing into sex. Or simply like dancing.

A famous receiver for the Oakland Raiders named Fred Biletnikoff used to say that "if you can put your hands on a pass, you should be able to catch it. If you have a woman in your arms, you should be able to get her into your bed. Dancing is an excellent way to get her into your arms. If she is with a group of girls, ask everyone at the table to dance one by one and work over to the one you want. If they are sitting there drinking and talking, watching the dance floor and keeping time to the music, they are ready to dance. Go ask, if they say no, laugh and have your comeback line ready. I have had girls that said no come back to me and want to know why I didn't ask them again. Usually those are the one's that go home with you too. I would say that 9 1/2 out of ten girls I ask to dance, go out on the floor with me. Energize them, then let things flow. Firm but gentle works most of the time."

Ears, Right Ear vs. Left Ear

If you're stuck chatting up a "mumbler" (someone who will mumble their words instead of speaking clearly) at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It's better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you're trying to identify a song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.

Eyebrow Raise

The tendency for people to raise their eyebrows as one approaches them face-to-face is usually indicative of esteem. If you walk down the street and encounter someone you don't know then the chances are that neither of you will raise your eyebrows. If you recognize each other, however, even if you do not greet each another, then eyebrows will likely raise and lower. Of particular interest here in a business-place context is that if one person is not rated highly by the other person then that person will not raise their eyebrows, even though they acknowledge the presence of the first person.

While meeting a person, briefly raise and lower the eyebrows to communicate greetings as the person enters your scope of vision. When accompanied by a slight backwards head tilt, the greeting gesture can be made to come across as very sincere and genuine. Both the zygomatic smile and the eyebrow movement are very popular body language tools used by sales people and politicians.

Hugging (Rocking)

Primate holding in the arms, a natural mothering response, is met with clinging, an infantile sign of needing to be mothered. Thus, embracing is the evolutionary correct way to say "I love you," and the proper primate way to say "I need you" as well. As humans embrace, a gentle rocking motion from side to side occurs. Swaying, a positive sign, stimulates pleasure centers linked to the inner ear's vestibular sense. Not only do we rock babies, but also the adults we love.


The importance of body language is recognized worldwide - there will not be a training for sales people and management in which the study of body language is absent, for instance. In 1970 Julius Fast wrote his famous book "Body Language." In it he writes about the study of the language of the body and called it: kinesica. More recent developed theories on human functioning have given life to Neuro Linguistic Programming. NLP uses body language as its main source of information to tell more about the way we operate as people, by ourselves or when we are together. For instance, we adjust our body position all the time to our environment when we are in company or in a public place. It has been researched that we have a higher success rate of getting our message across to another when we take on a similar position as him/her. Unconsciously we copy the others movements like crossing and uncrossing legs, turning our bodies this way or that. In NLP this process is called mirroring and could also be referred to as building rapport.

Love Signals

A great deal of our nonverbal communication bespeaks sexuality. Despite speech, courtship is best transacted in an unspoken medium through, e.g., lip-pouts, head-tilts, and shoulder-shrugs. Verbally saying "I love you" before showing love nonverbally in gesture, posture, and deed is apt to scare a partner away.

The lesson here? Don't tell a girl "I love you" too soon. Instead use body language gestures and nonverbal communication to show your feelings of interests. If you tell her your feelings, but you're too nervous and your body language in not in tune, she might perceive your verbal speech as insincere. First try to use non verbal signals. See also Rapport and Mirroring.


"Keep shoulders broad but posture not *too* straight; keep eye contact; look other men in the eye and don't do the "down & away"; don't cover face unless you are acting mischievous; slow movements; deep tonality; move from either the hips or the shoulders (generally); broad arm movements; move with a sense that you occupy a great deal of space -- that you have a large domain or territory; make your eyes expressive of emotion and not of excitement; learn to really dance (waltz, salsa, samba, flamenco, etc.) and this'll become second nature."

Right Brain vs. Left Brain

This theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different "modes" of thinking.

Experimentation has shown that the two different sides, or hemispheres, of the brain are responsible for different manners of thinking. The following table illustrates the differences between left-brain and right-brain thinking:

Left Brain:






Looks at parts

Right Brain: Random





Looks at wholes

Some individuals have a distinct preference for one of these styles of thinking. Some, are more whole-brained and equally adept at both modes. In general, academia tend to favor left-brain modes of thinking, while downplaying the right-brain ones. Left-brain scholastic subjects focus on logical thinking, analysis, and accuracy. Right-brained subjects, on the other hand, focus on aesthetics, feeling, and creativity.

Pacing and Leading

Pacing and leading is one of the keys to influencing people. It refers to meeting them at their map of the world (pacing) and then taking them where you want them to go (leading.) Rapport is a basic, behavioural signal that you have met someone at their map of the world. The simplest, most effective test for rapport is "if you lead, they follow."

2) Choose a safe situation to practise mirroring an element of someone else's behaviour. When you have mirrored them for a while, and think you are in rapport with the person, scratch your nose. If they lift their hand to their face within the next minute or so, congratulate yourself: you have led their behaviour!

Skilled communicators have a wide range of behaviours they can mirror to build rapport. You can find a way to mirror virtually anything you can observe.

3) Increase the range of behaviours that you can mirror, and introduce deliberate rapport-building into situations where it will benefit you and others (nb. Use your common sense and choose low-risk situations to practice in.)

Note: It is possible to get rapport without pacing by being outrageous and/or dynamic in a way that drawn in the audience and catches their attention.

See Also: Mirroring, Rapport

Pupil Dilation

The dilation of the pupils is an increase in the diameter of the pupils as they get bigger to take in more light as it gets darker. Dilating pupils is also indicative of interest. One can subconsciously tell if the other person is eager to see them by the size of the pupils in the other persons eyes. When the pupils are large in normal lighting conditions, the persons eagerness and alert perception is noticed. A person with fake interest would be smiling and showing positive gestures, but their pupils would remain small, thus giving the person away.

Pupil Dilation combined with Shining Eyes and Binocular Disparity could be used in communicating enthusiasm and warmth towards the subject.

Push Pull Technique

In the song Yellow by Coldplay, Chris Martin demonstrates using body language a Push Pull example.

"Because I love you so". Stops, looks back, turns around, gives you a chance to leave, gives you space. Then when he sees that you really do want him, you would wait for him and you in the camera are there slowing down to stay with him. The camera was moving gradually along the beach and he was walking forward along the beach. Both he and the camera were together, that is how we could see him, and now that he slows down, we see that we are slowing down for him. But he doesn't make us, the audience wait, he is the one who comes back. The camera is staying there, looking at him and he comes back, tight after he looks around first: Push, Pull.

Make your move, then if the girl's not going for it by saying yes right away, just give some space. If she waits for you to come back; she's yours.


Upon re-entering our home (after several hours of absence), we feel a peculiar need to wander about the space to "check" for intruders. In mammals, this behavior is known as reconnaissance: ". . . in which the animal moves round its range in a fully alerted manner so that all its sense organs are used as much as possible, resulting in maximal exposure to stimuli from the environment. It thus 'refreshes its memory' and keeps a check on everything in its area. This is a regular activity in an already familiar environment, which does not require the stimulus of a strange object.

Shining Eyes

The eyes have a tiny gland on the bottom of the eyelid secreting liquids such as tears for use as lubrication. When a person is interested or excited, the glands tend to secrete liquid thus giving the eyes a shiny appearance.

During courtship, shining eyes are used extensively to indicate a sign or attraction in the other person. When describing a guy, the girl might say "there was something in his eyes." "The lover's eyes" is another term used to mark their characteristic appearance.

In practice, it is very hard to have shining eyes without having genuine intentions, therefore there is the belief that people can tell one another's motives subconsciously through face to face interaction.

Shining Eyes combined with Pupil Dilation and Binocular Disparity subconsciously communicate enthusiasm and warmth towards the subject.


The body plans of most animals, including humans, exhibit mirror symmetry, also called bilateral symmetry. They are symmetric about a plane running from head to tail (or toe).

Bilateral symmetry is so prevalent in the animal kingdom that many scientists think that it can't be a coincidence. After all, there are infinitely more ways to construct an asymmetrical body than a symmetrical one. And yet, fossilized evidence shows that bilateral symmetry had already taken hold in animals as early as 500 million years ago.

Therefore, bilateral symmetry must have evolved for a reason, the thinking goes. And over the years, scientists have come up with a number of hypotheses about what that reason might be. According to one, a body that is bilaterally symmetrical is easier for the brain to recognize while in different orientations and positions, thus making visual perception easier.

Another popular hypothesis is that symmetry evolved to help with mate selection. Experiments with birds and insects revealed that females prefer to mate with males possessing the most symmetrical sexual ornaments. Peahens, for example, prefer peacocks with more extravagant and symmetrical tails, and female barn swallows prefer males with long, symmetrical tail feathers.

Human experiments also show similar patterns.

Experiments have found that women are more attracted to men who have features that are more symmetrical than other men. One study even found that women have more orgasms during sex with men who were more symmetrical, regardless of their level of romantic attachment or the guys' sexual experience.

The connection between body symmetry and mate selection began to make sense when researchers started finding correlations between symmetry and health. One study found that men with asymmetric faces tend to suffer more from depression, anxiety, headaches and even stomach problems. Women with facial asymmetry are less healthy and more prone to emotional instability and depression.

Another study found that the more asymmetric a person's body was, the more likely they were to show signs of aggression when provoked.

Symmetry is also prevalent in the physical sciences and is woven into the very laws that govern our universe.


Tapping is a defensive gesture or a warning sign for a person not to come any closer. It doesn't necessarily mean that one wants the other person to leave, unless the tapping becomes very loud and even audible from a distance, which is then the area from which the person doing the tapping wants the people around them to clear.

It is not an aggressive signal, but that of mainly wanting to hold things off, not come any close, keep things the way they are. The auditory effect of the tapping also has the verbal effect of not wanting to be disturber with conversation. The sound itself is meant to block of other sound as another person might try to speak and has a psychological effect of distracting the brains auditory cortex. It's like turning on the radio to distract oneself from noisy neighbors arguing across the hall, or pretending to be listening to a walkman when someone is trying to start a conversation.

Tapping in a physical sense also serves to designate one's territory. In a classroom setting or an office environment, one might tap their pencil against the side of the table meaning that he/she's busy so that nobody sits next to them in order to maintain the concentration.

Tense Eyes

The eyes themselves don't tense as much as the eye lids around them and in tense situation, more particularly the lower eye lids. The eye lids close in around the eyes limiting their vision and in effect having an expression of zeroing in or targeting someone. When the eye lids are smaller it's hard to see the surrounding area, so the person has one location in their scope of vision in mind. It is the opposite of open body language and a sign of closed body language. In open body language a person is friendly willing and receptive. When the eyes are smaller, they are showing that they are not receptive. They are focused on one particular area of importance usually because it is perceived as a threat or a source of trouble.

The eyes can also be tense sometimes when a person is concentrating on a task, such as reading an important document, or working on an assignment, however, when dealing with personal interaction, tense eyes are very specifically associated with unfriendliness or hostility. Tensing of the eyelids could also help one so see better as the tension helps in the shaping of the eyes to focus. When a person is working on a task and not involved in a social setting, tense eyes would indeed be a method for the person to focus better. In a social setting people have adapted to use tense eyes as a means of communicating suspicion or wariness, particularly of an intellectual basis as opposed to emotional or personal.

A tense or unfriendly expression in the eyes is a sign that the person is disliking something that is something analytical or of technical nature. For instance when one's wife has tense eyes it could mean that she doesn't trust her husband in something like doing the bills or renovating the house. It doesn't mean that she's suspecting him of having an affair or believes he's forming an emotional attachment with another woman. The eyes mainly reveal thought processes and not matters of the hearth, unless a person evaluates their personal relationships on an analytical level, which is rarely so.

Tense Mouth

Tense mouth is indicative of hostility or disagreement. It is closely related to the usage of the lower teeth which are associated with unfriendliness. It is an attempt to hide or not show off the lower teeth or make an offensive gesture with the mouth while in conversation with someone not particularly liked.

A tense mouth is visible through flattening and thinning of the lips. As opposed to full lips, the person is subconsciously tensing their lips in effect making them seem smaller and less visible. The lips are a very friendly and encouraging part of the face. When a person doesn't like someone, they inevitably find it hard to show their lips as a way of saying that they are not happy and they are not inviting. At the same time the person is trying not to show off their lower teeth too much, although this might happen, as this could be a very offensive and at times inappropriate display of facial expression.

The opposite of a tense mouth would be the lower lip protrusion, plumping lips (as in flirting), showing upper teeth and in effect smiling.

Through Look

Psychological technique to get oneself unattached to a particular person by not avoiding them in the field of vision, and at the same time to slowing down to make eye contact, so as to be uninfluenced. Used very often by public speakers. Public speakers are trained to make eye contact, to scan the room and at the same time not fixate on any one particular person or area. The purpose is to give everyone recognition and a chance to speak up, if a member of the audience has a question, but not to be otherwise distracted by any one particular person or object.

Touch (First Touch)

The first touch—a milestone in courtship—is likely to seem casual, unpremeditated, and "accidental" rather than serious. An eager hand reaches out to a neutral body part (a forearm or shoulder, e.g.) which reacts by accepting the contact or by pulling away. Sensitive pads of our fingertips used as tactile antennae gauge the slightest startle, tenseness, or hesitation of response.

Negative replies include angling away, leaning away, and no reaction.

Positive responses include

  • lifting the shoulders, shoulder shrug
  • sideward head-tilt, and
  • returning the touch with a touch.

Thus, partners learn a great deal from the first manual contact, which deftly probes beneath spoken words to feelings. Touching another's body captures full attention, and is the evolutionary true test of where a partner stands.


Research shows: "Wives under stress are soothed by husbands' touch."

Casual touching is one of the most powerful attraction triggers. The soothing effect of the touch could be seen in MRI scans of areas deep in the brain that are involved in registering emotional and physical alarm.

The 'touch' most commonly referred to is hand holding. There are other important reasons for holding her hand, but as this research confirms, it has an INSTANT soothing affect.

It is believed that casual touching, and hand holding in particular has a massive effect on success in long term relationships.

Researcher notes that this effect is many times more powerful with married couples, but even a complete stranger STILL had an effect on the woman's brain. It is possible for a total stranger, can trigger a soothing effect on any woman, DEEP in her subconscious mind, simply through the use of a simple touch.

Verbal Plumage - The lip sinking that is attractive in men and unattractive in women

Verbal Plumage is quite simply using exaggerated facial expressions and lips and mouth movement to talk with the face. We all move our lips and faces when we talk to deliver the sound. Verbal plumage is just that same facial behaviors to a greater volume especially when saying pleasant, soft or deep sounds. What ever kind of movement you make with your mouth and lips when you say words like "you", "on", "feel", "between", "inside", "deep", "always", "forever", "no other" etc. Girls like those words. They are just words to us guys, but to them they have special significance when we say it. The word "special" is another word.

When you say those words exaggerate the lip movement part of the word as if it has special significance for you too. Girls love that. They feel special when they hear those words, and you adding verbal plumage to it makes the word that much more profound as if you really mean it.

Verbal plumage doesn't have to be any particular words. Verbal plumage on its own is simply talking with the face by definition. To use it in the context of seduction would be to increase verbal plumage at particular words and phrases that have deep meaning and feeling attached to them.

Imagine you are talking to a deaf persona and you are trying to make your self understood. Imagine the extra kind of lip sinking you would do to express yourself. Do just that, but only do it with the right words when you are saying words that are pleasant to girls when they hear them. Here are some more words that girls like when you say them:

intention true reality no choice I want appreciation sincere trust come on yes

In comparison, words like: call, go out, maybe, I don't know, no, number, meet etc. Girls don't like those words. They hear them all the time when guys try to hit on them and get their digits. Say less of those words, and when you do use them you are a ventriloquist at the time.

Girls are already very expressive and feeling when they talk. It's not attractive in a woman to use verbal plumage because that makes her even more touchy feely clingy when she talks. But in a guy, it makes him come by as caring and in touch with his feelings when talking to women.

Voice Training

Right before you call stand up and hum a little bit at a moderate to deep tone -- it'll improve the sound of your voice over the phone

Zygomatic Smile

A very "pleasant" smile, and one of the most sincere types of smiles which is very hard to produce on demand, is the zygomatic smile. A zygomatic smile is the real item, a genuine heartfelt smile that involves upturned corners of the mouth, wrinkling at the eyes, or crow's feet, and utilizes very many more facial muscles than we can easily control voluntarily. It is therefore virtually impossible to fake the zygomatic smile, and most of us, while not necessarily knowing it, can distinguish it from a "phony" smile.

See Also