Reading body language: First dates can cause the butterflies to pile up in the stomach especially when you take into account how much the other person is reading your body language.
Your handshake is the first kinesthetic touch from you possible new partner. Then the eye contact but before you get into the next areas did you prepare correctly? It’s not just your body language counts but so does your nonverbal communication of clothing.
That means how did you dress for your date?
Did you dress for the occasion correctly?
Now for women dressing is super important and their body language will be defined by their clothes. For men you may not understand because for you it may be a matter of a pair of slacks or jeans an undershirt and a button up shirt and what about the shoes… that was too easy. The fact is it takes a woman long to put on her make up than it takes you to get dressed.
You say so what…
This has everything to do with your first date and you were about to blow it.
Now for women and their nonverbal communication of dressing the clothes, makeup, accessories and shoes are the big deal that is their non verbal communication. It’s not just the body language, if she feels good about herself then for her it will be a good first date no matter how good looking you are, how great the conversation was or even amazing coffee.
No remember you will react to the other persons body language male or female and then they will react to you. They may think that one action, signal, sign or movement means one thing because they could have heard a rumor as to what body language is. For a woman it will come down to how she feels when she dresses up.
Make the wrong comment and the great first date can be a really bad first date, but more on that later.
Now that you know what she had to go through for her outing what about you? There are a few things that you can do to screw it up. Here are a few ways:
Where or how you stand
As your first date approaches you how you are standing will make a difference, is your body language showing confidence?
Are you standing up straight?
Are you crammed in the corner?
Do you look scared or do you look calm?
Are you standing with a crowd or away from the crowd?
All of these things matter. If you are too far away from others it would seem that you are an outcast or possibly nervous as to meet with your first date. These cues of nonverbal action can break the date for you. If there are people at the meeting place sit just a few chairs away from them instead of sitting too far from them.
If you are going to stand and wait outside for the person being too close to the door may cause similar problems. All of these little things add up if you have never met the person before and they are a blind date or you have met on the internet.
Where and how you sit
So you have met and you passed the test and stood and waited in the right place. Now where to sit, this has everything to do with your nonverbal communication? If you sit too close to the other persons proximity this may make them nervous. If you sit too far away the other person will think that there is something wrong with you.
Now to sit the right way is your body facing theirs? Is your body facing away from the person for the first date? Now this does matter because if your body is facing away from theirs it may show that you are not into them. This may cause the person to react to your body language. The best way to sit would be a few degrees off so that you do not have full contact that may seem aggressive. You would then slowly move inwards in small increments until the both of you have built comfort and rapport as they turn inwards over time.
Turning into someone can happen in a moment or in a few minutes. Comfort may take a little longer for some to build over time than others. Depending on the man or the woman that you meet and what has happened previously in their life the timeline may change.
It is ok to sit next to the first date or away from them but remember too close or too far and there will be some repercussions.
For a guy sitting at a table sitting straight up with a slight relaxed posture would be fine the show confidence. The legs slightly spread keeps more comfort than crossing legs. For women it would be completely opposite typically crossed legs.
Slouching in the chair would have a few signs possibly of boredom or lack of interest. This body language to some would be considered offensive.
What you touch on your body and theirs
Touching the other person beyond the handshake or the hug may take some time to build up to. Now remember different regions, countries or areas may have different beliefs in touch so this guide for the first date may not apply to everyone.
For men to touch women there are few places that can be touched that would be considered appropriate and many places that would be considered inappropriate. For men to touch women the best place to keep out of trouble is the upper arm from the elbow to the shoulder. Inappropriate places would be the upper chest, the neck or the lower back along with the legs, areas near genitalia or the belly.
Now these are general guidelines in some situations they may be thrown out the window depending upon the intention of the date from both parties.
For women to touch men there is a little more latitude when it comes to touch. Women can touch many more places and be seen as flirting but when done wrong they may seem more like sexual advances. If she goes too far above the knee it may mean more than just a touch.
There is so much to body language of the first date and this has just scratched the surface. Non verbal communication has many moving parts from clothes, to locations where to stand, to how and where to sit and even a hairstyle.
As always I would like to thank you in advance for your comments and or questions about the body language of the first date.
Scott Sylvan Bell
Now go implement!
Photo credits: Man Massaging Her Wife by Ambro, Couples Sat Hand In Hand And Smile by nuttakit