18 Body Language Mistakes I Bet You’re Making

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Lucy thought I loved theater as much as she did. I showed her a small storm of theater wisdom that I had, which apparently conveyed to her that I want to know all about it. While she was entertaining me with knowledge I will never use, I was thinking of how I could show her my lack of interest. Thinking of only rude gestures, I started consciously thinking of how she sees me at the moment. I looked calm, open, and of course as sharp as a freshly sharpened knife. I decided to finally change the direction of the stream: “…yes, we will have to go see Fiddler on the Roof. I always wondered about how actors portray feelings of discomfort and shyness. How do you do it?” The words flew out, and immediately Lucy got up and started showing me techniques she’s used. She looked good doing it, and I almost believed her every time. I thought of what I would do if I wanted to be shy and tense. While I felt like Lucy was playing charades, the question made my mind drift off…

Body Language – Face

1. Relax your face. Licking your lips, making noises with your mouth, sniffling- all of these nervous behaviors are unnecessary. Advise yourself against using them.
2. Don’t blink too often. You’re not trying to Morse code your speech. Use your tone of voice, well-articulated words, and clever word choice- not rapid eye movement.
3. Don’t smile too often. You will meet people who will tell you, “Smile as often as you can.” Not in this case. If you’re smiling all the time, you’re trying to appeal to people. Think of a used car salesman who won’t quit smiling. What’s the general opinion of that guy? Besides, you want to be a leader, not a follower who is trying too hard to get others to like him. I still encourage smiling, but make it purposeful and subtle. By subtle I mean as less of a shark grin as you can- a half-smile will do you wonders.

Body Language – Eyes

4. Don’t look around while having a conversation. Next time you’re talking to a girl, relax your eyes. This will give you a calm, confident look and will prevent your eyes from moving. Use a half-smile and calm eyes, and you will exert sexual but comfortable tension.
5. Look down as least as possible. Go back to elementary school painting class when you’d draw a horizon (hopefully I wasn’t the only one drawing sandy beaches). You would draw a horizontal line in the middle or slightly higher than the center of a paper. Now look in front of you and imagine the same line through what you see. Try to keep your eyes looking at that level. This will keep your eyes up, chin up, and your shoulders will want to draw back; this is a trick to look confident, which after some time can become a habit.
6. Before you answer a question a woman has asked, don’t look away. There is a tendency to look away while we think of a response. This can translate as a lack of confidence. If you find yourself doing this, and most people do, try a half-smile. This will do certain things for you: it will seem like you’re looking away since her question made you think of something; your eyes will become smaller since your facial muscles tense up; your smile can be a reward for showing interest by asking a question.

Body Language – Speech

7. Don’t use many complex sentences. Try to limit yourself to speaking in short and clear sentences. Seduction isn’t a logical subject, so you shouldn’t be using much logic, unless it’s witty, in your dialogue. One of my favorite authors said, “An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.” Be an artist.
8. Don’t speak in a monotone voice. You’re not a politician, and you’re not your high school teacher. You will seem emotionally empty and boring.
9. Lose the “ummm” and the “uhhh.” Don’t be an animal making noises. You don’t want to convey that your brain can’t fire fast enough. It’s better to not say anything for a second, gather your thoughts, and then speak like a man should.
10. Don’t speak fast. This shows indecisiveness and inability to formulate your speech, so you’re spitting all the information your brain is processing at that moment. The woman you’re speaking to will miss more than half of the words you’ll say.
11. Don’t take long pauses when you don’t know how to answer a question. If this ever happens, either since you didn’t expect it or don’t know what to say, reiterate the question. Your answer will find itself. With experience, however, you’ll be prepared better and better.

Body Language – Hands

12. Don’t touch your face during conversation. This only translates your tension to the woman.
13. Don’t hide your hands. Take them out of your pockets. Other than it being rude, it also shows that you’re nervous and don’t know what to do with your hands.
14. Limit the hand gestures and their radius. This can automatically draw your own personal bubble, which hints to the woman to stay away from it.

Body Language – Other:

15. When you’re not in a rush, don’t walk fast. Try to find the speed you’re typically walking, and walk just a notch calmer.
16. If you need to turn your head to answer, don’t turn it in a fast motion. Take a pause and turn it calmly.
17. When you’re talking while walking, don’t be afraid to use your whole body. Use your torso and your hands. In this case, you want to make the conversation more engaging, since you’re not just talking.
18. Watch your posture. Don’t be stiff, and more importantly, don’t slouch. Do this very quickly. Stand up and let your arms hang loose. Look down at your hands. Turn them outward until the back of your hands are parallel to your body. This should turn your shoulders into the position you want them to be. Remember this throughout the day and try to do it as much as possible- shortly it should become a habit.

It can be hard to fix these little suckers, but with time it will come. Remember that you can bring most behavior into a habit- it’s just a matter of catching yourself and consciously making the changes.

By Andre Yashin

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  • Nathan

    Okay, so I’m a regular user here and I’m not sure where you’re getting your facts. But some of them are blatantly wrong or just misleading.

    Don’t smile too often: While this is a bit true. When you smile you are showing that you’re relaxed and open. Why would I want to have a deadened expression on my face?

    Licking your lips, making noises with your mouth, sniffling- all of these nervous behaviors are unnecessary: While true, none of these are inherently ‘nervous’ behaviors.

    Before you answer a question a woman has asked, don’t look away. There is a tendency to look away while we think of a response. This can translate as a lack of confidence: Actually it translates to much worse, deception or thinking of an excuse.

    Lose the “ummm” and the “uhhh: Wrong, wrong, wrong. The reason we say umm or uhh, is because it signals that we are getting ready to answer. In fact, saying umm or uhh, makes you more trustworthy and honest appearing.

    Don’t touch your face during conversation. This only translates your tension to the woman: Nope, not true at all. Touching your face in fact sends very strong non-verbal communication, anything from flirtation, to thoughtfulness, to analysis.

    Don’t hide your hands. Take them out of your pockets. Other than it being rude, it also shows that you’re nervous: No, it shows that you’re bored.

    Limit the hand gestures and their radius. This can automatically draw your own personal bubble, which hints to the woman to stay away from it: Actually, you want to talk with your hands a lot. It signals that you’re open and inviting toward closer contact and communication, especially if done with wide gestures.

  • Andre Yashin

    Hey Nathan, thanks for your reply. I will do my best to reply to the counterarguments you’ve made.

    “Don’t smile too often: While this is a bit true. When you smile you are showing that you’re relaxed and open. Why would I want to have a deadened expression on my face?”

    Saying don’t smile too often, I didn’t write to not smile at all. There are people that will tell you that you should smile as often as you can, which leads to many people smiling when there is no reason to. I wrote that I still encourage smiling, as I agree with you that it can make a woman feel comfortable. Don’t have a gloomy expression on your face, but also don’t walk around the street looking like a circus clown.

    “Licking your lips, making noises with your mouth, sniffling- all of these nervous behaviors are unnecessary: While true, none of these are inherently ‘nervous’ behaviors.”

    I was agreeing with Carol Kinsey Goman and Scott Sylvan Bell when I wrote that. I agree that it doesn’t HAVE to mean that they are inherently “nervous” behaviors, but two things first: 1. Most people don’t do these things as an ordinary behavior, and often they are considered as nervous tics. 2. While you may know that this behavior isn’t out of nervousness, other people don’t know what you’re thinking and will interpret your body language as they see it. Just like I might have a habit of tapping my pen while I am thinking, the popular belief will be that I do it because I am nervous.

    “Before you answer a question a woman has asked, don’t look away. There is a tendency to look away while we think of a response. This can translate as a lack of confidence: Actually it translates to much worse, deception or thinking of an excuse.”

    You’re right, it can be interpreted as other things as well. Once again, information is from Carol Kinsey Goman and Mark Bowden. Since having strong eye contact is typically a sign of confidence, looking away is typically perceived as a lack of it. Deception is also true, and some will even say that we look away when certain areas of our brains are triggered, but it will most usually be perceived as a lack of confidence.

    “Lose the “ummm” and the “uhhh: Wrong, wrong, wrong. The reason we say umm or uhh, is because it signals that we are getting ready to answer. In fact, saying umm or uhh, makes you more trustworthy and honest appearing.”

    I would love to see a source on that. Here are mine:

    -“Does it hurt to say um?” by Nicholas Christenfeld, Ph.D., works at UCSD (published and found in Journal of Nonverbal Behavior)
    -“Using uh and um in spontaneous speaking” by Herbert H. Clark and Jean E. Fox Tree, Ph.Ds. from Stanford and UCSC, respectively (published in Cognition)
    -“Disfluency Rates in Conversation: Effects of Age, Relationship, Topic, Role, and Gender” by Bortfeld et al., Ph.Ds. from Brown, New School of Social Research, SUNY Stony Brook (Published in Language and Speech)

    “Don’t touch your face during conversation. This only translates your tension to the woman: Nope, not true at all. Touching your face in fact sends very strong non-verbal communication, anything from flirtation, to thoughtfulness, to analysis.”

    I don’t see how it would. Many people perceive touching your face as nervousness, sign of tension, or deception. Sure, you can flirt by touching your face (although I think there are easier ways to flirt), think, and analyze, but it’s typically perceived as the things I aforementioned. Would also love to see any information on this, because most businessmen and interpersonal coaches will tell you to not touch your face during conversation.

    “Don’t hide your hands. Take them out of your pockets. Other than it being rude, it also shows that you’re nervous: No, it shows that you’re bored.”

    Sure, it can show that you’re bored, which is what I meant by saying it’s rude. It also shows reluctance and nervousness. We can both agree that’s it’s not something you want to do.

    “Limit the hand gestures and their radius. This can automatically draw your own personal bubble, which hints to the woman to stay away from it: Actually, you want to talk with your hands a lot. It signals that you’re open and inviting toward closer contact and communication, especially if done with wide gestures.”

    You want to talk with your hands, but you’re not trying to beat up an invisible ninja. A woman will be reluctant to come closer to you if you’re doing tricep stretches in the middle of your conversation. If you want to make a conversation personal and not be perceived as an aggressive person, but rather confident, use hand gestures but to a limit.

  • Kieran

    This is some great discussion guys. It’s interesting to hear more than one opinion on such an interesting topic.

    Personally from my experience, most of Andre’s observations are accurate, and those that might not seem entirely accurate and those which are still widely debated.

    I personally believe Andre’s article to be very helpful, and I will recommend it to people who ask me how to improve their body language.

    Nate did raise some valid points, however there is no right or wrong here, because there is no proof either way. We can only draw from studies which apply to our own lives and based on our own individual success we can a hypothesis on why one way works but another way doesn’t. Perhaps you have both had varying results from this because you are probably both very different people and other important factors may be coming into play here such as confidence and general demeanor.

  • Justin Lupis

    I actually found the to be very helpful, I find myself doing these small things everyday. Good article.