Tracey Cox, bestselling author of Hot Sex and Hot Relationships, takes a frank look at body language and flirting. In her characteristically punchy and no-holds-barred style, Tracey encourages the reader to face a few home truths and accept that attracting a partner at the first encounter has a lot to do with packaging - looking, acting and sounding good. Jay Hunt is on hand with fashion and style advice, guiding you through not just what to wear, but how to wear it Jeremy Milnes, communication, confidence and assertiveness tutor, dishes up plenty of ideas on how to raise your self esteem and turn those awful awkward silences into a thing of the past. Aimed at men and women of all ages, packed with hints, tips, lists and questionnaires, as well as plenty of 'homework', transforming your life has never been so much fun. What have you got to lose other than another Saturdy night spent watching telly?
The Seven Deadly Body Language Sins
The Seven Deadly Body Language Sins
Under pressure, our bodies leak - and I don't just mean perspiration. They leak information about our true feelings. Pretend all you like that you're having a wonderful time at Aunt Mary's 60th birthday party ('Of course I wouldn't rather be down the pub with my mates. I know, the football's on, but I'd much rather be here with you. Honest!'), but your feet will still draw circles in the air, the fingers of one hand drum a hole in the arm of the sofa and the other hand prop up your head - all classic signs of boredom. Other indicators include pursed lips, shoulders so tense they're around our ears, shallow breathing, biting our lips, picking our cuticles, touching our mouths… All the gestures our body makes tell a story.
A lot of the time we're unaware of the signals our bodies are sending others. We're not the only ones: the person receiving the signals usually hasn't got a clue what their subconscious is processing to give them the conclusion they're reaching (this person likes/doesn't like me/is bored/having a good time). Asked to pinpoint how they knew they'd overstepped the mark with that story about their ex, and they're likely to say 'instinctually'. It's unlikely they'll say 'Because you leant away from me and put one arm across your body in a partial arm block.' The fact is that it doesn't really matter if they know why. The end result is still the same: your body language is largely responsible for the impression someone has of you.
Which is why it's worth taking a look through the following checklist to make sure you're not guilty of any sins. Most of us chalk up one or two sins in certain situations, but if your score is five and over, best get yourself a big cup of coffee (or a very stiff drink). You're not going anywhere until you can recite the following truths off by heart - and done your homework.
Sin 1: Melting Into the Pavement
What it says about you: If you don't think much of yourself, chances are you slink your way through life, keeping a low profile - literally. People with low self-esteem try to blend with the pavement: they slump their shoulders, bow their heads and generally make themselves look as small as possible. When forced to stand still, it's quite obvious they're wishing the floor would open up and swallow them - their whole body is pointing towards it.
Fix it by: Simply standing up nice and straight, just like good old Mum told you to. If you think highly of yourself, you hold yourself high. It's that simple. People associate an erect posture with self-assured, dominant personalities. You do, too, which is why it's possible to trick yourself into thinking you're far more competent and capable than you really are if you pull those shoulders back and stand tall.
Instant result: You'll appear and feel more confident.
Sin 2: Looking At the Floor
What it says about you: Avoid looking at people and you avoid connecting with them. The real reason you're gazing downward is probably because you're shy - the kindest interpretation people will make of this gesture. Others will think you're not interested in them or anything they're saying (if you can't even be bothered raising your eyes to fake interest, what hope have they got?), arrogant (it's rude not to look at someone who is talking to you), or nervous and slightly dodgy (avoid looking someone in the eye and they automatically assume you're hiding something).
Fix it by: Lifting your eyes. If you're too shy to make direct eye contact, at least look straight ahead rather than downward. Or shift your gaze so you're looking just above the other person's head or slightly to the side. True, people will start to feel weirdly self-conscious (and worry that their hair's sticking up or a bit of crisp is stuck to their cheek), but it's better than not connecting with you at all. Once you're used to looking upward, work on meeting people's eyes briefly as you're walking past. Ideally, you'll get to the stage where you can make eye contact while stationary, and comfortably maintain it for periods at a time.