Reading the Language of Love: Body Language Explained

Have you ever been out with someone and wished that you could poke around inside their mind for a while to see what they thought of you? Now you don’t have to! The signs are already right under your nose (or their nose); all you have to do is learn how to read them. Every little helps, after all.

According to ‘behavioural investigator’ Vanessa Van Edwards, the fundamentals of this category of body language boil down to two key factors: openness and fertility (we were all cavemen once). You’re probably already familiar with the most common manifestations of these categories: things like whether they’re leaning in, or smiling at you and making direct eye contact. Van Edwards also notes a few less familiar examples, however, so we’ll stick to those for today:

  • Bags

If you’re keen to gauge how your date is feeling, one of the easiest ways to read them is by looking at their bag. If they are clutching it tightly, or holding it in front of their body in a shield-like way, then they’re not keen (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). It’s a surefire way to see how comfortable and open they feel around you. If they’re not feeling these things, the date isn’t going too well.

  • The whites of their eyes

This might be a little trickier to judge, but the whites of your eyes allegedly become whiter if you’re attracted to someone. This is all to do with blood flow, which increases in order to demonstrate your fertility to your potential partner. The more you know…

  • Feet

These boots were made for talkin’! If they like you, their feet will be pointed in the direction of your body. If they don’t, they will be pointed towards the fire exit. Although I would avoid ducking under the table every five minutes to check…

  • Hands or fingers?

Following a similar logic, look at their hands. This is especially interesting in the case of existing couples who are drifting apart: it is often argued that these couples will begin to touch each other not with their whole hand, but with the tips of their fingers instead. This is an attempt to create distance, which Joe Navarro claims is indicative of ‘psychological discomfort’.

What is that, you say? You want to see an example? Just take a quick glance at this photo. (Hint: the Obamas like each other).


Feature image by Alan Rogerson, via

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