The first time Dave and I met, I could tell why he’d been struggling dating immediately, and no, it wasn’t his looks. The problem was actually in his body language.
He shuffled more than he walked in. He shook my hand limply. As soon as he sat down across from me, his shoulders and head caved inward and he leaned his chin on his propped fist.
Over the course of our introductory chat, I learned he was intelligent, passionate about making a difference as an environmental lawyer, and funny. But I also observed that he rarely looked me in the eye, mostly casting them around the room.
“When do you feel the most confident?” I asked him.
“In the courtroom,” he told me.
“What does confident look like to you? Do you do anything different with your body to show that you are?”
I watched him as he adjusted his body in his seat. He looked a million times better. I nodded. “There we go! That’s exactly what you’re missing!”
Dave had had such a bad dating run that he didn’t feel confident, so he didn’t look confident. Conversely, he knew what to expect in the courtroom, and he knew he was great at what he did.
After working together just a few weeks, I saw a drastic change in his affect and demeanor, and it wasn’t long after that that he began dating the woman he’s now married to.
Your body language can make a bigger impact on your romantic life than any outfit, joke, or wad in your wallet. It’s also something you can easily change. Whether you feel confident or not doesn’t matter. Fake it ’til you make it, gentlemen!
Here are the top 7 ways you can improve your body language and your attractiveness in the process:
1. Straighten your back.
Your momma, teachers, or whoever told you to “have good posture” were right. Sitting or standing up straight increases your lung capacity, allowing more oxygen to get to your brain. Proper posture can actually help you think more clearly and feel calmer.
Further, you will be judged as more attractive as indicated in this study.
There’s more too. In one test, a group of men had their blood drawn after holding proper posture. They experienced a 20% increase in testosterone and a 25% decrease in cortisol, the hormone that contributes to stress.
2. Pull your shoulders down and back.
When your shoulders slump forward like Dave’s initially did, it looks as if you’re protecting yourself, as if you’re trying to move your body into the fetal position.
You also want to avoid your shoulders drifting too close to your ears. When your shoulders are high, it makes you look stressed and uncomfortable. To retain your look of cool calm, be mindful of where your shoulders are and purposefully make sure they stay down and back.
Here are also some stretches to help if you find yours particularly tight.
3. Keep your chest open.
While this naturally happens when you straighten your back and keep your shoulders down and back, make sure you’re not doing anything to block your torso as well. Don’t cross your arms in front of your chest or hold your drink or phone in front of your chest. It makes you appear closed off.
4. Make sure your hands are visible.
Studies have found that when we can’t see people’s hands, we have trouble trusting them. To avoid this, refrain from sticking your hands in your pockets, leaving them under the table, or hiding them under or behind yourself when you first meet someone.
5. Lean back.
One of my favorite teachers used to draw the attention of her students by whispering. If her class was all riled up, instead of raising her voice to talk over them, she would drop her voice lower and lower until she was whispering. The class would naturally stop talking to try to listen to what she had to say, and she’d have accomplished what she desired without shouting or yelling.
The same can be true if you lean back or away from your date. If she’s attracted to you or interested in what you have to say, she will lean towards you or move closer to you. It gives you a position of control. Plus it helps you keep your chest open and look calm and collected.
6. Give a firm handshake.
The true meter of confidence is how you exhibit control. You can do so by finding a good median with your handshake.
Barely touching her hand with your fingertips? Nope.
Squeezing her hand until she says, “ouch!”? DEFINITELY no.
Look the woman in the eye, grab her hand firmly (but don’t squeeze), and then let her let go first.
7. Adjust your walk.
Dave shuffled when he walked. It looked like he didn’t even really pick his feet off the floor. It made him look . . . lazy, which he wasn’t.
I’ve seen other men walk with such short steps that it’s almost as if they’re running around on their tip-toes.
Use the full length of your legs. Stroll. Act like you’re walking with a purpose, but don’t spend your life looking like you’re sprinting either. Remember, confidence is a lot about restraint. Look calm and unhurried as much as you can.
While Dave didn’t feel confident on dates, he was able to gain a lot of power by portraying how he wanted to feel. Eventually, his “fake” confidence grew into real confidence as his dates responded to him more positively, and he felt more comfortable in his own skin. Adjust your body and your thinking!
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