Originally posted on the Upright blog.
Picture the scene. It’s the end of a long day and you’re sitting on the couch with your head buried in your smartphone, shoulders slouched forward. All of a sudden, your significant other breaks the silence: “You’ll never guess who I ran into today.” What do you do? Do you straighten your back, look up, and engage them in polite chitchat or do you continue scrolling as if it never happened?
You might not realize it, but the nonverbal cues you choose to send your partner in this moment may shape the course of your relationship.
Read on to find out how the body language of love can strengthen your bond while demonstrating what an attentive, caring person you are.
Say it with poses
Why good posture is #relationshipgoals
In the mood for love? It’s a little-known fact that striking an open, confident pose can actually reduce your stress hormones, elevating your mood. As a result, you’ll come across as more sympathetic and pleasant to be around. It’s a life hack worth remembering, especially if you’re nervous about going on a date or making a good first impression.
Of course, you’ll have every reason to feel confident as good posture makes you appear taller, slimmer, and dare we say more attractive? When you own your body, that self-assuredness is conveyed through your body language and others can pick up on it.
Good posture also serves your relationship by enabling you to be present in the moment and laser-focused on your partner. That’s right – holding your back straight increases the flow of oxygen to the brain, improving cognitive function and mental clarity. Now there’s no excuse for you not to give your other half the undivided attention he/she deserves.
Spoiler alert: Your posture is giving you away
Expressing our thoughts isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when we’re worried about how they might be received. For instance, how do you tell someone you care about that you miss them or that you need your space? The body language of love says all those things you’re too afraid to speak about – without saying a word. That’s why it’s important not just to understand nonverbal communication, but to become fluent in it.
Lower your guard
You can tell a lot about the dynamics of a couple’s relationship based on how they sit together. Psychologists have found that sitting across the table from someone can create a defensive, competitive atmosphere. If one person sits taller or straighter than the other, they may give off an air of superiority, whereas sitting lower or hunched over may give the impression of weakness or defensiveness. Don’t be that couple! Embrace equality by sitting next to each other at the dinner table or mirroring your partner’s body language.
Reflect on this
Ever noticed how some salespeople will copy a customer’s gestures, movements, or posture? This is known as mirroring; it’s an effective technique that’s used to get to know someone and establish trust. Mirroring occurs in romantic relationships too, albeit on a subconscious level. We do this primarily to form a deeper, non-verbal connection with potential partners. Because our brains are wired to be attracted to people who are just like us, it puts us at ease with one another. If you’re in a new relationship, try subtly mirroring your partner’s behavior, without making it too obvious.
Make eye contact
Distractions are all around us. Technology makes it especially tempting to multitask while our partner is trying to engage us in conversation. But staring down at your phone and making reassuring “mm-hmm” sounds is not the way to show you care; quite the opposite, in fact. It’s also pretty bad for your spine and can lead to text neck, which is never a good look. If you really want to win your partner’s affection, try giving them your undivided attention. When they ask you a question or tell you a story, turn toward them, look into their eyes – softly, this isn’t a staring contest – and nod your head. It sounds simple enough because it is.
Uncross your arms and legs
Oftentimes, when we’re uncomfortable or uninterested in a conversation, we’ll cross our legs, twisting our body away from our partner. Not only is this seen as disrespectful, but it could actually lead to lower back pain. And nothing kills the mood faster than crying out for pain killers!
The more attentive you are to your posture, the more your partner will feel cared for and, ultimately, loved. An open body position, with your arms and legs uncrossed, is friendly and inviting. Try it the next time the two of you are having a conversation and see how it improves your communication.
The body language of love: Easy as ABC
OK, let’s recap. Our body language shows how we really feel, regardless of the words we use. This means our posture can dramatically impact our relationships and foster deeper connections with the people we truly love.
Here’s a useful mnemonic to help you remember the advice in this article:
A is for awareness
The first step in adopting a kinder, more considerate body language is to be mindful of how you carry yourself when you’re with your significant other.
B is for body position
An upright, open posture shows that you care enough about your partner to pay attention to what they’re saying. Extra brownie points for making eye contact!
C is for communication
Good posture enables you to better express your thoughts and feelings through nonverbal cues, which is great if talking isn’t your strong suit.
Ready to master the body language of love?