News You Can Use: Deciphering Body Language

HONOLULU, Oahu (HawaiiNewsNow) - Body language, it speaks volumes but how do the things we do get interpreted by others?

"Some of the cues that typically show you're interested in someone else is obviously smiling, looking at the other person, a warmer tone in voice, nodding your head, directing your body toward the other person, leaning forward," said Dr. Amy Hubbard, Professor of Communicology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She specializes in non-verbal communication and says deciphering the cues can be helpful, but you should never rely on just one. "Relying on a single behavior can be misleading and often leads to misinterpretation," she said.

Having said that, research studies have shown some interesting results when it comes to what message you're sending without saying a word. "The typical ones would be for women they giggle a lot, they flip their hair when they are interested in someone else, but we also see this kind of glancing at people looking away or these demure sorts of smiles," said Dr. Hubbard. Men, if you notice your date tilting her head, primping herself or initiating touch - those are all good signs but, be careful. "One of the ways that we see some differences between men and women, is that for men they typically don't recognize as much of the rejection cues as women do," said Dr. Hubbard.

To be perceived as more physically attractive... Dr. Hubbard has some tips. She said, "One of the key ways that you can do that is by smiling. So men and women, we know from all sorts of studies, they're perceived as more attractive." Careful not to wear too much cologne or perfume. "What we find is none to maybe one spray is the best overall because those people are seen as more attractive and approachable when they put on more then it's like a distraction," said Dr. Hubbard.

Another hint you might be on the right track - body blocking. Amy explains, "So what they'll tend to do, so if like there's other people around, we're going to have to turn our body in a way that excludes other people from us. What we typically see is that our legs will cross in the same sort of directions, we'll mirror each others behavior our bodies tend to be more in sync with each other."

Eye contact is good, but not too much of it. That's just awkward. "The problem with that is our eye contact is often used to regulate turn exchanges in a conversation, so then looking at someone and looking away is helpful for figuring out who's turn it is to talk. You don't want the person that you're talking to to say our conversation was awkward because that's not going to lead to a future interaction," said Dr. Hubbard.

Keep these tips in mind on your next date!

Click HERE for a link to the Department of Communicology at UHM.

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