I had a crush on a young woman in my junior year in college. We hit it off pretty well, I thought, after a couple of dates. On the third date, I thought things were going well, as usual, when she suddenly asked, with a frustrated tone, “What are you wanting out of this relationship?"
My face got red, and I stammered something about thinking it would be nice to date her.
I had assumed things were going well, but I guess she wasn’t as interested in pursuing a relationship as I was.
I must have missed some of her subtle body language hints that she wasn’t interested in dating.
I don’t know if you’ve had an experience like I did, but if you have, learn how important body language is, and make it a priority to learn the signs.
Why Understanding Body Language is Important
Body language is not an exact science.
No single body language sign is a reliable indicator.
Understanding body language involves the interpretation of several consistent signals to support or indicate a particular conclusion.
– Business Balls
1. At least 60% of all communication is non-verbal.
Researchers disagree, with some saying that as much as 93% is non-verbal, versus others saying that only 65% of communication is non-verbal.
The point is, you and I need to pay attention to non-verbal facial expressions, body movements, tone of voice, involuntary body movements, and proxemics (how close or how far someone is standing from us).
2. Understanding body language can help you start and maintain friendships
You may not care to be friends with neurotypicals (people who aren’t autistic). But if you do want to make friends with neurotypicals, you’ll want to know more about them, including how they communicate with body language.
John Elder Robison, author of Look Me in the Eye, and Be Different, is an adult Aspergian who was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome in his forties. As he became more self-aware, he was amazed about how small things, like looking at people, and cleaning up his personal hygiene, resulted in people being more talkative and friendly toward him.
You might think that there’s something inherently bad or noxious about you, or you might think that neurotypicals are shallow and insensitive, but the truth is that most people automatically draw conclusions from non-verbal body language.
Understanding body language helps you maintain friendships.
Looking at a person, and accurately reading her body language communicates to her that you care about what she has to say, what she’s thinking, and how she’s feeling.
Body language can help you communicate care and affection for the other person. If you can understand that the other person is sad or lonely by what he says and his facial expressions, you can express concern with your own facial expressions.
3. Understanding body language can help you increase your dating skills
If you’re a woman, here’s an article that can help you know if a man is interested in you.
4. Understanding body language will help you maintain and grow your marriage.
Whether your partner is Aspergian or not, you will want to understand how she uses body language.
Here’s a brief example of what I’ve learned about one the tones my wife uses.
When she says, “Steve, or Honey?", with a slightly raised and inquisitive tone of voice, especially when she’s calling me from the other room, it’s her way of saying, “Steve, I’m getting ready to ask you a favor. Please do it for me." It only took me a couple (or more) years to figure that one out!
Also, I’ve learned that when she seems particularly unhappy or even irritable, she is often communicating worry or anxiety, and that she mainly needs me to show her attention by listening to her (and not ignoring her by reading a book or typing the computer.)
The great thing about being married is that you have time to get to know one person and their particular body language patterns. Study your partner’s body language patterns to enhance your communication with her.
5. Understanding body language will help you at work
Body language helps you communicate your feelings and meanings to others. Understanding body language can help you more accurately read and understand co-workers’, supervisors’, and customers’ feelings and meanings.
Please pardon the name of the site, but Business Balls has a great body language guide that includes universal facial expressions, body language signals and meanings, cultural differences, and other audible signals.
Bookmark the site and memorize the information.
6. Understanding body language will increase your confidence.
As you get better at reading people’s body language, you’ll feel less anxious about what to expect in social situations. Dan Wendler, from Improve Your Social Skills, is a great example of someone who committed to studying body language and learning how to read non verbal cues in social situations. He’s a much happier and confident person today than he was years ago, when he didn’t know why he was struggling so much.
Commit today to studying body language. Look for patterns in everyday interactions. Watch movies and see if you can identify body language patterns. Practice and commitment will pay off.
Do you struggle understanding body language? Or did you used to? If you used to, what are some strategies you’ve used to learn to read body language?
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."