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 to see what they thought of you? Now you don’t have to! The signs are right under your nose (or theirs); all you have to do is learn how to read them. Every little helps.

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 familiar with the most common manifestations of these categories: are they leaning in, are they smiling at me, are they making direct eye contact, and so on. Van Edwards also notes a few less familiar examples, however, so we’ll stick to these for today:

  • Bags

Apparently, if you’re keen to get a gauge on 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, they ain’t keen (sorry pals). It’s a surefire way to see how comfortable and open they feel around you, and if they don’t feel comfortable or open, then the date isn’t going too well.

  • Whites of their eyes

This might be a little bit trickier to judge, but if you’re attracted to someone the whites of your eyes become whiter. 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. Just maybe don’t keep ducking under the table 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 distance themselves from their partner, which Joe Navarro claims is indicative of ‘psychological discomfort’.

What’s 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

Leave a Reply