Wednesday, February 25, 2009


You know that great feeling when you and another person are totally in sync? You laugh at the same jokes, love the same food, both thought The English Patient was way too long? Similarity is the essence of connection, and connection is the essence of trust, and trust is the foundation for true love.
You’re mirroring each other if you’re
  • Duplicating your date’s body language. Are you both leaning forward at the same time, each sitting with legs crossed?
  • Adopting the same speaking rhythm. Are you both talking softly, going back and forth conversationally, sharing the same pacing?
  • Echoing style or energy level. Are you both mellow or energized, calm or hyped? Subtlety is the essence of good mirroring.
You don’t want to get caught mimicking your date. The trick is to have your date feel connected, not pick up on a monkey-see, monkey-do act. You’ll naturally either fall into — or out of — a sort of relationship sync, which you can’t fake for long. Rather than direct yourself to do it, see whether mirroring just occurs normally.

Negative body language signs

Your date may not be finger-drumming the tabletop, but displaying any of the following signals can be a warning:
  • Frequent nodding: The Yin and Yang of body language, a little nodding is a good sign; continuous head-bobbing means you’ve lost the connection.
  • Open mouth: If your date always seems to be trying to break in, you may be too long-winded and have lost your partner’s interest.
  • Hands on mouth: This is a censoring mechanism, literally stopping the words as they come out of the mouth — not a good sign.
  • Arms crossed: Any type of closed-up body posture indicates a barrier between the two of you (unless the room is cold — look for goose bumps).
  • Arms behind the head: On a first date, this is a classic sign of dominance . . . or the attempt to gain it.
  • Yawning: You guessed it — bored to tears. We’ve all been learning to interpret nonverbal cues since the first time our mothers cradled us; survival depended on spotting Dad’s mood or Grandma’s pride or our sister’s sulking.
Studies have shown that kids who can easily read subtle facial cues survive the perils of grammar school far better than their more obtuse peers. If you suspect that your date is annoyed or bored or impatient, it’s okay to test the waters. See whether changing the subject works or even, egad, say, “I seem to have turned you off.” Then ask, “Was it something I said?” You’ll score points for sensitivity. But ask only once. No nagging! Okay, now that you know all this stuff, should you become Sherlock Holmes or just enjoy your date? Elementary, my dear. Relax and enjoy. However, if you want a way to check out your own unconscious reactions, you don’t need to study a videotape to see if you’re mirroring.

Positive body language signs

If your date is using a lot of the following signals, you can take it as a good sign that he or she is interested and having a good time. Congratulations!
  • Good eye contact: Gazing (not staring) into someone’s eyes is a good sign.
  • Leaning forward: Making the space between you two smaller and cozier signals that interest is on the way up and walls are on the way down.
  • Relaxed posture: Sitting or standing comfortably and breathing smoothly indicates that your date is open and non-defensive.
  • Palms up: Open hands indicate a warm and receptive heart.
  • Touching: If the touching is warm rather than suggestive, you’re making contact.
  • Nodding: If your date nods periodically as you speak, you’re on the same wavelength.
  • Mirroring: Unconsciously reflecting each other’s behavior — leaning forward at the same time, breathing in sync, crossing the same leg over the other at the same time, speaking in the same tone — says that you’re attuned to one another.
  • Synchronization: Simultaneous breathing, blinking, and shifting in your seat means you’re in sync.