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1489305 tn?1315179507

Reading People

Okay, so I hate these categories.

Here's what I'm curious about, does anyone actually know how to read the opposite sex? I'm a guy (I don't like the man/boy distinction), 20 years old almost 21 I have never been in a relationship and fear that the only way I will ever be in one is to leave my current area of the country. How do I learn how to read body language? This will sound retarded but is there a guide? I have never been good at telling when people like me or don't, nor have I ever been good at knowing when I'm being off-putting. The most I've ever gotten from a girl was a hug and I had an aversion to being touched at the time so I didn't really hug back.

To simplify: How do I read body language? It's not something I, like most people my age, know instinctively and it's killing me.
6 Responses
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hi.  Oh, I've made the comparison to you and my son before---------- he has sensory issues.  He has had the aversion to being touched before as well as doesn't pick up cues from others often.  He's a little guy, so we have worked to give him the skills he needs.   I'll tell you some of the things we work on.

First, one thing to look for is eye contact.  When you are speaking to someone, look them in the eye.  Not a scary intense stare or anything, but look at who you are talking to.  My son will tend to pace, look around, etc. and he misses a lot of what is happening with the other person by not looking at them.  Signs that someone is interested in what you are saying (or you) is that they lean into you, are open with their arms, have a relaxed facial expression (smiling eyes and smiling mouth), that their tone of voice is not too loud and not stressed sounding, that they ask you questions.

Signs that they are not interested in the conversation, glancing at watch, phone or repeatedly away from you.  That they take a step back from you (a sign that you are too close as well), they cross their arms and are closed off from you, that their eyes are tight, furrowed brow as well, that they are starting to raise their voice a little or become at all agitated.  

I think that having a common interest right off the bat is helpful.  If you like music, finding a girl that also really likes music will help.  Then you will be interested in talking about the same things and conversation will flow.  Meet her in a music shop, music class, seeing a band, etc.  

Spending a good amount of time asking a girl questions and listening to her answers is helpful.  Sometimes when we don't read body language, we are spending a lot of time talking ourselves.  People like to feel like someone is interested in them-------- so active listening is really helpful in building early relationships with people.  

Okay, let me know if this is headed in the right direction or way off base.
684030 tn?1415612323
Actually, there are a couple of fairly interesting books on the topic. The first is, "Body Language," by Julius Fast and the second is, "Manwatching," by famed anthropologist, Desmond Morris. Both books, especially the Julius Fast book, is rather dated (early '70s).
So, some of the sociological inferences may not be applicable in today's world. The Desmond Morris book, on the other hand, gives an anthropological perspective, which is timeless and universal in it's observations. Both, make for good reading and aren't too far off the mark when it comes to "reading" people.  
1489305 tn?1315179507
Yeah I knew some of the signs of interest and disinterest that you mentioned but for some reason I don't recognize them when they are happening. I've read a couple books on the subject but can't remember the names for the life of me, but they lacked how to read people. I've never really been good with tone of voice because I've always figured if you go with a kind of mellow tone of voice all the time with the exception of when you are angry people seem to be mellow along with you and I've noticed that I've had many "just friends" experiences with girls in my life. Maybe because of that I don't know. But I'm trying to also work on my body language and making myself seem more confident so if you have any ideas on that it would be great.
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Well,  I think in the begining of working on our own body language it can feel rote and stiff.  This is okay because the more you do it, the more comfortable it is.  Where you position yourself is important.  Facing someone fully seems like a given but I know it isn't always.  So make sure you are doing this.  Think in terms of "open".  You are open to them so your body should follow.  Now this may sound dumb but smile.  Oh I know, a fake plastered on smile may not be a pretty sight but it says "I'm happy (even when we aren't), I am open to getting to know you" etc.  It doesn't have to be big at all but I'm just saying, smiling often sends a message.  Keep your chin up is an expression because it also sends a message of strength.  So don't hang your head.  And all of this in context of who you naturally are too.

Confidence is an aspect to who we are that does come across whether we mean it too or not.  However, we can "fake" it.  I've had moments in which I was 'dyning inside' and quite uncomfortable, but the outside world didn't know.  Tone here is not just voice volume (which a mellow, lower voice volume is good)-------  but speaking firmly with an air of I do know what I am talking about.

And one other trick----------  pretend you are an actor playing a role.  You are confident fantastic--------- what would that look like?  Play the role and act away.  
1489305 tn?1315179507
Haha, I'm going to be Tyler Durden from Fight Club
973741 tn?1342342773
COMMUNITY LEADER
Ha!  There ya go.  Ya know, the mind is an amazing thing.  And sometimes working around your own self is tricky.  If someone parents in a way that is too harsh, for example, you could tell them to pretend a camera is rolling and their behavior was being broadcasted for the world to see.  If someone comes to you saying-------- I get so upset with myself for being so angry with my kids----------  they usually don't want others to know and want to stop.  So pretending they are being exposed to the world gets an immediate change of behavior. Then they can work on anger management and appropriate responses.  But they had to get out of their own way first by any means possible.

Same theory with "acting the part" when it comes to confidence.  

And if you remember, Tyler Durden did have quite a following!!  :)))
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