What you’re telling people – without saying a word


We are all constantly giving out signals – whether we mean to or not. Some will be subtle, like licking your lips when you see something delicious to eat; others will be not so subtle, like when you stand with your back to someone you don’t like at a party to avoid talking to them.

In certain situations, such as on a date, these signals become very important. Your date will be looking for signs that show you like them – and vice versa. Facial expressions, the way you’re sitting, and how you talk are all big clues.

Unfortunately, nerves can stop us from giving out the right signals and instead of saying ‘yes I like you’ we end up saying ‘go away!’ Thankfully, it’s not too difficult to change those ‘go away!’ signals to something more positive – assuming you want to!  Here’s how:

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
Let’s start with something simple – the way you dress. What you wear tells someone immediately something about you; from showing that you’re professional to saying you listen to a certain type of music. On a date the clothes you wear are incredibly important – if you dress to look sexy, you’re giving out a certain message to your date. If you dress casually, you give out another, entirely different, vibe.

Once you’re in an established relationship your clothes continue to say something about you. When you’re comfortable with someone you’ll probably let your veneer drop slightly; you’re not going to do the washing up in your best clothes. But, if you start to only ever wear your scruffiest clothes you’re saying you’re just a bit too comfortable with your partner.

Which invitations do you give out and accept?
On a date, a couple of drinks then dinner out says ‘Hey, let’s get to know each other’. Cooking dinner for someone suggests you’re ready to move to the next level – what that level is, is up to you but it definitely communicates something more meaningful. And, as we all know, a weekend away generally implies sex (unless you’ve already set clear boundaries around separate rooms etc.). You may not mean to convey these messages so it’s worthwhile, especially in a new relationship, paying a little more attention to how you want to be perceived. Everyone reads too much into words and actions when they’re getting to know someone, so it pays to be safe rather than sorry.

The other side to this is that you can show you feel negatively about your date by your location choices. For example, if your date has told you they don’t like sushi and you take them to your local Japanese restaurant, you risk showing a real lack of interest in them.

What does your body language say?
Here it’s worth remembering that previous point about the level of guesswork that goes into relationships. Humans are not very good at clearly stating how they feel about someone, so instead they often rely on body language. And really, would you have it any other way? We certainly can’t imagine a date where half-way through one party declares ‘This date is going amazingly well for me, I really think we have a shot at a future together.’

It’s the little things you should pay attention to – placing your hand on your date’s arm to make a point, or making eye contact when they’re speaking are both positive signs for your date. Alternatively, glancing around the room while they’re talking to you says you’re not that interested in them.

We know you probably know all this stuff – the key is bearing it in mind when you’re on a date. Just remember that your date will be reading a lot into anything you do, so only give out the signals you actually want to. If you realise you’re not interested in your date, we’re not saying be rude, but don’t suggest you go on for more drinks, or go in for a kiss at the end of the date.

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