Body language. It’s a lost art in a world of non-stop texting and social media updates. 

There was a time in which body language was clear, unambiguous and simple to both understand and receive. It reflected desire. It reflected hunger. It reflected need. It was called the Paleolithic Era.

We live in a world ruled by social customs and etiquette. A world of boundaries and defenses. A world in which our true feelings are kept under close guard. And in many ways, it’s a necessary world. Without it, the social contract as we know it would be rendered null and void. But deep down? We still have primal instincts. Some of which tend to peek out of our closely guarded shells when we least expect it. And without even realizing it.

This is the essence of body language. And no one understands that instinctively better than women.

Of all the mysteries surrounding women, body language seems to be surprisingly impenetrable for many men. But there’s no reason for it to be. Yes, it’s subtle. Unspoken cues tend to be that way. But female body language isn’t so much a question of a physical vocabulary unique to women alone. Everyone, male or female, displays deep-rooted feelings of relaxation, anxiety, desire or anger unconsciously. It’s just that female body language is filtered through a distinctly… well, female hue.

Still confused about women’s body language? You shouldn’t be. Consciously or not, there’s a certain etiquette body language follows. And understanding women’s body language etiquette may be the key to understanding your own as well.

Female Body Language Tip # 1 : Fix To Affix

Are women by default vain? Of course. We all are to some degree or another. But when a woman fixes her hair or smoothes her outfit, she’s telling you—and more often than not, knowingly—that she knows you’re paying attention. Not only does she know you’re paying attention, she appreciates it. This isn’t always a good sign, however. It may be a universal trait to appreciate the attention, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be reciprocated. Narcissism is, after all, a one-way street. But if she’s preening in conjunction with other body cues? You’re off to a good start. Don’t blow it.

Female Body Language Tip # 2 : Look Away. But, Don’t Look Away.

This is one form of a woman’s body language etiquette that tends to confuse a lot of guys. She gives you a glance. A brief but lingering one. And then she looks down or away. Was it shyness? Confusion? Something between your teeth? The truth is, she’s playing a cat and mouse game with you. She wants you to look. But not too much. Respond. But not too quickly. She likes what she sees but… she can’t tell you. At least not yet. Coyness is a virtue for women, and she knows it. But don’t be too brazen. Respond in kind. She’ll know you’ve caught on to the game, and will subsequently feel more relaxed. And you’ll feel more confident.

Female Body Language Tip # 3 : Lean On Me

Is she craning her neck towards you? Leaning in with her shoulders forward? That’s a sign she’s interested in what you have to say. Even the boring parts. Still not certain? Try speaking softer than normal—especially if you’re in a crowded bar or restaurant. If she asks you to speak up without leaning in, there’s a 50/50 chance she’s just being polite. She may or may not care what exactly you’re talking about. But the slightest inch towards you means she’s inclined towards your (obviously, incredibly witty) observations.

Female Body Language Tip # 4 : Touching You, Touching Me

Whether it’s a playful slap on the shoulder or knee after one of your jokes (yes, even the bad ones) or lightly brushing her fingertips against the back of your hand if she touches you? It’s a universal green light. She wants to break through your body armor. Your defense mechanisms. She’s extending a sign of intimacy towards you, in short. But if you think that gives you carte blanche? Think again. Yes, she’s giving you a playful touch. It’s a universal sign of relaxation. Which means she’s interested. But just because she’s interested in you is not an invitation for groping. Or anything more. She’ll let you know verbally when you can proceed further.

Female Body Language Tip # 5 : She’s Not Being Shy. She’s Just Not That Into You

If she’s inching her stool or seat ever so slightly away from you, it means you blew it. But don’t beat yourself up. She may find you interesting, witty or intelligent but… she’s just not feeling that spark. And chances are, the feeling is mutual. If she’s not comfortable, you’re not going to be, either. Female body language etiquette demands an equal reaction. Let her know you understand her loud and clear by inching away from your own seat away. It’s her loss, friend.

Female Body Language Tip # 6 : She Can Turn The World On With Her Smile

So why isn’t she doing so for you? Because she’s being polite. Sure, she’s cracking a slight grin. Chuckling at your comments. But if it seems forced and insincere, it likely is. She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings—no person does—but she knows the date is going nowhere, and all your best lines simply aren’t going to change that. But if she can’t be blunt with you, be blunt with her. Let her know this isn’t going to lead to anything. It will save you both a lot of aggravation in the end. You’ll both feel relieved. And who knows? She might turn out to be a great friend. Just simply not a romantic partner.

Female Body Language Tip # 7 : Fold The Arms, Fold The Cards

When it comes to body language etiquette, both women and men tend to inherit traits. Particularly from their parents. Folding your arms isn’t just a sign that you’re uncomfortable with someone. It’s a sign they did something to offend you, and you’re just trying to bottle your aggravation. Maybe you came on too strong. Maybe you asked too many questions. Maybe you made one double entendre too many (watch how much you drink next time.) Whatever you did, the date is unofficially over. Don’t extend the agony any further. Spring for the check and learn from your mistakes. You’ll be much happier and hopefully wiser with someone else.

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