Examples Of Body Language: Attraction And More

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated May 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Body language cues can often indicate a person’s emotions, although they aren’t always 100% accurate and can differ between individuals. Still, feelings like attraction are often displayed through common examples of body language. For example, preening behaviors, an open physical posture, leaning in, blushing, and prolonged eye contact frequently suggest that a person may be experiencing attraction. However, the only way to know for sure that someone is experiencing attraction may be to ask them directly. For further insight and guidance into using and interpreting nonverbal communication, consider working with a licensed therapist in person or online.

Reading body language

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Observing or "reading" body language may not always be a definitive guide to understanding another person's thoughts or feelings. Everyone tends to express body language in their own way.

Regardless of how clear someone’s body language may appear to be, you generally cannot know what they’re thinking and feeling unless you discuss it. In the case of attraction, it can be crucial to attain explicit verbal consent before moving forward. Don't forego this step simply because you notice potential indicators of attraction through a person’s body language.

Body language cues that may indicate attraction

The following examples of body language may indicate attraction.

Presentation of fertility

Body language is often related to sexual excitement and attraction, which can be biologically related to fertility. An individual may express signs of their fertility in different ways, ranging from standing up straight and squaring the shoulders to tilting the head to expose more pheromones. 

Preening behaviors

Individuals may engage in preening behavior around those they find attractive. This type of behavior is often exhibited by a general concern for their physical appearance, from brushing hair away from their face and checking the mirror to readjusting their clothing.

Licking their lips

When a person is around someone they find attractive, it may make them nervous. Feeling nervous can activate the salivary glands or lead to a dry mouth. Both of these experiences may cause someone to lick their lips. 

Parted lips

Some individuals tend to be more likely to part their lips (rather than lick them) as a sign of attraction. It might be a response to subtle nervousness or indicate that they're anticipating a kiss. 

Hip movements

The way an individual moves their hips can potentially indicate romantic attraction. For example, if music is playing, subtle hip motions can signal that the person feels at ease and may be interested in you. Individuals may also touch their partner's hips to signal attraction.

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Eye and facial movements

The face can be a strong indicator of emotions, including attraction. For example, a person's facial expression may mirror yours if they are attracted to or connected to you. Their face might be expressive, with signs such as a smile, raised eyebrows, or widened eyes. 

An individual who is attracted to you may also try to make eye contact with you, although their personality can impact whether this eye contact is sustained or brief. They might also look up and down the body of someone they're attracted to.

Flared nostrils

When a person's nostrils flare, it's often a way to take a quick breath in, and it can sometimes be related to attraction. It might indicate interest and excitement, and on a biological level, it's also possible that this could enable them to take in more of the other person's pheromones.

Open physical posture

A general open physical posture instead of a "closed" posture often indicates comfort or attraction. While it isn't always associated with romantic interest, it's usually a good sign on a date. For example, a person with an open posture may keep their body facing toward you, uncross their arms, and point their feet toward you. They may also seek to remove barriers between themselves and the person they're attracted to.

Showing availability

People are often more attracted to someone who shows availability, so this may appear in body language. For example, this might include taking on the open posture mentioned above, making eye contact instead of looking away (or at their phone), or mirroring the other person's body language. 

However, many people feel uncomfortable with eye contact, so a lack of eye contact doesn't always indicate that a person isn't attracted to you. 

Smiling

Smiling may be another way some people indicate their attraction to others. Smiling can make you appear more attractive and inviting while expressing interest to another person. However, smiling can also indicate many other things. For instance, many people smile at others to be polite or friendly, not necessarily to show they are attracted to them.

Leaning in

Another aspect of attraction and body language can involve physical space and the distance, or lack thereof, between two people. For example, if you observe two people leaning toward one another and engaging in conversation, it may signal that they're attracted to each other. Leaning in may indicate a desire for greater intimacy and that the person is paying close attention to you.

Flushing or blushing

There are some signs of attraction that we can't usually control on a physiological level. For example, an individual experiencing feelings of attraction may experience a rushing of blood to the face, potentially resulting in flushing or blushing. 

Faster heartbeat and breathing

Another physiological response to attraction can involve a quickened heartbeat. While you won't usually take someone's pulse while you're on a date, faster breathing is often associated with a quickened heartbeat. A person whose heart is beating fast may also have warmer palms. 

Speed of movement

The speed of a person's movement might tell you how they're feeling. For example, moving slowly and deliberately and taking your time with actions may show confidence. On the other hand, fast and jerky movements might indicate nervousness. Both can serve as indicators of attraction, depending on the individual's personality. 

Touching

Brief moments of physical contact might tell a larger story of attraction. For example, a touch might seem accidental or innocent, but it can often indicate that a person is looking for a more intimate relationship. In addition, small touches may signal a desire for more touching, whether done consciously or not.

Mirroring

Biologically speaking, humans are typically hardwired to mirror the movements of others. While it often happens subconsciously, mimicking a person’s body movements to take on a similar pose might indicate engagement in the interaction.

Seeking professional help with nonverbal communication

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Improve your nonverbal communication skills

Body language can be considered a type of nonverbal communication, and it isn’t always easy to understand what people are communicating nonverbally. Working with a licensed therapist can help you gain insight into this type of communication and use it more effectively yourself.

Benefits of online therapy

At BetterHelp, we can match you with a licensed mental health professional based on your needs and preferences, such as a therapist who can help you learn how to use and read body language as you navigate dating and romantic relationships. Plus, you can choose to attend therapy sessions via voice, video, or online chat at times that are convenient for you. 

Effectiveness of online therapy

Although more research may be needed regarding the efficacy of online therapy for improving nonverbal communication skills, many studies suggest that online and in-person therapy tend to be similarly effective. Both types of treatment may be suitable for addressing a variety of concerns related to mental health and relationships.

Takeaway

Regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, many people exhibit similar body language signs when they experience attraction. For instance, prolonged eye contact, blushing, leaning in, and mirroring another person’s behavior can indicate attraction. However, explicit verbal consent is generally the best way to confirm whether someone is attracted to you. This may also ensure that they experience attraction the same way you do so that you know how to move forward. If you find body language confusing or want to learn more about it, in-person or online therapy may be helpful.
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