This week Steph talks about how you can use body language to strengthen your relationship.
I’ve put a lot of time and effort into my new Yes to Love course on attraction, and it is paying off in happy couples. Believe it or not, body language recognition and de-coding is your biggest asset when it comes to love – and it also works for couples in existing relationships.
Before my Yes to Love course I traveled New Zealand for almost two years with a workshop called Say it Out Loud. It was a general body language course and covered most arenas of non-verbal communication. There were often couples who attended my classes and at one such class a husband attending with his wife (late last year) said to me, “Well I had to come too, so I know what she knows, or she will be psyching me out all the time.”
I’m always really excited as people leave my workshops, I secretly wish that I could follow them around for a few weeks and see how they put their new found skills to good use……but that would be stalking! By the end of the course the couple realised all of their little ‘tells’ – the wife had realised something she did that really irritated her husband involving a pointy finger, and she found something that he always did when he really didn’t want to do something.
My point is this, if couples in existing relationships used body language recognition and de-coding to their advantage it could strengthen their relationship. Everyone has ‘tells’ that show discomfort, irritation…and worse.
One of my party pieces is sitting in a crowded restaurant and watching couples eating out. Within reason, (because I can hardly go up to them and ask them) I believe that I can predict exactly which stage of a relationship a couple are at. Different actions coming through in their body language towards each other tell me how long they have been together, if they are mostly happy, if they are mostly unhappy, and even if they have recently had a fight. Unfortunately I can almost always tell if one or the other of them is having an affair too.
Now do you see why I’m single? Imagine sitting in a restaurant, looking around, under the table at feet, watching their hands, noticing the ‘manipulators’ they display that show discomfort, seeing without doubt the tell- tale signs of an outright lie, a baby lie, and a “hope I get away with it” lie.
I like to leave you with real life usable tips. This month they are all on using body language to enhance existing relationships:
• Maintain physical closeness – as in, stick close by to your partner, lean in, not out, keep your eye contact long and lingering, not as an after-thought. Acknowledge and look for ‘secret flashes’ of eyebrows.
• Recognise the warning signals – if you know it irritates your partner, or they really don’t like doing whatever it is, is it really worth the fight or resentment. Resentment is the most insidious killer of relationships, it kills it slowly, silently.
• Send, and make time for a more loving non-verbal message – yes, you may have had a busy day at work and feel stressed, but you are home now, concentrate on your partner – it sets the tone for the evening.
• If it does get to the argument stage, make sure your body language still stays open and not ready to run – face your partner square on as you ‘fight’. It’s much harder to have a ‘nasty’ fight with someone you actually love deeply if you are face on.
• No ‘submission’ moves or controlling jabs – no pointing or hands facing up gestures. Keep your hands low and cupped. Soft hands are conciliatory, not defensive. Hands that are stiff, fingers opened, and high in the air make for an argument that no one forgets for a while.
For details on the ‘Yes to Love’ workshop in Auckland on 23 June, click on the website above. Feel free to leave a comment below about the one thing that annoys you the most about your partner.