As a dating coach, I’ve met with over 1000 single people over the last number of years. About 90% of them have been women, but every now and then I have the honor of guiding a man on his dating journey. And there is one thing that almost every male client I meet has to work on: his body language.
What often happens when we struggle with dating successfully as adults are that our self-image gets stuck at a much younger age. I’ve met so many men who still look, feel and behave is if they were still that geeky guy in high school. They have completely missed out on the fact that they are now really hot, cool and interesting grown-up men. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really matter if your body has an adult size if you’re moving it as insecurely as a 14-year-old boy. Which is why this is most often the first thing that I help my male clients with. And every single time, it makes them way more cool and sexy.
So what exactly am I talking about? Let’s get super practical about what it means to be stuck in old, immature and insecure patterns of body language, and what to do about it.
The body language of insecurity is a very scattered one: there is no feeling of peace in the body. This usually includes a number of scattered behaviors:
– Problem keeping eye contact and constantly looking around
– Busy hands that are always touching, scratching or fiddling with something
– Nervously drinking from a glass that’s already been emptied
– Constantly shifting the way you sit or stand
– Facial tics or expressions that aren’t really in sync with the situation
If you recognize any of these behaviors I’m sure you are aware of how extremely uncomfortable it can feel to be in a situation where you’re body is doing all of these things. It makes you feel nervous and it makes you look nervous, and all of this keeps the loop on uncomfortable nervousness spiraling until you just want to get out of there.
However, this is much easier to shift that most people can imagine. To change it you literally have to do nothing. You need you to keep your body still. It might sound easy enough but you probably need to practice it before going on your next date (or job interview or bank meeting or any situation that might trigger nervous behaviors).
Here are four specific things (four flavors of nothing, if you will) to practice in your everyday life to make these body language patterns your new normal.
1. Keep your body straight. One thing that will immediately make you appear more insecure is to make your body smaller by having the “lines” of your arms and legs going inwards. You don’t have to man spread, but just keep your knees pointing forward instead if inward. Don’t let your chest if your shoulders fall inwards, and keep your face towards the person you’re talking to.
2. Breathe slowly. Your breath is a very powerful tool when you want to shift how much stress is happening in your body. Just by breathing slower and deeper you signal to your body that the situation is safe. It is very hard to keep the stressful body language when you’re breathing pattern is slow.
3. Relax your muscles. Stress is about tension. A nervous body is always alert and needs to be prepared for danger. Maybe it was unsafe to be you 10 or 20 years ago but going on a date as an adult man is not dangerous, so it is very safe for you to relax. Focus on relaxing the muscles in your arms, legs, buttocks, jaw and even tongue to start a tranquil biofeedback loop to your brain. This will calm down your nerves, thoughts, and emotions, and also the person you’re on a date with. Meeting a calm you is a much more pleasant (and sexy) experience.
4. Be still. Can you hold a pen without playing with it? Can you drink from a bottle without tinkering with the label on it? Can you sit in a room for ten minutes without looking at your phone? Being in charge of your body, your awareness, and your behavior is – and feels – very cool and very sexy. This comes from learning to be still. Basically you want to be inspired by James Bond and make your body language smooth, calm and deliberate. Mr. Bond knows where he’s looking, he’s in control of his movements and he takes his time. You can too.
To sum up, sitting or standing with good posture, your thighs, knees, and feet towards the other person and your arms at your sides or on your legs will make such a difference. If you breathe slowly and keep steady eye contact as well, then you’re good.
Release the body language of the insecure boy that you once were, and adopt the body language of a confident, cool and sexy man. All you have to do is less.
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