Wednesday, April 23, 2008

I can't read your mind! Or can I?

There are few things more irritating in a relationship than having your mate pout, "You should have known!" First they don't care where you eat, then when their chimichanga arrives, you should have known they wanted chow mein.

Experts say there is no room for mind reading in a relationship. Maybe not, but every car salesman or Casanova will tell you it's the nonverbal communication that seals the deal.

It doesn't take a crystal ball; the messages are always being sent. You just have to pay attention to body language to hear them. It will open up a whole new level of communication and give you an edge in the competitive world of dating.

Birds preen, so do we. If you see someone across the room tossing their head or brushing their fingers through their hair, they are preening for you. You'll know it's for you, because it will be accompanied by looks that linger a little long.

Preening might be followed by displaying. Men and women both thrust, wiggle and shimmy to draw attention to key body parts. Women show off all their territory, while men tend to suck in their guts, spread their legs, and focus on lower torso displays. Women are big on licking their lips.

Next comes contact. Is the handshake a two-finger-wimpy or a bone crusher? Clammy or dry? If it's a hug, is it cuddly, or stiff with back pounding like they expect you to cough up a furball?

We'll assume the initial contact got them to level two, or at least wasn't a complete turnoff, and now you're talking. Is he or she standing a little close, square on you, blocking out competition? Accidentally brushing you? Imitating your gestures or language and holding eye contact? Are those lips being licked? All signs of positive engagement. Nice. And flattering.

But is it real? I hate to inject a buzz kill, but while birds might not practice deceit in their mating dance, humans do.

We play some pretty dumb games - think chimichanga vs. chow mein. So listening to yourself is just as important as listening to them.

Pay attention to your gut, it has a savvy mind of it's own. You always want their smile to go all the way to their eyes. Half smiles, or twitches and ticks, should put you on high alert for deceit. Beads of sweat? Generally not a good sign. Nor are wandering eyes, answering their cell phone, or texting while you're talking. Knot in your stomach? Message delivered.

Now is the time to save yourself and your friends a lot of pain by sending a signal of your own. Fold your wings snugly across your lovely torso and break eye contact.

Then fly around and check out a different flock.

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