“What Were We Thinking?” – Love Matters, August 2016

When we talk to our male and female clients about their dates to hear their feedback, these are some examples of what we often hear:

“I’m just not sure what he or she really thought of me.”
“I thought we had a good time, he said he did, but I never heard from him.”
“I had a great time, but she didn’t seem to respond enthusiastically when I told her I looked forward to seeing her again.”
“Do you think I should send a text or email just to see if I am over-thinking this?
“I’m not sure she really wants to see me again.”
“Do you think he was just stringing me along?”

Often, you can learn a lot about what someone is thinking by being aware of body language on your dates, or word choices used to express emotion or intention.

Question: “Did you by chance forget to write me to tell me that our plans changed?”
Answer (1) “I would never forget to contact you.”
Answer (2) “No, I didn’t forget.  I thought you already knew.”
Which answer is the truth?  It’s the second one.

To find out why, take a look at this YouTube video of the body language expert Janine Driver, whom we were fortunate to spend time with at a recent matchmaking and dating coaching conference, She gave a fascinating and useful talk on how to understand non-verbal behavior. Janine Driver works in the area of criminal behavior, but her techniques are applicable to everyone, because we all use our body and words to convey what we feel – sometimes intentionally and consciously, sometimes unconsciously.

Dan Hill has also written about body language and contends that our faces betray our true emotions and can predict intentions, decisions and actions; “55% of the truth comes from facial expressions, 38% comes from tone of voice, and 7% from words.” Both Dan and Janine subscribe to psychologist Paul
Ekman’s widely accepted FACS, or Facial Action Coding System, to decipher which of the 43 muscles in the face are working at any moment. Seven core emotions are identified: happiness, surprise, contempt, disgust, sadness, anger and fear, and in their talks and writing, each refers to this basic list of seven emotions that comprise our feelings repertoire.

We are not, of course, suggesting that you need to become an expert in detecting if, and when, and how, someone is being truthful with you, or trying to manipulate you. Your awareness about body language can also verify honest and heartfelt emotion such as real joy and pleasure.  We do think that in addition to all the other skills that you are learning as you meet and date new and untested people, whether from an online meeting, or a more organic meeting, it is useful to have some confidence that you can decode various gestures, comments, and other behaviors when you are making decisions about whether you want to see someone again. It is also useful to consider your own body language, and how well you think it conveys your feelings, and whether or not you are genuinely looking forward to seeing someone again. And if you’re not 100% sure about your date’s true feelings, or about your own feelings, a second date is definitely an opportunity to check your initial hypotheses.

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