...more than half of all social interaction is down to non-verbal expression...

The Science Of Attraction

Actions speak louder than words

Body language speaks volumes and most of the time we are unaware of exactly what messages our non-verbal gestures, posture and expressions are giving away.

Studies have shown that more than half of all social interaction is down to non-verbal expression:

  • 55% is through body language
  • 38% is the tone and speed of our voice
  • Only 7% is through what we say!

With a little basic knowledge, it is easy to tell who is attracted to whom - or not, as the case might be - in a social situation such as a singles event or a bar.

Women tend to be more expressive in their body language and are better than reading it than men, This may be because traditionally women have had less power than men and it is the role of the less powerful to pay more attention to those with more power. While the power balance may have shifted in the last few decades, women have retained their enhanced abilities to interpret body language. In fact, it was once suggested that women should be excluded from jury service in the US because their ability to read body language threatened to interfere with a defendant"s right to a fair trial based on the facts alone!

Women show display around 50 different postures and other non-verbal gestures in their repertoire, while men only have around 10 different signals in their repertoire.

However, individual body language signals are not enough individually to give you any guarantee that there is mutual attraction. They work best in clusters of three or four signs operating in harmony together. This is known as the 'Rule of Four'. Some body language signals are common to both sexes, while others are what are called gender-specific messages i.e. exclusive to one sex or another, for pretty obvious reasons, as you'll see below. Negative body language signs can also be used in clusters. Many of them are defence mechanisms that mean that someone wants the other person to back off. Others may just be the result of nerves or shyness and not significant on their own.

The five most significant, non-gender specific, body language gestures that show attraction

  1. Mirroring
    Mirroring is simply, and unwittingly, imitating someone else's body gestures and movements. The theory behind mirroring is that we are attracted to people who are like us. These are simple gestures such as taking a sip of a drink at the same time or leaning towards or back from each other.
  2. The Triangle
    When we are attracted to someone we look at him or her in a triangular movement. We start with brief eye contact, drop down to their mouth (or their lower or upper body) and then return for more lingering eye contact. Eye contact is one of the most intimate non- verbal gestures that we can make – we only make serious eye contact with someone when we are attracted to him or her or extremely angry with them.
  3. Blinking
    When we are attracted to someone our pupils clearly dilate which significantly increases our rate of blinking.
  4. The Eyebrow Flash
    It's only momentary – perhaps a fifth of a second, but when we meet someone that we are attracted to, our eyebrows rise and fall. It’s a reaction common to all cultures – in fact it is probably the most instantly recognised sign of greeting used by humans.
  5. Responsive Feet/Hands
    The final significant gesture of attraction is that we point our feet, toes, arms or hands towards the other person. Conversely, we do the opposite when we don’t find them attractive.

Other, gender specific body language giveaways


  • Women stroke the stem or the rim of a wine glass or even rub the length of a pen.
  • Women push up their sleeves. This reveals the softer flesh on their wrists and inner arms.
  • Women look at a man, look away for a moment, look up again and let their gaze settle on him.
  • Women cross and uncross their legs slowly, usually ending up with their legs facing towards the man they like.
  • Women look at his mouth.
  • Women lick their lips or re-emphasise their lipstick by rubbing their lips together.
  • Women let their shoe partly slip off and rub their feet on the table leg.
  • Women thrust their breasts forward and suck their tummies in.
  • Women let a strap fall off their shoulder.
  • Women lean in towards or move closer to a man.
  • Women move objects closer to a man: ashtrays, glasses, bags - anything that diminishes the distance between them.
  • Women 'accidentally' brush a man's arm.
  • Women tilt their heads to one side.
  • Women play with their hair - flicking and twirling it around their fingers.
  • Women allow their skirt to creep up their legs without tugging it down again.
  • Women touch their necks and play with necklaces.


  • Men run their fingers through their hair.
  • Men preen. They smooth invisible creases on their clothes, rearrange their ties and fiddle with their cufflinks.
  • Men's lips part slightly when women make the initial eye contact.
  • Men stand slightly apart from the group he is with or move into position nearer to a woman to' block' other rivals.
  • Men sit or stand with their legs apart.
  • Men breathe in so their torso's puff out and they stand up straight.
  • Men stand with their hands on their hips.
  • Men visibly check out a woman's body letting her see him rest his eyes on those parts of her body where his hands or mouth would like to follow.
  • Men stand with one or both thumbs tucked into their belt or belt loops, with their hands pointing towards their genitals.

Indicators that there is little or no attraction

  • They are not mirroring the other person's body language.
  • They are not maintaining eye contact or are avoiding eye contact altogether.
  • They are looking at the floor more than they are looking at the othe person.
  • Their brow is relaxed and their pupils seem small.
  • Their posture is sluggish rather than erect.
  • They are exhibiting negative grooming gestures such as picking bobbles off their jumper or pushing back the cuticles on their fingernails.
  • They are shrugging their shoulders a lot.
  • They maybe smiling but it seems less spontaneous and more polite than sexy. Or their lips may be pursed and unsmiling.
  • Their hands are closed and clenched rather than open.
  • Their arms are folded.
  • They are leaning away from you.
  • They are fidgeting, seem distracted and are looking over your shoulder.
  • They are rubbing their eyes or worse, yawning!
  • They are fiddling with props: a beer mat, a piece of jewellery or their cigarettes.
  • They are tapping their foot or drumming their fingers.

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