Facial expression that help flirting


An ability to ‘read’ and interpret the facial expressions of your partner will improve your chances of successful flirting, as will awareness of what you are signalling with your own expressions.
Some expressions can be effective even from a distance, as in the ‘across a crowded room’ encounter with a stranger. The ‘eyebrow-flash’, for example, which involves raising the eyebrows very briefly – for about one-sixth of a second – is used almost universally as a longdistance greeting signal. When you see someone you know, but are not near enough to speak, the eyebrow-flash shows that you have noticed and recognised them.
We all use this non-verbal “Hello!” in situations where we cannot use the verbal equivalent, either because of distance or social convention. Watch a video of Andrew and Fergie’s wedding, for example, and you will see that Fergie performs frequent eyebrow-flashes as she walks down the aisle. Social etiquette does not allow a bride to call out cheery greetings to her friends and relations during the ceremony, but the highly sociable Fergie is clearly unable to refrain from signalling the same greetings with her eyebrows.
If you are desperate to attract the attention of an attractive stranger across a crowded party, you could try an eyebrow-flash. This should make your target think that you must be a friend or acquaintance, even though he or she does not recognise you. When you approach, your target may thus already be wondering who you are. You can, if you are skilful, use this confusion to initiate a lively discussion about where you might have met before. Such conversations inevitably centre on possible shared interests or friends or habits, and invariably involve mutual disclosure of at least some personal information. As you will learn from the ‘Verbal flirting’ sections of this Guide, these are essential ingredients of successful flirting. So, assuming your target finds you attractive, an eyebrow-flash with appropriate follow-up could leapfrog you into instant intimacy.
Two warnings are necessary here: 1) If your target does not find you attractive, the eyebrow-flash strategy may backfire, as the confusion over whether or not you already know each other will be experienced as unpleasant and annoying, rather than amusing. 2) Do not use the eyebrow-flash in Japan, where it has definite sexual connotations and is therefore never used as a greeting signal.
If your target is attracted to you, this may be more evident in facial expressions than in words. Studies have found that women are generally better than men at reading these expressions, but that both sexes have equal difficulty in seeing through people’s expressions when they are controlling their faces to hide their real feelings.
The problem is that although faces do express genuine feelings, any facial expression that occurs naturally can also be produced artificially for a social purpose. Smiles and frowns, to take the most obvious examples, can be spontaneous expressions of happiness or anger, but they can also be manufactured as deliberate signals, such as frowning to indicate doubt or displeasure, smiling to signal approval or agreement, etc. Feelings can also be hidden under a ‘social’ smile, a ‘stiff upper lip’ or a blank, ‘inscrutable’ expression.
Despite this potential for ‘deceit’, we rely more on facial expressions than on any other aspect of body language. In conversation, we watch our companions’ faces rather than their hands or feet, and rely on their facial signals to tell us what effect we are having, and how to interpret what they say. Although people are better at controlling their facial expressions than other aspects of body language, there is still some ‘leakage’, and the following clues will help you to detect insincerity.
Let’s say your target smiles at you. How do you know whether this smile is spontaneous or manufactured? There are four ways of telling the difference. First, spontaneous smiles produce characteristic wrinkles around the eyes, which will not appear if your target is ‘forcing’ a smile out of politeness. Second, ‘forced’ or ‘social’ smiles tend to be asymmetrical (stronger on the left side of the face in right-handed people and on the right side of the face in left-handed people).The third clue to insincerity is in the timing of the smile: unspontaneous smiles tend to occur at socially inappropriate moments in the conversation (e.g. a few seconds after you have made a funny remark, rather than immediately). Finally, there is a clue in the duration of the smile, as a manufactured smile tends to be held for longer (what is often called a ‘fixed’ smile) and then to fade in an irregular way.
When observing your target’s facial expressions, it is important to remember that although an expressive face – showing amusement, surprise, agreement etc. at the appropriate moments – may indicate that your target returns your interest, people do naturally differ in their degree and style of emotional expression. Women naturally tend to smile more than men, for example, and to show emotions more clearly in their facial expressions.
You are also likely to interpret expressions differently depending on who is making them. Experiments have shown that people may read the same expression as ‘fear’ when they see it on a female face, but as ‘anger’ when it appears on male face. There are also cultural and even regional differences in the amount of emotion people express with their faces. Oriental people are more likely than Westerners to hide their emotions under a ‘blank’ expression or a smile, for example, and American researchers have found that in the US, Notherners smile less than people from the South. If an attractive stranger smiles at you, it could be that he or she finds you attractive, but he or she could also be an outgoing, sociable person from a culture or region in which smiling is commonplace and not particularly meaningful.
These factors must also be taken into account when considering the effect of your own facial expressions. People tend to be put off by levels of expressiveness that are considerably higher or lower than what they are used to, so it could help to try to ‘match’ the amount of emotion you express with your face to that of your target.
As a general rule, however, your face should be constantly informative during a flirtatious conversation. Unexpressiveness – a blank, unchanging face – will be interpreted as lack of interest when you are listening and an absence of facial emphasis when you are speaking will be disturbing and off-putting. You need to show interest and comprehension when listening, and to promote interest and comprehension when speaking, through facial signals such as eyebrows raised to display surprise, as a question mark or for emphasis; the corners of the mouth turning up in amusement; nodding to indicate agreement; frowning in puzzlement; smiling to show approval, or to indicate that what you are saying should not be taken too seriously, and so on.
Fortunately, most of these facial signals are habitual, and do not have to be consciously manufactured, but some awareness of your facial expressions can help you to monitor their effect and make minor adjustments to put your target more at ease, for example, or hold his or her attention, or increase the level of intimacy.
Finally, remember that your target is unlikely to be scrutinising you for tiny signs of insincerity, so a ‘social’ smile will be infinitely more attractive than no smile at all.
Touch
Touching is a powerful, subtle and complex form of communication. In social situations, the language of touch can be used to convey a surprising variety of messages. Different touches can be used to express agreement, affection, affiliation or attraction; to offer support; to emphasise a point; to call for attention or participation; to guide and direct; to greet; to congratulate; to establish or reinforce power-relations and to negotiate levels of intimacy.
Even the most fleeting touch can have a dramatic influence on our perceptions and relationships. Experiments have shown that even a light, brief touch on the arm during a brief social encounter between strangers has both immediate and lasting positive effects. Polite requests for help or directions, for example, produced much more positive results when accompanied by a light touch on the arm.
When flirting, it is therefore important to remember that the language of touch, if used correctly, can help to advance the relationship, but that inappropriate use of this powerful tool could ruin your chances forever.
Although there are considerable differences between cultures in the levels of touching that are socially acceptable, and different personalities welcome different levels of touching, we can provide a few basic rules-of-thumb for first encounters with strangers of the opposite sex.
The first rule, for both sexes, is: touch, but be careful. Women are much less comfortable about being touched by an opposite-sex stranger than men, so men should take care to avoid any touches which may seem threatening or over-familiar. Men are inclined to interpret women’s friendly gestures as sexual invitations, so women should be equally careful to avoid giving misleading signals with over-familiar touches.
This does not mean ‘don’t touch’, as appropriate touching will have positive benefits, but touching should initially be restricted to universally acceptable areas and levels. As a general rule, the arm is the safest place to touch an opposite-sex stranger. (Back pats are equally non-sexual, but are often perceived as patronising or overbearing.) A brief, light touch on the arm, to draw attention, express support or emphasise a point, is likely to be acceptable and to enhance your companion’s positive feelings towards you.
If even this most innocuous of touches produces a negative reaction – such as pulling the arm away, increasing distance, frowning, turning away or other expressions of displeasure or anxiety – you might as well give up now. Unless your companion is exceptionally shy and reserved, negative reactions to a simple arm-touch probably indicate dislike or distrust.
If your companion finds you likeable or attractive, a brief arm-touch should prompt some reciprocal increase in intimacy. This may not be as obvious as a return of your arm-touch, but watch for other positive body-language signals, such as increased eye-contact, moving closer to you, more open posture or postural echo, more smiling, etc. Your arm-touch may even prompt an increase in verbal intimacy, so listen for any disclosure of personal information, or more personal questions.
If you see or hear signs of a positive reaction to your arm-touch, you can, after a reasonable interval, try another arm-touch, this time slightly less fleeting. If this results in a further escalation of verbal or non-verbal intimacy from your companion, you might consider moving to the next stage: a hand-touch.
Remember that a hand-touch, unless it is the conventional handshake of greeting or parting, is much more personal than an arm-touch. By touching your companion’s hand, you are opening negotiations towards a higher degree of intimacy, so keep it light and brief: a question, not an order.
A negative reaction to your hand-touch, such as the non-verbal signals of displeasure or anxiety mentioned above, does not necessarily mean that your companion dislikes you, but it is a clear indication that your attempt to advance to the next level of intimacy is either premature or unwelcome. A very positive reaction, involving a significant increase in verbal or non-verbal intimacy, can be taken as permission to try another hand-touch at an appropriate moment.
Highly positive reactions to a second hand-touch – such as a definite and unambiguous attempt to move closer to you, reciprocal arm- and hand-touching, along with significantly more personal questions, more disclosure of personal information and more expression of emotion – can be taken as permission to proceed, with caution, to a higher level of intimacy. The next stages might involve a hand-squeeze or hand-hold, repeated twice before moving on to an arm over the shoulders, or perhaps a brief knee-touch. (Males should note, however, that positive reactions to any of these touches can not be taken as permission to grope.)
You will have noticed that we advise performing each touch two times before progressing to the next level. This is because repeating the same touch, perhaps with a slightly longer duration, allows you to check that reactions are still positive, that you were not mistaken in your judgement that the touch was acceptable. The repetition also tells your companion that the first touch was not accidental or unconscious, that you are consciously negotiating for an increase in intimacy. Repeating the same touch before moving to the next level is a non-verbal way of saying “Are you sure?”.
Facial expression that help flirting Facial expression that help flirting Saturday, August 24, 2013 Rating: 5
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