What Does Your Body Language Say on a Date?

I’ve never heard of this guy, Blake Eastman. He’s a 27-year-old guy in New York who is a body language expert and runs dating workshops. But just because I don’t know who he is doesn’t mean he’s not onto something.

Believe me, you don’t need a doctorate in order to help others.

You just need to be a keen observer of people and willing to speak an objective truth. The rest is just practice in pattern recognition. That’s what I’ve been doing here for nearly 10 years. That’s what it appears Eastman does as well. He gets people to look at themselves in the mirror – almost literally.

Eastman gets people to look at themselves in the mirror – almost literally.

Says Eastman, in response to a question about how daters can improve their skills. “Video,” he says. “You watch yourself on tape. Then you can change.” It might be a creepy move to set up a video camera on a first date, but Eastman will approximate the experience for you in his workshop by filming you talking to your classmates.”

I’ve always wanted to do something like that, but I find I can reach more people via the Internet than I can in a live seminar. Good for Eastman. As for his take on his success as a body language/dating expert, his take is rather refreshing. Says the Slate article:

“Eastman doesn’t give the impression that he aims to gather admirers but rather that he yearns to help people feel as comfortable as he’s learned to feel. “Communication is the most important part of relationships,” he says. “I want people to learn to communicate.”

Amen to that.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    Jackie Holness

    Body language says a lot, particularly in pictures…Wendy Williams talks about this a lot 🙂

  2. 2
    RW

    Very cool article.  I’m fascinated and want to attend a workshop after reading about this, just to see what he can tell me about myself that I wouldn’t notice even after watching a tape.  

  3. 3
    Some other guy

    I think it’s fun to dwell on non-creepy ways of secretly videotaping a first date 🙂

  4. 4
    Michele

    I took two of Blake’s workshops and found them very insightful. Yet I still have Qs about men and deciphering their interest level.

  5. 5
    Anna

    Good God, there is a ucker born every minute.  So now we have a post-pubescent “body language expert”?   Is there anyone out there who is not an “expert” ?  Are people so lame that they need to be told that they look/feel uncomfortable?   Here is the trick, POLISH YOUR MANNERS and then go out on a date.  It is called etiquette training and has been around since the 1900s.   You don’t need videos, seminars, spending money and snake oll salesmen.  The “relationship expert” racket is starting to get tired

    1. 5.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      “Anna”, you’ve been asked to leave this site three different times because you insult me every time you post. So why don’t you take your gorgeous, brilliant, happily-in-love ass to a site that you actually enjoy?

      It’s hard for me to fathom why such an impressive, has-it-all-together woman with an amazing boyfriend would frequent a blog of one of us “relationship expert” hucksters.

      No need to reply. Really.

  6. 6
    Still-Looking

    Michele@4
    It’s probably much easier to portray a certain image than it is to accurately decipher an individual’s actual level of interest.  Anyone can be taught to display the classic signs of interest – good eye contact, arms not folded across the chest, turning one’s torso towards the other party, plenty of smiling, etc. – and most know when someone of the opposite sex is flirting with them.  The problem is deciphering what the other person is actually feeling.  Is the waitress truly interested in me or is she just doing her best  to be friendly in an effort to get a larger tip?  Is my date truly interested in me or is she this relaxed and friendly to every person she meets?  Is my date not interested or is she always shy and nervous until she gets to know someone?
    If we had videos of each of the 3 women interacting with 10 men we could analyze the tapes and perhaps make some accurate assessments. However we usually have no idea how an individual acts while on a first date so it is incredibly easy to make the wrong assessment.  
    My advice, “Focus on post-date actions (phone calls, request for another date, etc.), don’t focus on a man’s body language.”  Great body language and no post-date phone call leads to only one inescapable conclusion.

  7. 7
    John

    Still Looking @6
    Totally agree with your points. I don’t see how videotaping me will help me much. What would be far more valuable is to view the actions of the woman on the date and how to interpret her body language. I think everyone here knows what to do if you are interested in someone- lean in when talking, the occasional touch, etc.  The problem arises when the other person gives all the good signals too, (occasional touch on arm, leaning in) and then the dreaded folded arms mixed in there too. Talk about a conflict of signals! But like Still Looking said in #6, its the post date actions that are the real tell.

  8. 8
    Amelia2.0

    I actually can see the benefit of this.  Not everyone may have grown up getting adequate feedback on their body language/posture from parents or other important figures, who may have even set a bad example.  “Manners” may therefore be a nebulous term for some and they need help understanding the importance of having such skills.
     
    Also, when someone holds a mirror up to you, and you cringe– that’s not someone else telling you what is wrong.  That’s YOU telling YOU what is wrong.  And we tend to listen to ourselves a lot better than other people.  Sometimes people need a little bit of forced self-awareness in order to motivate them to make the corrections they need.

  9. 9
    Karmic Equation

    @Still-Looking
     
    Great advice. I agree with you 100%.
     
    @Michele 4
     
    If a man approaches — I’m assuming you’re meeting men IRL — then that’s indication that he’s “interested enough” to break from his inertia. However, LEVEL OF INTEREST, as Still-Looking says, can’t be discerned from body language, but you might discern “character.” Level of interest can more easily be gauged by his EFFORTS post-date. If he’s VERY interested, contact will be quick and frequent (within a couple of days of date, if not merely hours after). If he’s only somewhat interested, there will be more space between contact and frequency (more than 3 days). If he’s not really interested and just kicking the tires, the space will more likely be weeks between contact, unless traveling and he actually lets you know that in advance.

  10. 10
    Chance

    Anna said (#5)

    Are people so lame that they need to be told that they look/feel uncomfortable?
    Sometimes people are unaware of how they come across, and it affects their success in dating, relationships, work, etc.  These people can benefit from seeing themselves on tape and receiving objective feedback.
    Here is the trick, POLISH YOUR MANNERS and then go out on a date.  It is called etiquette training and has been around since the 1900s.  
    I think these video recordings can help one polish his/her manners.
    You don’t need videos, seminars, spending money and snake oll salesmen.  The “relationship expert” racket is starting to get tired.
    Your opinion is respected.  Strange you’re on this site, however, if that is your sentiment. 

  11. 11
    RW

    @ EMK 11
    If you don’t mind, let the troll be.  She’s entertaining 😛  I always wonder whether she just has way too much time on her hands or if she’s trying to rile people to see how far she can push them.  I’m really sorry she insults you. In any case, her trolling reminds me of this:

  12. 12
    Some other guy

    Where’s the “Like” button when you need it?

  13. 13
    Fusee

    Although useful to evaluate someone’s interest, I think that for ladies a better way to use body language skills is to generate and/or increase a prospect’s interest. As a previous commenter wrote, post-date action will tell us plenty about their interest level, so there is not much need to over-analyze their body language on the date. However adequate pre- and in-date non-verbal communication can positively affect their interest level and therefore greatly enhance post-date response.
     
    I was just talking about this topic with a female friend yesterday, as she realized that she may be projecting a not-too-ideal vibe to guys she is interested in, due to shyness or other factors. Although I think we can become a bit more aware of our non-verbal communication and improve it, I unfortunately do not believe that we can completely control our body language since it’s the reflection of our emotional and mental state. If we do not truly enjoy the process of meeting men and/or if we are extremely shy or anxious around them, no amount of controlled body language will compensate these patterns and increase their interest. So to me it all comes back to mental/emotional training, and the necessity of bringing oneself into the adequate mindset first. Apropriate non-verbal communication will naturally follow, without too much need to control it.

  14. 14
    Lia

    “Anna” you have been outed yet again.  Weren’t you the one who was “Marcia” and claimed to be“the “supermodel’ type in looks, History degree from an Ivy school, two foreign languages, and brilliant cooking skills”?
     
    Well you’ve cooked your goose here.  I do believe you are… history (okay I just couldn’t resist).  Let me bid you a fond (or not so fond) farewell..
     
    Auf Wiedersehen – German
    Adios – Spanish
    Paalam – Filipino
    Zai Jian – Chinese, Mandarin
    Farvel – Danish
    Żegnaj – Polish
    Adeus – Portuguese
    Aloha – Hawaiian
    Hejdå – Swedish
    Au Revoir – French
    Ciao – Italian
    Dag – Dutch
    Khuda Hafiz – Urdu
    Sees – Norwegian
    Shalom – Hebrew
    Just in case none of these are the foreign languages that you speak… 
     
    GOODBYE!
     

  15. 15
    David T

    @Lia
     
    You forgot to use body language. A gesture, perhaps? 😉

  16. 16
    Lia

    @ David T
     
    LOL… my bad!

  17. 17
    Sparkling Emerald

    Fusee #14- “I unfortunately do not believe that we can completely control our body language since it’s the reflection of our emotional and mental state. If we do not truly enjoy the process of meeting men and/or if we are extremely shy or anxious around them, no amount of controlled body language will compensate these patterns and increase their interest.”
    I agree with your sentiments which is why I have mixed feeling about all of this.  Why should we learn to over control our body language anyway ?  Really, unless you spend the entire date curled up in the fetal position with your thumb in your mouth, would a tiny bit of fidgeting be so terrible ?  So what, if a person displays a tad bit of shyness on a first date ?  Isn’t that pretty normal ?   Frankly, I find a tad bit of shyness in a guy a little charming.  Who wants Mr Cocky and Arrogant anyway ?   I think as more and more people start over analyzing and trying to control their body language, it will CREATE more body language problems than it will help.  Seriously, if my date is searching me with a fine tooth comb, looking for signs of lying, disinterest,*etc. I am going to start to feel nervous, my body language will show it, etc.  If one is intentionally trying to use  body language to convey something that they aren’t feeling, well, there’s those “mixed signals” for ya.  If you read too many articles on body language, once again, the info starts to clash.  Let see, am I supposed to lean in to show interest, or lean back to get him to lean toward me ?  Is brushing my hair back flirtatious or is it “fidgeting” and a sign of nervousness ?  Is crossing legs or ankles being “ladylike” or is it a sign of being closed off ?  He’s leaning in towards me, is he interested or overly aggressive ? Etc., etc.
     

  18. 18
    Ruby

    I’m not sure that I would call Eastman a huckster. I think there’s some validity to what he says. Have you ever been on a date with someone with poor posture? They appear to lack confidence. Are they fidgeting, or not looking you in the eye? Maybe they’re not comfortable with you, or not really interested.
     
    I once read about a woman who didn’t understand why she wasn’t getting second dates. It turned out that even though she was well-educated, she sometimes used poor grammar, and had a tendency to brag about her accomplishments, as if she was trying to impress her date. She didn’t realize these things until she heard herself on tape. Not exactly body language, but it clued her in to behaviors she hadn’t been aware of. These things may seem obvious, but they may not be to the person doing them.

  19. 19
    London lass

    I read an article once (sorry I can’t remember the source off the top of my head) which suggested that people are very good at picking up when someone is artificially  modifying their body language for effect: for instance, if someone tries too hard to mirror someone else it can feel ‘clunky’ and the person they are trying to mirror can feel distinctly uncomfortable: I think the take home message was that body language is important but to be effective it should be as natural and unforced as possible.

  20. 20
    Sparkling Emerald

    London Lass #20   “I read an article once (sorry I can’t remember the source off the top of my head) which suggested that people are very good at picking up when someone is artificially  modifying their body language for effect”
    ———————————————————————-
    Yes !  That’s why I think attempts to micro-manage your own body language, or watching other people like a hawk for their micro-movements will just backfire.  It comes down to what Fusee said, in #14, about really needing to be in the right frame of mind, since our body language reflects what we are thinking and feeling.  Also, like spoken language, it is a conversation, and what you “say” with your body will be affected by what the other person “says” with theirs. Environmental factors will also  affect body language. Is the room too hot or cold?   Is it dimly lit or bright ?  What is the noise level ? Certain gestures can also have more than one meaning (just like spoken words can have more than one meaning) So reading too much into one or two micro gestures (provided it isn’t someone throwing a drink in your face ) can give a false reading.  Having basic good posture, movement, eye contact, etc., is a good thing, but I do think some body language “experts” make mountains of mole-hills in some cases.

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