Every once and a while I'll see a book, an article in Cosmopolitan, or an article on the internet about reading body language: 101 Surefire Ways to Know if She Likes You. Read His Body Like a Chinese Food Menu.
There's signs to decode and eye signals to read. Hair toss means this. Crossed legs mean that.
I suppose it's harmless. Some of the descriptions might even be accurate.
For me though, it's too much and too confusing. My experience is people send all sorts of signals all the time, and lots of them are contradictory. It's too much to pay attention to. All the energy you spend trying to read people's body language like tea leaves is energy that is taking you out of the moment and away from where you want to be. We want to be simplifying things, not making them more complicated.
Not only that, body language signals are also sometimes untrustworthy. Especially since some people have gotten into the habit of faking those signals and are well-enough practiced at it that they can fool your body even when your brain knows better. Furthermore, even if you're picking up accurate signals...well, just because someone finds themselves attracted to you does NOT necessarily mean they want to, or even are in a position to, act on it.
That said, there is ONE non-verbal signal that I've found really helpful for telling where things are at both on my own dates and when I'm watching other couples.
The secret is arm separation.
Basically, as you become more interested in each other, the space between you shrinks, so if you're either sitting or walking side by side, your arms will often end up brushing lightly up against one another (sometimes legs too, if you're sitting).
Watch for it when you see pairs standing or sitting side by side in restaurants. You won't see it in couples who are just friends. You won't often see it in couples who have been together forever. You see it in couples who haven't hooked up yet...but it's on the horizon.
It seems to be primarily an indicator of sexual tension or physical interest. Which makes it very handy on dates.
It's helpful because it's easy to notice, a reliable indicator of interest, and you can test for it fairly unobtrusively. Furthermore, since most people are less aware of it than the eye contact/crossed legs/hair flipping bullshit you read about in Cosmo, it doesn't get 'faked' that often (*).
I'll sometimes test for this effect when I'm getting ambiguous signals from a potential partner. As I'm walking, I'll walk close enough that my shoulder lightly brushes her's (**) for a split second and then lean away.
If she's interested there will be a sensation of 'stickiness' when your shoulders touch--that is, as you lean away, the contact should continue for a little longer as her body will 'follow' yours for a beat.
If she isn't that interested, it will feel like just a quick brush and then nothing.
If she's REALLY not interested, her body might even move away from the contact.
Now you don't want to get too hung up on this. Velcro Arms is only an indication of where things are RIGHT NOW. Getting it is no guarantee. Not getting it doesn't mean you might as well go home now.
But it does give you a nice sense of where you are and whether or not you should be starting to think about moving to the next level physically (going somewhere more private, holding hands, etc.), letting things continue to develop, or backing off and slowing down a bit.
-May All Beings Be Sexy
(*) Of course, now that I've blabbed about it on my blog, all bets are off.
(**) I'm using the female pronoun here because I've never tried it on a male. From what I've seen, it works the same, but I've never tried it personally.
Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.