In the world of body language, there are many subtle signs that give away attraction and interest. Watch my video below, where I guide you on how to read male body language (along with my special tips & tricks)!
In this article, you will learn:
the body part men find the most irresistible on a woman (hint: it’s not what you think)
the #1 body language cue that men love more than ANYTHING else
why the way he looks at you reveals his level of attraction
why men lie more when around people they’re attracted to
Women with large eyes, a small nose, full lips, and high cheeks are seen by men as more attractive because these features are usuallycorrelated with high levels of estrogen, which means the woman is more fertile. In men, women like legs, butt, chest, and arms. The majority of women favor a man’s butt as her favorite male body part.
A subtle trick to see if he likes you is to give him a light touch. Simply touch his upper arm playfully or while you’re laughing and see how he reacts. He might not touch back, but if he does, you’ve definitely got the green light.
Men who are attracted to you might even engage in more touch. If a man actively tries to touch you during your interaction, it may mean he wants to get closer to you or close the distance between you two.
Look closely at his pupils. Are they dilated? Pupil dilation is a very arousing cue.
The bigger the pupil size, the greater the interest.
But if they constrict? Yeah, probably not a good sign. Pupils constrict when we’re unattracted to something. Unattracted people’s eyes have been found to dilate or constrict like you’d expect them to when they viewed pleasant or unpleasant foods, political figures, a disabled child, war scenes, or when listening to music.
Pro Tip: If someone is attracted to you, they might immediately perk their eyes right up, even if they’re tired. This is in contrast to normal eye bagginess we might have if we’re staring at the computer screen or daydreaming about the beach.
Watch his eye movements. Do they show eye dipping to “take you all in?”
In true attraction, a male will make lots of eye contact, with the occasional dip. Eye dips are when the eye moves in a triangle shape—from one eye to the other, for the most part, but occasionally they will “dip” down below the neck area. Studies show that men will often gaze from face to breasts and the midsection if they are attracted to someone.
So if you catch him looking at the ground, he might actually be trying to take a quick glance at your body.
You might notice an attempt to get a little physically closer to you. Men who are interested may try to close the distance by:
choosing to sit next to you at a restaurant, instead of across from you
standing physically closer to you or even touching you while walking
These behaviors indicate he’s comfortable around you. He might even try taking up more space or getting closer into your intimate zone. And it works: men who maximize their surroundings and take up more space usually do receive more attention, especially from females1.
Men who are interested in you will likely face directly toward you during conversation. Even if you’re with a group, he might turn his whole torso to face you. Watch to see if he’s trying to “close you off” and keep you to himself. He might even position himself in a way that makes it harder for others to enter into a conversation, or he might stand apart from his friends so he can be in the spotlight.
This is a great sign! It means he’s more receptive toward you than others. A close friend told me a story of how a man approached her and her friends and talked to every single one of them but her. She thought she was being ignored but then noticed his torso was facing her the entire time. It turns out he wanted her phone number all along!
Men who are trying to win you over might try to make you laugh. The ability to make others laugh is actually a dominant trait (think: if I can make YOU laugh this much, guess what other things I can make you do).
If he’s cracking jokes or acting funnier than usual, it’s a good sign he’s getting his flirt on. And the more a man can make you laugh, the more attractive you’ll find him, since laughing releases dopamine.
And guess what? Men are also attracted to others who laugh with them. So if he’s telling you that one pickup line about how you’re the only ten he sees… then share a laugh to show him you’re interested!
Men will constantly preen themselves to maximize their attractiveness. When around someone he likes, preening behaviors may go up1:
Rearranging clothes. Unbuttoning the top of his shirt, adjusting his suit, straightening his socks, and readjusting his tie can be subtle preening behaviors to look for. Men want to look clean and powerful around others, unless they’re going for that rebellious look.
Fixing his hair. Men may check for loose strands of hair or ruffle it to make sure everything’s in place. Preening the hair not only makes it appear better groomed, but it also draws attention to the hair since our eyes are attracted to movement.
Glancing in the mirror. If you’re walking by a mirror or window, you might notice him paying close attention to his appearance. He might be checking to see if his outfit is wrinkled or his hair is in place.
Men often point their toes toward the person they are most interested in. You might even notice with friends, the men will likely point their toes to the most attractive person in a group. If men are not interested in anyone, their toes usually are pointed toward the door or angled outward and not pointing to anyone in particular.
Slightly open lips signal he is drawing attention to them. You might even notice his lips parting when you first make eye contact. This is a nonverbal way of saying, “You just took my breath away from me.” You might even notice men parting their lips right before they go in for the kiss.
If he wants to touch you but can’t for some reason, his desire to touch you might transfer to other objects3. You might notice him playing with the stem of his wine glass or circling his finger on the rim of his glass.
You can also reciprocate if you notice this behavior—start mirroring his body language, and you’ll both catch on to what’s really happening.
Side Note: Touching other objects can also be an anxious body language cue, so watch for other body language to confirm your suspicions.
Even though women are generally more expressive than men, a man who is attracted to you might be more facially expressive. One study shows that women even value men’s expressiveness as an attraction indicator. Heck, there’s a reason why many people find Russell Brand attractive:
Watch for the 7 different microexpressions to determine what emotions he is showing. If he’s attracted to you, he’ll likely show more positive facial expressions. In most cases, you’ll see happiness if he’s attracted to you. This means you might notice the Duchenne marker right around his eyes. This indicates a genuine smile, compared to a socially polite one.
Do you know the vocal cues? Men who are excited and psychologically aroused may use more inflection in their voice, and their voice may be more expressive than normal. This is a great sign he’s into you. Think of the last time you were excited and how your voice sounded, compared to your voice at a routine physical checkup at the doctor’s. Totally different, right?
Men who are trying to control their excitement may even deepen their voice to sound manlier and more collected. And if you want to maximize your voice, head on over to our article on How to Speak With Confidence and Sound Better.
The definition of nostril flaring is when a person’s nose widens momentarily so they can take in greater amounts of oxygen. Flaring is common before fights, but it can also happen during arousal and attraction. If he’s into you, he might briefly flare his nostrils in excitement and anticipation, in order to absorb your pheromones3.
On the other hand, if you tease him, and you notice a nostril flare, it might mean he’s getting angry. In this case, it might be best to lay off the teasing—you may have hit a vulnerable spot!
One thing you might notice if he’s attracted to you is open body language. This means he is NOT:
crossing his arms
putting objects between you, creating a barrier
turning his torso away
Instead, he is displaying open body language:
keeping his hands uncrossed from his torso
removing objects between him and you
keeping his forehead pointed toward you, instead of away
Open body language is attractive, and men will subconsciously open up if they like you. In a 2016 field study of 144 speed dates, postural expansiveness was rated as the most romantically appealing trait.
For each unit of increased expansive body language behavior, participants were 76% more likely to be picked out of all the other speed daters! You can also reciprocate if the man is opening up toward you. Open up to him, as well, to increase your attraction points!
Try incorporating open body language when you’re getting your flirt on.
Mirroring is a way of imitating another person’s body language. People mirror when they find the other person interesting, want to build rapport, or if they’re attracted to them. Look for mirroring in the following ways:
The arms. If you cross your arms, does he cross them, too? If you put one hand on your hip, does his body language follow?
Leaning. Are you both leaning close or leaning against the wall?
The legs. Watch his leg movements. If you’re both sitting down on a sofa, are your legs both crossed? Both open?
Now, mirroring doesn’t have to be exact. If it’s too close to our own movements, we may even consciously notice. Subtle mirroring displays are usually subconscious and can give away a man’s interest.
Men use different areas of their brain to read body language and often are not as good at reading body language as women are. So if you’ve heard that men don’t pick up on cues as well as women do, you’re right!
On average, women need to eye gaze three times before a man even takes notice.
So why are women so good at reading body language? It might be due to the fact that we are wired differently for social interactions. Studies show that women find social interactions much more rewarding than men do. Women’s brains release more oxytocin when socializing.
Men lie to appear more powerful, interesting, and successful. They lie about themselves eight times more than they lie about others. If a man is trying to woo you, he may lie about his talents, skills, and experiences to make himself look better.
Women lie less about themselves and more to protect others’ feelings or to make others feel better about themselves. When asked for an opinion like “How does my suit look?” she may respond positively to maintain social harmony.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell if a man is attracted to you and/or really nervous. Some men might close down because they’re so nervous—I even had a man sweat profusely, bite his nails, and make little eye contact during a date but later become completely relaxed after chatting for an hour. Here are 2 nervous cues you might see during a date.
His Hands Are Buried in His Pockets
Open hands are a good sign he’s comfortable and relaxed. If his hands are shoved deep into his pockets, however, he may be insecure or uncomfortable. You might even notice this when you meet a stranger on Tinder. Gesturing and other hand movements are a great way to tell he’s open to you.
Can you tell which posture below looks more comfortable?
Of course, the man on the right looks more comfortable. His body language is open and relaxed, while closed body language indicates the opposite. Attracted men may have open body language, showing they are receptive to getting closer to you.
Look for these signs of open body language:
Arms. Are his arms more open around you? Are they freely moving and not held closely to his body? Men are more likely to fold their arms across their torso around unattractive women, but if they find you attractive, they’ll open their body up4.
Legs. Crossed legs doesn’t necessarily mean he’s not into you. If they are crossed, make sure to note the direction of his knees to see if he’s pointing toward you or away from you.
However, closed body language is a common sign of nerves. If it’s the beginning of a date, you might notice closed body language. Watch to see if his body language gradually opens up as the date progresses and he gets more comfortable.
A great way to check if he’s not interested in you is to take everything you learned and look for the opposites:
Is he avoiding touching you?
Are his pupils constricted?
Is his torso pointed waaaay toward the exit?
Is his face expressionless with you but not around his buddies?
Is his body leaning so far away that you can’t even touch him?
Opposite cues are all signs of disinterest. Pay close attention to his body. Even from one moment to the next, the dynamics of attraction can shift as emotions change. You might even notice him making negative facial microexpressions:
Disgust. If he’s totally not into you, you’ll notice his nose wrinkle up, and you might even see his upper teeth showing. If you touch his arm or give him a few eyebrow flashes of flirtation, and he responds with disgust… sorry, but he’s probably not that interested.
Anger. Anger microexpressions can be as subtle as a quick lowering of the eyebrows or pursed lips. If he’s chasing, and you’re playing hard to get, watch to see if he’s really cool as a cucumber, or if he’s playing it off and actually getting angry.
Now, with your newfound knowledge, how will you use it? Will you spot the signs he’s into you and use them to your advantage? Or will you cut it off immediately? Let me know your experiences with male body language in the comments below!
1 Knapp, M. L., & Hall, J. A. (2014). Nonverbal communication in human interaction. Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 2 Navarro, J. (2018). The dictionary of body language: A field guide to human behavior. New York, NY: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. 3 Navarro, J., & Karlins, M. (2015). What every BODY is saying: An ex-FBI agent’s guide to speed-reading people. New York, NY: Harper Collins. 4 Pease, A. (2017). The definitive book of body language: How to read others’ attitudes by their gestures. London: Orion.
Side Note: As much as possible we tried to use academic research or expert opinion for this master body language guide. Occasionally, when we could not find research we include anecdotes that are helpful. As more research comes out on nonverbal behavior we will be sure to add it!
This article is part of our body language guide. Click here for more.
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Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.