10 Body Language Dos and Don’ts To Show Someone You’re Interested In Them

Your words aren’t the only way to communicate your interest in someone. Body language can also say a lot about how you feel, from the way you sit to how you learn towards or away from another person. But is how you’re carrying yourself making you seem open and interested or closed-off and cold? Follow these body language dos and don’ts on your next date.

  1. Do turn your body towards them. Facing someone shows you’re attentive and interested. You’re looking at them without getting distracted by anything or anyone else. Show this by facing your shoulders and hips in their direction. If you’re sitting next to each other, turn your torso slightly towards them, rather than straight ahead.
  2. Don’t crowd them. Facing your date can show your interest, and leaning in a little signals that you’re listening and paying attention to them. A little light touching, such as grazing shoulders when walking, can also convey your desire to get closer. But make sure to still give each other comfortable space. Getting close and cozy is a quick way to show your interest, but it can backfire when rushed. Respect their personal space, and get closer naturally and gradually over time.
  3. Do make eye contact. Aiming your body towards the other person means nothing if your eyes are darting around the room. Focus on them, and make eye contact throughout your date. Eye contact shows your interest and attraction towards the other person. And aside from that, there’s a scientific reason why eye contact is crucial. Looking at each other’s eyes releases oxytocin, often referred to as the “cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin makes people feel more connected, bonded, and relaxed. Real chemistry, then, is all in the eyes.
  4. Don’t stare. Eye contact can be flirty, while staring can be downright creepy. Make sure to look away from your date (no matter how good-looking they are). Sometimes, looking away can create a little mystery and give them a chance to pursue and try to win back your gaze.
  5. Do copy their movements. People tend to mirror others who they feel connected to or interested in, without even noticing it. If they touch their arm, you subtly touch your arm too. If they reach for their coffee cup on your cafe date, you might reach for yours too. Mirroring, when done well, can help your date relate to you better. Just be sure to not overdo it.
  6. Don’t cross your arms. Crossing your arms can make you seem unfriendly and disengaged. It conveys to your date that you’re (literally) guarded and defensive. When trying to show your interest with body language, the key is to remain open and relaxed throughout the body. And when it comes to your arms, crossed arms typically only mean one of two things: you’re bored or you’re cold. So bring a sweater on your date and make sure to keep those arms uncrossed! Bonus tip: uncross your legs, too, and instead keep your legs slightly open and relaxed, with your feet planted on the floor. Sitting confidently can help you feel more confident too.
  7. Do touch your face and hair. A little bit of face touching and hair smoothing can look flirtatious. And there’s actually a word for this: “preening.” Preening can involve fixing your hair, adjusting jewelry, or tugging at your clothes to keep yourself looking groomed and put-together. And many of us do this subconsciously to show attraction. After all, we want to look our best for the person who could potentially become our partner or future spouse! Let yourself preen a little, but don’t spend your entire date fixing your hair and outfit—that’s what the restroom mirror is for.
  8. Don’t clutch your phone or bag. On your date, keep your body loose, all the way to your fingers. Gripping your phone or bag can make you seem nervous and tense. Being able to move freely, gesturing and talking with your hands, makes you seem more available and expressive during conversation. Show your date that you’re interested by putting away the phone and choosing a hands-free bag.
  9. Do smile. Smiling and showing a relaxed expression on your face is a quick and obvious way to show your interest in the other person. A toothy grin shows that you’re positive and easygoing. And smiling at your date or laughing at their jokes shows your attraction. Even if you feel a little shy on your date, a nervous smile or giggle can make a better impression than a cold or frown-y expression.
  10. Don’t fake or force it. Forcing a fake smile will feel strange, and honestly, it’ll probably make you look strange too. When it comes to body language and facial expressions, authentic is always best. Be mindful of your posture, notice your movements, and try to smile. But if you catch yourself monitoring yourself and your body language too much, let yourself be in the moment with your date. Then, the chemistry—and the flirty body language—will come naturally.
Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo