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They'll all fall

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Body language - a reply

Steve (of Games are for Children) has started An interesting experiment.

I commented on his body language in a picture, and he submitted two different pictures to Hot or Not to test out what he took as my advice. He also wrote a bit about varying body language to achieve an outcome, etc. I wrote a long reply there, and some software ate it, so I'm posting here instead. As you read through all of this, if you keep your attention up, you'll find that there are small tidbits of new knowledge mixed with the reply.

The main thing that struck me was that Steve has misunderstood what I said, so obviously I need to communicate more clearly. "The meaning of communication is the response you get". Some of the main things I should have communicated around body language is that it is always a combination of things, that it is a question of continual adjustment to the party you are communicating with, and it is a means of getting an outcome you want. I've assumed that Steve's preferred outcome is to seduce real, live women, and the feedback was on basic aspects of the body language that achieve that outcome.

The basic attitude required for seducing people is "I am interested in you. However, I am also judging you. I am only interested in you IF you live up to my criteria, and continue living up to those criteria." If you signal "I am interested in you" without the "However, I am also judging you" part, you are basically saying "I don't care shit about you being you. You have sexual organs of a type I like, you look decent, and that's enough for me."

In body language as well other subcommunication, you communicate interested-but-judging by sending mixed signals. For instance, keeping eye contact (an interest signal) and having crossed arms (a closed signal). Or you talk to the person but keep turned away or leaned back. As the person reveals more of herself that you like, you

Another important aspect of seductive body language - for males- is basic dominant body language. This works out as "I'm willing to take space, I'm willing to look large." That works directly on the limbic system. In men, this turn out as (among other things - and again, these are guidelines, and used only some of the time):
  • Keep your hands turned so your thumbs point towards your body. This makes your arms appear from their largest side
  • Keep your shoulders back. This makes them wider.
  • Keep your elbows a bit away from your body. This makes your overall upper body take more space.
  • Stand and walk with your feet about shoulder width apart.
Note that doing all of this together will easily result in a complete "alpha pose". That pose is group dominant and can be slightly scary. So adjust as appropriate, depending on how the people around you react.

Here is a claim in Steve's post:

Ever since eighth grade when I learned about how body language affects others, I have avoided crossing my arms when around other people because it conveys boredom or disinterest. Remember how I talked about so-called "confidence" and arrogance a few posts back? I don't think anyone will dispute that crossing one's arms unnaturally in order to play "hard to get" is anything but arrogance.
Yes, I will. Or maybe I'll just displute that "unnaturally" exists. And: You are not supposed to play hard to get. You are supposed to be hard to get.

Anyway: In the first sentence of that statement Steve notes that his present body language is the result of training over many years. Training he's done as a result of somebody telling him how his body language affect others. It is natural that going back to using his complete body language will feel weird. "Incongruent" is the normal term from NLP - you aren't used to it, and all your communication is not adjusted together. "Congruent" means that all the different aspects of combination and motivation do work together.

Now, your mind sort of naturally "seek congruence"[1]. If you force your body language to match a particular attitude, parts of that attitude will follow. So if you cross your arms and lean back in the fashion of judging the person, you will judge the person at least a bit more. You will also get more choice in body language (as this becomes natural after a short while) , and you will get more choice in girls, naturally making you harder to get and making you choose girls you fit better with.

As to arrogance: Two of the tenets of NLP are "The meaning of communication is the result you get" and "You cannot not communicate" (because even sitting still in the corner with closed eyes communicates something).

When I, for instance, cross my arms and keep eye contact, I am trying to learn how to communicate better. I am trying to get a larger range of things I can use to communicate. I am trying to send the signals that give the results I want, because I sincerely believe I will make both my and the other person's life better by this.

As I change my attitudes, my belifes, my fears - I will naturally have some parts that feel weird, difficult, "unnatural". However, they are not "fake" - they are just steps on the way to a me that can do all of this "naturally".


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