One of my favorite forms of entertainment is going out to bars and watching guys try to pick up girls. I like to pick out a place in the bar with a nice view of the proceedings and sit back and enjoy the show. Now of course I can’t usually hear what’s being said but I really don’t need to hear whatever lame lines the poor bastards are trying to know how they’re doing, all I have to do is watch the body language. Especially if I see everyone’s feet I can tell you with a high degree of certainty who likes who, who is with who, who wants to leave with someone or who wants the other person to just leave them alone.
Learning how to read body language and how to express what you want to express with your body language has been the single most useful skill that I have learned. It’s extremely useful for all areas of life, whether it’s getting someone to do what you want in the business realm, getting out of a speeding ticket, avoiding a fight, getting your dog to obey you, and of course, getting what you want from that gorgeous dark haired dark eyed Bulgarian girl across the café. Especially when you don’t speak Bulgarian. Trust us on this.
Most guys are completely oblivious to the importance of body language. Like when they talk to some girl at the bar for half an hour and ask for her number only to find out later it was a fake. Did they notice that she was turned away from them the whole time? Did they see how she crossed her arms and pointed her feet towards the door? Did they see the difference between her fake smile and a real one? Of course not! I did though. Then I go over to her, smile, and say, “So if I do a better job than that guy do you think you’ll give me your real number?” Works like a charm.
Guys are not really instinctively tuned in to this form of communication but believe us, women are. Women have an innate instinctive talent for using, reading and reacting to body language unconsciously. When someone says that they just, “had a feeling” about someone or something they were most likely picking up subconsciously on body language that one can learn to read just like you’re reading this blog. When you learn to consciously read, understand and use body language you will feel at first like you are performing Jedi mind tricks on people or bending spoons with your mind like the kid in The Matrix. It will make you more successful in everything that has to do with relating to other people.
You can find scientific studies everywhere arguing about “what percentage of communication” is “non-verbal” citing numbers anywhere between 50-99%. It’s really not important to come to a firm number, only to consciously realize the concept that scientists pretty much universally agree that body language plays a significant role in communication and the actual words you use to say are much less important. The other big thing is your voice, not your words but your voice, which we covered in “Your voice is an instrument, use it as one!”
Now we’re not claiming to be mind control experts or even experts in the field of nonverbal communication. But we have both done extensive reading and field study and we can definitely help with certain tricks of the trade. For example when you first approach a girl and try to meet her, the way your body language communicates to her is absolutely critical in those first few seconds. I always see guys make the classic mistake of approaching by coming up behind a girl who is sitting at the bar facing in. This is the worst way to approach a girl because it feels like an attack. Don’t approach people from behind! You wouldn’t do it to a dog you didn’t now, would you? If a girl feels threatened she will be closed to your advances.
The next best way to handle that situation is to approach head on but the effectiveness of this technique varies widely depending on culture. For example the head on approach is not good in America but works just fine in Holland where people are extremely straight forward and respond very well to a, “Hi, I’m Boris, what’s your name?“ But you’re taking an unnecessary risk generally speaking with a direct approach.
Worldwide I’ve found the best way to approach those sitting-at-the-bar-girls is to go up and stand at the bar next to them and order a drink (or better something non alcoholic) and then casually strike up a conversation while you wait for your drink or change. This sideways or diagonal approach is the least threatening to humans and most conducive to friendliness. If you look at guys talk to each other at the bar who are friends or at least friendly with each other you will notice they always stand diagonally from each other while they talk. It’s the least confrontational, most even formulation of a social group.
Of course that’s just one of thousands of situations where body language is of critical importance. We will discuss this a lot more in the future but if you want to really get going on this absolutely essential skill set we highly recommend The Definitive Guide to Body Language by Barbara and Alan Pease. It’s a very easy to read pop psychology book with lots of different situations explained, lots of photos and simple drawings and even exercises at the back of the book. You will be astounded at how much more you see what’s really going on in the world between people after you read this. We also really enjoy The Dog Whisperer. That’s right. You can learn a lot about body language and pack dynamics which apply to people also from watching Cesar Milan who is a master of the subject.