It goes a little something like this. While standing at a crowded bar, you scan the room for a potential bae. Finally, your eyes land on someone who seems worth talking to. It’s not necessarily the stylish kicks they’re wearing, their perfectly groomed hair, or their sly smile that inspires you to walk over. There are definitely body language clues that mean someone is single and looking, and when you pick up on them, you're far more likely to muster up the courage to approach them.
If only we could figure out for sure if that cutie at the coffee shop or across the subway car is unattached and interested before we even strike up a conversation. It would make flirting in the real world a heck of a lot easier, right? While there’s no way to know for certain without asking, body language can offer a lot of insight. For example, one study published in Semiotica, which discussed nonverbal courtship behavior, revealed that women are more likely to be approached if they smile, dance by themselves, look around the room, toss their heads, or fixate their gaze on a specific person in the room.
Want to be able to read the room a little better next time you’re on the prowl? Body language expert Patti Wood says there are certain clues that can tip you off that someone may be single and on the lookout.
Toes Pointed Toward You
Did you know that feet can be a dead giveaway when it comes to romantic interest?
“The feet point toward what the heart wants,” says Wood.
When someone’s feet are subtly pointed inward, it can make that person appear more approachable and harmless.
In other words, if you’re talking to someone in a group and their feet are angled in your direction, that can be a really good sign. Also, Wood notes that a slightly pigeon-toed stance can actually indicate that someone is attracted to you as well. This is because when someone’s feet are subtly pointed inward, it can make that person appear more approachable and harmless. On the other hand, standing with your feet farther apart and toes pointed outward can give off a more dominating vibe, which can either be read as confident or intimidating, depending.
According to Wood, even knees can provide some clues.
When a person’s legs are crossed, pay attention to which direction their knee is pointing in, as this can hint at who they find most interesting.
Arms Relaxed At The Sides
Ever noticed how when someone’s arms are folded, they automatically appear closed off? Conversely, when someone's arms are relaxed at their sides, they can give off the vibe that they're more open.
Pay attention to whether the person you have your eye on drops their arms to their sides while talking to you.
“Although there are over 60 different interpretations of arm crossing, arms usually form a protective wall around us,” says Wood. “It’s pretty obvious that to get someone to approach you, you have to let down the wall. You don't have to stand with your arms stiffly at your sides the minute you walk into a party. Some people feel more comfortable with their arms crossed when they first get in any group setting. But eventually, you need to open up."
Pay attention to whether the person you have your eye on drops their arms to their sides while talking to you. This can be a major clue that they feel comfortable, and are willing to let you in.
A Tilted Head
Ah, the head tilt. It has an inexplicably flirtatious connotation, and with good reason.
“[It is a] signal that the head tilter is listening intently,” Wood tells Elite Daily. “It also mimics a head movement done by wolves to the leader of the pack that says, ‘I’m exposing my most vulnerable spot to you.’”
If a person you’ve locked eyes with across the room tilts their head, they may be indicating that you’ve caught their interest — they’re intrigued, and want to know more about you. Or, if they tilt their head while you’re already talking, that could show they’re extremely interested in what you have to say.
Don’t disregard the significance of someone showing you their wrists. According to Wood, women, in particular, tend to gradually expose the soft underside of their wrists to a potential partner — and might increase the rate of this wrist flashing as their interest grows.
“The wrists have long been considered one of the highly erotic areas of the female body because it is one of the more delicate skin areas,” Wood explains. “It's uncertain whether this is a learned behavior or is innate, but it certainly operates on an unconscious level.”
Also, Wood adds that the palms of the hands can be often made visible when a woman is interested in the person she’s talking to.
Say what you will about #manspreading, but here’s the thing: It could indicate more than just cockiness. As it’s a posture that exposes his most sensitive body parts, Wood says it could mean he’s into you.
“It’s a vulnerable position that could mean he’s willing to put himself out there to get to know you,” she explains.
When someone stands with their hands on their hips and elbows out to the sides, this can be a power signal.
Also, Wood suggests taking note if a man angles his pelvis toward you, as this can typically signals sexual interest.
And speaking of taking up space, when someone stands with their hands on their hips and elbows out to the sides, this can be a power signal that may indicate they’re eager to get your attention — especially if their body is angled toward you.
There are several other ways in which someone might signal that they’re flirting. According to Wood, lingering eye contact is one of the top giveaways because it suggests both interest and confidence.
“You need to look at someone long enough to actually connect with them — not just a brief flicker here and there, but a significant look of two to three seconds before you look away,” she adds. “Look until you feel the click of connection and you know that feel seen.”
Also, Wood points out that hanging out in a group can make it more intimidating for someone to approach. So if you’re trying to give off vibes that you’re single and looking, she suggests separating yourself from the pack.
Body language may not be an exact science, but it can provide some seriously helpful clues into a person’s desires and intentions. So, next time you’re out with your BFFs and on the hunt for your future bae, keep a lookout for any of these subtle signs that someone is in the same boat. And while you’re at it, pay attention to what signals you’re giving off. The more open, approachable, and confident you seem, the higher the chances that the cutie you’ve been eyeing all night finally makes a move.