You don't often see a friends-to-lovers story in the Bachelor franchise. Usually, it's the opposite: people get engaged after knowing each other less than a couple of months, with much fewer time spent together one-on-one. After being friends for three years, Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon reportedly became a couple this spring, and reportedly got engaged on June 17. Ashley Iaconetti and Jared Haibon's body language over the years can indicate their closeness to one another – and also, give us clues as to when things turned romantic.
I spoke with body language experts Traci Brown, author of Persuasion Point: Body Language and Speech for Influence, and Blanca Cobb to understand Iaconetti and Haibon's body language in their pictures throughout their years in the public eye. There's certainly no shortage of pictures from which to gain insight: Iaconetti and Haibon flaunted their friendship on social media long before becoming Instagram-official.
Brown and Cobb have differing opinions on what Iaconetti and Haibon's body language from being friends says.
"Oh my, what distance will say about a couple," Cobb tells Elite Daily. She adds, "I’m talking about how far away you stand from your partner. The photos from when Ashley and Jared were friends really screams, 'I’m not that into you.'"
Brown disagrees. "These two have always been a hot item – even if they didn't know it," Brown tells Elite Daily. "We always see them close – really close. In most of their pictures from when they're friends, they're touching and angled [toward] each other."
Brown says that their body language in photos pre-relationship doesn't look too far off from what a photo of a romantic couple would look like.
Cobb says that the above photo from April 2017 looks more like the two are friends.
"Although they’re standing side-by-side with their bodies touching, Ashley is leaning back with her hand slightly balled instead of relaxed on his shoulder," she says.
For this picture with Iaconetti and Haibon at the beach in December 2016, Cobb mentions how Iaconetti is leaning in to Haibon, but he's faced completely forward.
"Ashley’s looking his way while he’s looking straight ahead," Cobb says. "Notice the distance between their shoulders – close, but not close enough to make contact."
Cobb notes that in the Harry Potter costume picture in November 2017, Haibon and Iaconetti aren't touching at all. "Keeping your hands to yourself is definitely a sign of 'not interested,'" she says. "This is exactly what's happening."
Brown says that "once they're officially in a relationship, it gets hotter!" The below picture was taken the night before the two got engaged, according to Iaconetti – which was of course well into their relationship. The timeline of their engagement is unclear: there's a fan theory that the two got engaged on vacation in Hawaii and staged a fake proposal for an upcoming Bachelor in Paradise episode.
"Jared and Ashley’s bodies can’t get any closer," Cobb says of this photo taken June 2018. "She’s squashed up against his chest. She’s bringing his head closer to hers. Even though her smile is larger than his, his body language shows that he’s feeling all right about their connection."
"See how close they are here?" Brown asks. "Her hand is wrapped around his head – [that's] a little control gesture – so we know who's in charge! But it must work for him because here, he's not letting her go!"
A funny anecdote that could point to Brown's theory is how Haibon is called Mr. Iaconetti when travelling with his now-fiancée. It's no secret that Iaconetti is a force to be reckoned with in #BachelorNation world, creating a career out of post-show hosting, sponsorships, and podcasting. Haibon shows that he's proud of his partner, and his comfort being referred to as Mr. Iaconetti could indicate he's fine with her having more power in the relationship.
"And you don't need to be a body language expert to get the meaning of this!" Brown says.
"Their physical closeness reflects their emotional closeness," Cobb says of the above photo from June 2018. "Snuggling is a great indicator of how you’re feeling about your partner. And this couple’s snuggle says it all."
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