Unsure about a new guy? His body language will tell you if you should cut your losses and move on. Look for these “uninterested” signals, says Tonya Reiman, author of The Body Language of Dating: Read His Signals, Send Your Own, and Get the Guy.
In many cases, the absence of interest signs is enough to indicate his lack of fascination with you. For instance, if his feet are pointed away from you; if his face is unanimated, or his pupils are constricted; if his attention lies elsewhere; if he’s making no effort to correct his messy clothing; if he’s leaning away from you, or he’s not mirroring you, you can accurately assume that he’s not feeling you (or not wanting to feel you). There are also some other uninterested signals that are more detailed contenders. They include:
Disgruntled Eye Contact: After initial peeper contact, a woman should watch the direction in which his eyes travel. If he looks to the side or up after leaving an eye lock with her, he doesn’t want to try out for her team.
Rude Revolvers: An eye roll can be the epitome of disrespect, passive aggressiveness, trivialization, frustration, condescension, disagreement with beliefs, indifference, superiority, and sarcasm, and a clear indicator that a man’s not only uninterested in a woman, but also would rather be anywhere else. Seriously, the eye roll can be so offensive that I can’t believe it’s taking up ink on this page. If a woman finds herself the intended receiver of one of these ocular revolutions (accompanied by a snide remark, no speech at all, or one of the negative facial expressions), she should take her own revolvers and roll on to other prospects— pronto.
Body Watch: There are a few exceptions to eye rolling’s overwhelming negativity. First, if he rolls his eyes playfully while smiling, maybe you’re not being completely dissed. Or, if he’s rolling his eyes at something he did or said, he’s simply using self-deprecation to disarm and charm. In either case, you can cautiously assume that if the eye roll is aimed at himself or someone other than you, he might be interested. Support this tricky display by reading other cues of his interest.
The Bored Stiff: If a woman’s dating prospect is scanning the room, yawning, resting his chin on his palm and his elbow on the table, praying to Father Time through his wristwatch, drumming his fingers on a tabletop, or otherwise silently screaming that his mind is numb, she’s in the presence of a Bored Stiff. I recommend that she put a Do Not Resuscitate order on this one. He’s not intrigued.
Dead on His Feet: Maybe he’s worked so hard today that he can barely keep his eyes open. Maybe he has an early meeting in the morning and should get home to bed. Please! If she was bleeping his radar, he wouldn’t think twice about pulling an all-nighter followed by another double. A sexually interested man can put the Energizer Bunny to shame.
The Clown Face: Smiles only indicate happiness when they’re genuine. Without an eye squint, laugh lines, dipping outer eyebrows, and rising cheeks, a smile is halfhearted, tentative, or deceptive. One phony smile is okay, but once a woman determines that all of his smiles are snake oil, it’s time to admit that while he might be polite, he’s certainly not interested in raising the big top at her place.
Specifically, there are two types of smiling mouths that indicate a lack of sexual interest. When the lips are closed and there is no shine or smile from his eyes, he’s just being polite; maybe just saying hello with the intent to keep on moving. If his lips are stretched tightly over his teeth, with both rows of choppers tightly clenched, he’s either feeling fearful or defensive—neither of which is conducive to romance.
Furthermore, if he’s making no effort to smile at all, even when she throws a sweet one his way, he’s mourning the time spent under her gaze, and may be flirting with insolence. She should release him.
Body Watch: Visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/mind/surveys/smiles/ to take a smile quiz based on Dr. Paul Ekman’s research. Just how good are you at separating real smiles from counterfeit ones?
The Outer Limits: If he’s standing so far away from her that he might be in another zip code, or if she’s considering continuing their exchange via text messaging, he’s effectively removing himself from her personal space (and her grasp). Men tend to use any excuse (loud music, quiet conversation, etc.) to move closer to women they’re interested in, so there’s no reason for his drifting away except his uninterested disposition. He may not even realize he’s retreating, but she will.
The Un-Kiss: Though the early stages of flirting don’t include the kiss, the lips will involuntarily hint about their desires. When he’s not receptive to how she’s looking or what she’s saying, his lips will purse like a Louis Vuitton.
The Blockade: Crossing of the arms is not just an effective way to say, “I’m not willing to hear you”; studies have shown that crossed arms actually block the brain’s absorption of information. If he’s built a blockade with his arms, she should hand him a drink, a brochure, or a bar menu to open him up. If he moves to uncross his arms, he’s at least partially interested. If this doesn’t work, I recommend that she retreat.
Gender Enlightenment: If a man places his hands under his biceps and pushes them outward to make them appear larger, the uninterested arm cross converts to a sign of interest. Studies suggest that women are unlikely to fold their arms in the presence of men whom they find alluring. Men, however, are more likely to fold their arms even if they’re interested in a woman.
The Butt-in: Interruptions in a woman’s monologue (unless a lively debate is in progress) or abrupt subject changes (on his part) indicate that her next move should include changing her object— the object of her affection, that is.
Institutional Inquiries: There are two types of questions: filler and fanciful. If his questions are asked without passion or without an “I’ve gotta know” attitude, he’s simply attempting to sidestep an uncomfortable silence. If he asks a question like “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” with as much enthusiasm as Ben Stein, eating it with (or from) her is the furthest thing from his mind.
Stroke of Modesty: If the room is warm and he’s sweating, yet making no move to ditch his jacket, he would rather die of heatstroke than remove one article of clothing. He’s effectively saying, “I’m outta here soon, so don’t get too attached.”
Dating ADD: If a man searches the room for conversation salvation, noting the number of mirrors on the disco ball or speculating about the grams of sugar in the punch, the woman he’s talking to should move on to someone who’s more interested in talking about what’s right in front of him. If he seems preoccupied with checking the door, he’s probably waiting for something better to walk in. And most blatantly, if his head spins every time a woman walks past, he’s telling the woman he’s with that he’s not interested enough to fake fixation on her.
Encino Man: Active listening includes leaning in, tilting of the head, and fluidity of neck movements. If a woman’s hot possibility isn’t performing as such, he’s freezing her out because he’s uninterested in continuing an exchange with her. She should refrain from attempting to thaw the man who’s answering her questions curtly, stiffening his body posture, giving her the cold posterior of his shoulder . . . or she’ll get burned.
Equipment Storage: There aren’t a lot of men who fully cross their legs when sitting, but when they do, there’s a good chance that the plow and planters are being stored away for use in another season or in another field. If he crosses his legs tightly after he’s become aware of a particular woman’s presence, he’s probably not interested in an exchange. The woman should take note of the direction of his top (crossed) leg. If it’s pointed away from her, so are his mind, body, and spirit.
The Untouchable: If he jumps back when she attempts to casually touch him, he’s either consciously or subconsciously letting her know he doesn’t have a hankerin’ for interaction. Either way, I suggest that she save him the trouble.
The Cold Thigh: If a man’s legs are pointed away from a woman, he’s not only shielding his manly bits from her, he’s protecting his sensibilities with a large part of his body: his thigh. To eliminate the possibility that he’s shy or avoiding being overbearing, she can give him two to five minutes in which to open up. If his thigh remains frigid, a sensible woman will not attempt to defrost it.
The Great Fade: A man will go to great lengths to blend into a crowd if he doesn’t want a woman’s attention. If the apple of a woman’s eye is doing his best to bury himself in the applecart, she might want to patronize a different orchard.
Missing Person: I hope this one is obvious. If a man whom a woman’s been interacting with suddenly cannot be found, she can reliably predict that it’s intentional. True, he could have been clubbed over the head and kidnapped for ransom, but chances are that if she’s lost this man, she’s actually been set free.
Body Watch: Is he interested in her? No way. She is displaying plenty of interest, but she’s probably wasting her time. He’s got his equipment stored in closed legs, he’s looking away from her, his feet are pointing straight forward (not at her), his body posture is closed, and his face is demonstrating fear.
Baselining: These facial expression and body language reading tips assume that you haven’t already made the acquaintance of the man whom you’re reading. Some human faces are naturally more animated than others. It’s important to observe your target early on, so that you can baseline, or norm, him. Notice how he acts when relaxed and not under pressure. Take note of his handshake, the way he stands, the positioning of his torso, his typical gestures, his neutral facial expression, and his comfort with eye contact.
Now watch for any change in his behavior. Is the shift positive, with an increase in interested body language? If so, continue on with your own displays of interest. If he’s cooling off with uninterested facial expressions or body language, pack up your display and retreat.