In body language terms body alignment describes a posture in which a person’s upper body is oriented toward another person.
The body shows what the mind doesn’t tell.
The picture I used illustrates perfectly physical attraction. While this is a conscious pose the feelings of liking are conveyed pretty clear. Although the two girls angle their faces away from the guy, they both like him.
When people like each other, they instinctively aim their upper bodies towards one another. The faces don’t need to be pointing in the same direction.
I am not speaking here about aggressive body postures like facing away – when a person’s head is turned fully away to one side with a sudden cut-off movement to express disagreement.
Direct torso alignment – as illustrated in this picture, coveys the desire of intimacy.
The two people in the image face each other, in a closed position (the distance between them is intimate). This is one of the clearest courtship gestures.
As a woman you should know that it’s never wise to stand in front of a man you have just met, especially not in his Intimate Zone, as he might perceive it as sexual interest. It’s a matter of testosterone (and I’m really not being unreasonable).
Men mistake friendliness and smiling for sexual interest pretty often too. You know perfectly well that the idea that when a woman says “no” she means “maybe” or “yes” has caused enough problems. And it is true that women do send out courting signals when they first meet a man.
But a courting signal is not necessarily a sexual invitation and it should be more perceived as a “test” or “casual interest.”
Sometimes the closed position, with the body aligned at 0 degrees, is a sign of aggression. This occurs when someone desires to provoke a fight or a dispute.
Men don’t like full frontal approaches from other men, especially not when the approaches infringe the Intimate Zone. This Intimate Zone varies from one cultural background to another (but about this in a future entry).
The body alignment should not be perceived only as unfolding physical attraction. Agreement and loyalty could also be manifested through alignment of our upper body with that of the person we fall in with. We might see pretty often in business meetings, conferences and other similar events how people aim their upper bodies to those they admire.
You will find interesting body language books visiting my Amazon store. If you like this topic and you want to learn more, here are the previous entries.
Alina Popescu says
I always loved seeing body language interpreted. What I am also keened on is cultural differences in this area. And yes, confusing signals are a reality. I think the answer is a more skeptical approach, for all of us 🙂
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Cel Care Priveste Romania says
Very interesting post and in a lot of ways true. But I disagree with what you said about men and misinterpreting friendly body language as sexual interest. Men really don’t need body language to make that mistake. Just as long as a girl is on the same planet, or possibly even a nearby planet like Mars, its good enough. =)
It would be interesting to read a post about eye contact. I think that beyond all of our other modes of non verbal communication, eye contact can be the most telling.
As a photographer, posing is very important. It is interesting that even the direction to tilt the head (and how it is aligned with the body) makes a big difference in a masculine and feminine pose. I was even more shocked to learn that many photographers do not even know this (saw this at a seminar last fall).
Great points in your post.
Maria & Stefano says
I love those posts…they really make so much sense to me and it’s very important in acting as well to notice and understand all this…
Lots of love to you my friend!!!
Mihaela Lica says
@ Alina: yes. Skeptical . Good point.
@ Cel Care Priveste Romania (Justin – he he!): I plan to write about eye contact in the future. I hope I will not disappoint you.
@ James: you are absolutely right. I noticed that a German photographers too.
@ Maria: thank you so much. I am glad that you find these posts useful. But I’m sure you already know a lot about body language. It’s only natural in your profession.
Cel Care Nu Este Justin says
Cool cant wait, it should be really interesting to read about it. I had actually just interviewed someone today and saw that their eyes kept darting back and forth. I think they must have been pretty nervous. Thats an easy one of course.