Opposites can and do attract, but when it comes to who we fall for, our sense of similarity usually counts for much. We are drawn when we feel we’re connected, as if, perhaps, we’ve known each other before.
There’s a game you can play with people sitting nearby, perhaps at an adjoining table in a restaurant. Copy them. Mirror the rhythm and pace of their movements, their gestures, without letting them see you’re looking. There is a significant chance they’ll come over and ask if they know you. By mirroring their conscious and unconscious patterns of behaviour, you’ll have led them to think you’re in their ‘tribe’.
It’s a trick – and if you want to flirt someone’s socks off, it’s a trick that, skilfully employed, works very well.
Here’s the scenario: you’ve met Mr or Ms Possible – and you want them to feel drawn to you. So you mirror them. Let them feel there is already a connection and that feeling on their part can become an attraction.
This doesn’t mean you parrot everything they do at exactly the same time and in exactly the same way. Do that and they’ll think you’re insane – or taking the Michael.
What it means is that you tune into the rhythm and pace of their gestures, their movements, and let your body follow. They raise a cigarette to their lips; the glass in your hand moves close to yours a few seconds afterwards. They raise themselves into a more erect posture while making a point – let’s just say, you don’t slouch.
Practise by watching people to see how they move, focussing perhaps on individual gesturing areas of their bodies, from the feet upwards. You might find you quite quickly become a body language expert, able accurately to judge the relationship between them.
But there is more to mirroring than following gestures. There is the voice to consider – its volume, intonation, pitch and pace. Two fast talkers feel they’re on a wavelength. A naturally slow talker wishes the faster person would shut up or slow down.
There are also the words that are used. We can feel knocked back by people who use different words for a thing than the ones we have just used. At worst, it’s like being corrected. More usually, it leads us to think there’s a gulf which is not being crossed. Still, it should be said that, at best, we can acknowledge the differences and find them exciting. An erotic charge can thrive on trans-Atlantic divides.
On a yet more subtle level, even the way we breathe can suggest a sexually charged connection, not least because the pace and depth of our breathing are influenced by and reciprocally influence our mood. How do you breathe when you’re sexually excited?
These are tricks. They can be used to inspire, cajole and even deceive. What you might find, however, is that with a good sense of how the mirroring aspects of body language operate, you’ll find yourself more confident, receptive and out-going when that meeting happens and you think Mr or Ms Possible might stand a chance of becoming Mr or Ms Right.