Jun 3, 2013

Body Language?

By Claire Enos

Tonight, I was at a good friend's apartment, just hanging out when he mentioned something really interesting to me. He said when you're with someone whom you would consider a love interest, or someone you are attracted to, your eyes dilate. I found this fascinating. What exactly are our bodies telling everyone else at any one time, that we don't realize we are telling them? And how can that be used in our writing?

So, here comes the research. I googled body language, and clicked on just one link. I'll just mention my five favorite tells, and let you do the rest of the research on your own. Because, who doesn't love research?

  1. A girl brushing her hair behind her ears, or at least away from her face, is a sign that she is flirting. She wants to bring attention to her neck and face, in order to appear more feminine. This is usually a sign of a date that is going well.
  2. When a person scratches his or her nose, this could be a sign he or she is lying. Whenever a person lies, adrenaline is released, which can in turn make their nose itch.
  3. Sending glances at a cute guy or a pretty girl reveals a lot more than a person might think. Most people know this one but I thought I'd include it anyway. It reveals that the person is interested, and is trying to decide if they want the person to come over or not, or they want to know if the person likes him or her. They send short glances because that way, if the person doesn't like them, they won't feel as rejected if nothing happens.
  4. When a person lowers his or her gaze, this is a sign they want attention or support. This often can illicit a parental response from those in the room.
  5. When with other people, you tend to lean toward those you like and pull away from those you don't like.
Each of these can be used well in a story. I'll write an example:

Kara waited for Josh to open the door for her, and they walked into the diner together. She sat on the red bench at an empty table and waited for him to order them something. When he got back, she smiled and glanced at him as he continued their conversation from the car. She smiled, and looked down at her lap, then back up at him. Her smile reached her eyes, making them twinkle. She tucked her hair behind her ear, and leaned toward him, hoping to catch more of the conversation. He interrupted his own thoughts in order to say, "Order whatever you want" scratching his nose as he said it. He continued on with his thought, and she looked down, realizing he probably didn't have much money. She chose something inexpensive that she hoped he would be able to afford.

(This is a rudimentary scene I devised in less than a couple minutes, so if it's horrible don't worry, that's not my actual writing. I normally write a lot worse.) In the previous scene, you can infer lots of things. See if you notice what I did there. (You hopefully should, I tried to make it as obvious as possible.) 

So, I suggest in the future that you try to include body language in your writing. It can do a lot for your characters, make them like real people. And trust me, your writing will turn out a whole lot better than the above scene I wrote.

Have a good week,



  1. And that is show not tell!

    1. That's a good thing, yes? haha :D


  2. great post, Claire! Good ideas!

  3. I went to a body language seminar and it was very intriguing. Good post.

    1. Thanks Susan :D Yeah, it's really interesting :)


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