Neurotypicals have a million ways of showing whether they’re interested in someone, only a few of which involve speech. But it’s these nonverbal cues that pose the biggest challenge for the dating Aspergian – especially males.
Here are some dating tips for the Aspergers man who has difficulty reading body language:
1. Be aware of your date’s nervous gestures:
- Lowered eyebrows and squinted eyes illustrate an attempt at understanding what is being said or going on. It's usually skeptical. This is presuming she is not trying to observe something that's far away.
- If your date brushes her hair back with her fingers, this may be “preening” (a common gesture if your date likes you) or her thoughts about something conflict with yours. She may not voice this. If you see raised eyebrows during the date, you can be pretty sure that she disagrees with you. If your date wears glasses, and is constantly pushing them up onto her nose again, with a slight frown, that may also indicate she disagrees with what you are saying.
2. Check your date’s arms:
- If her arms are crossed while her feet are shoulder width or wider apart, this is a position of toughness or authority (e.g., she may not want you to get too close).
- If her hands are closed or clenched, she may be irritated, angry, or nervous.
- If she rests her arms behind her neck or head, she is open to what is being discussed or just laid back in general.
- Individuals with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. Though some adults just cross their arms as a habit, it may indicate that your date is (slightly) reserved, uncomfortable with her appearance, or just trying to hide something on her shirt.
3. Do not judge your date solely by her body language.
4. Do not spend too much time looking at and analyzing her body language. Try to look at her face while you are talking.
5. Don't isolate yourself by constantly examining body language when interacting with the opposite sex. There is no reason to gain a social “upper hand” anyway. This is paralysis by analysis.
6. If she looks up at the sky or to the sides, she is probably thinking about you.
7. If she talks at a fast rate and mumbles or isn't clear on what she is saying, she could be nervous or might be lying, trying to stall for time, or not telling the full truth (i.e., being vague).
8. It's easy to spot a confident lady: she will make prolonged eye contact and have a strong posture.
9. Keep in mind that each woman has her own unique body language (called baseline behaviors).
10. Look into her eyes:
- Dilated pupils mean that your date is interested. Keep in mind, however, that many drugs cause pupils to dilate, including alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA, LSD and others. Don't mistake having a few drinks for attraction.
- If her eyes seem far away, that usually indicates that she is in deep thought or not listening.
- If she looks down at the floor a lot, she is probably shy or timid.
- Individuals who look to the sides a lot are nervous, lying, or distracted. However, if the individual looks away from the speaker, it very well could be a comfort display or indicate submissiveness.
- Looking askance generally means your date is distrustful or unconvinced.
11. Observing in context is crucial to understanding body language.
12. Pay attention to how close your date is to you:
- The closer she is, the warmer she is thinking of you. The farther away that she is, the less she actually cares about you or the date. If you move slightly closer to her, does she move slightly further away? That means she doesn't want your interaction to be any more personal than it already is. If she doesn't move further away, then she is receptive – and if she responds by getting even closer to you, she probably really likes you or is very comfortable around/by you.
13. Pay special attention to “changes” in body language rather than the body language itself.
14. See if she is mirroring you:
- Mirroring is another common gesture. If she mirrors, or mimics your appearance, this is a very genuine sign that she is interested in you and trying to establish rapport with you. Try changing your body position here and there. If you find that she changes her position similarly, she is mirroring.
15. Some women touch their face and/or play with their hair when they are flirting.
16. Watch her face. It will usually give off a quick involuntary and sometimes subconscious twitch when something happens that irritates, excites, or amuses her.
17. Watch her feet:
- A fast tapping, shifting of weight, laughing, or movement of the foot will most often mean that your date is impatient, excited, nervous, scared, or intimidated.
- If your date is sitting, feet crossed at the ankles, this means she is generally at ease.
- If while standing, your date seems to always keep her feet very close together, it probably means she is trying to be "proper" in some way.
- If while seated, she purposely touches her feet to yours, she is flirting!
- Some women may point their feet to the direction of their interest. So if they are pointing at you, she may be interested in you.
18. Watch her head position:
- A cocked head means that she is confused or challenging you, depending on eye, eyebrow, and mouth gestures. Think of how a dog slightly cocks its head when you make a funny noise. When coupled with a smile, a tilted head will mean she genuinely likes you and is engaged in playful conversation.
- An overly tilted head is either a potential sign of sympathy, or if she smiles while tilting her head, she is being playful and maybe even flirting.
- Lowered heads indicate a reason to hide something. Take note if she lowers her head. If it is when she is complimented, she may be shy, ashamed, timid, keeping distance from you, in disbelief, or thinking herself. If it is after she offers an explanation, then she may be unsure if what he said was correct.
19. When your date closes her eyes longer than the time it takes to blink, that usually means that she is feeling stress, alarm, or despair (although it could mean that their contacts are dry, this will sometimes be accompanied by rubbing of the eye).
20. When observing your date, be subtle about it.
Note: Aspergian men who are dating often need to be told point-blank to dial back on their obsessions in order to better interact with a love interest. Also, reminding an Aspergian that most people have more than one relationship in their lives — and therefore, statistically, the majority of a person’s relationships will end at some point — can help to put some perspective on endings for someone who may have an ‘all or nothing’ approach and expect that first relationship to last forever.