Allan & Barbara Pease speak the language of relationships. They live and breathe Personal Communication and have made it their life’s work to teach others through their books, seminars and videos that life is Easy Peaseywhen you get along with others.
So it’s not surprising to these two masters of communication that the digital age has done as much harm to interpersonal relationships as it has good.
“Recent studies have revealed something disturbing about our new, young screen-watching generation” says Allan. “Brain scans show they have less connections in their brains for identifying emotions in the face of others than their parents. This means they are less likely than their parents to know that someone is angry, sad, confident, depressed or interested in them.”
This inability to read between the lines makes a first date (and often even getting to that point) a baffling and embarrassing situation for a lot of people.
“What we’re finding interesting is we have a lot of young people who are very successful in their work life but belong to a new generation where everybody texts,” says Barbara.
“They say, ‘I’m really great at texting, but face-to-face – what do I do?’”
The answer, says Allan, is to re-train your brain to read the body language and facial cues of others, and to practice using eye contact effectively.
“We teach delegates at our VIP Weekends to practice reading expressions in front of a mirror. You might feel silly at first, but you’ll soon see the benefits when you are talking to the opposite sex.”
So what advice does the pair give to help digital devotees to learn the language of love?
The Top 5 Green-Light Signals
- Extended eye contact– The longer we look at someone, the more interested we are in them. When the person’s eyes dart from side to side, their brain is searching for escape routes, a sign they’re planning their getaway.
- The Head Toss and Hair Flick(Women)- The head is flicked back to toss the hair over the shoulders or away from the face. Even women with short hair will use this gesture. A subtler version may be a quick tuck of the hair.
- Protruding Thumbs and Crotch Displays(Men)- A man will use Protruding Thumbs around women to whom he is attracted. Thumb-Displayers also often rock on the balls of their feet to give the impression of extra height. The Crotch-Displayer plants both feet firmly on the ground, making a clear statement that he has no intention of leaving. He may also turn his body towards her, point his foot at her and hold her gaze for longer than usual. When he’s seated or leaning against a wall, he may spread his legs to display his crotch.
- Touching and affectionate gestures –Touching the hand or elbow, or hugging goodbye for longer than necessary are signs that the other person is serious about you.
- Body angling and Proximity– We angle our bodies towards people we’re interested in. In particular, watch out for the angle of the hips and the direction of the feet. Proximity is another indication that things are going well. A potential partner will decrease the distance between you. If seated, they will lean forward across the table.
Getting the Approach Right
When it is time to approach someone, walk over without hesitation but with a measured pace similar to a march to demonstrate your confidence and enthusiasm about meeting them. Smile and, if a handshake is offered, keep your palm straight and return the pressure you receive. Introduce yourself and use the other person’s name twice in the first 15 seconds. Never talk for more than 30 seconds at a time.
On a Date
If you’re on a date, try subtly mirroring your companion’s seating position, body angle, gestures and speech patterns. Before long they’ll start to feel that there’s something about you they like and find you ‘easy to be with’. This is because they see themselves reflected in you.
Learning and practicing these body language cues can make all the difference in the early moments of a relationship. “When we meet people for the first time, we quickly make judgments about their friendliness, dominance and potential as a sexual partner. In fact we form up to 90% of our opinion of their availability and suitability in under 4 minutes,” says Allan.
With those odds, it’s not surprising to see why attendees at the Pease’s popular V.I.P Weekend retreats are reporting body language and face to face communication skills as their highest priority.
“There’s no doubt that digital mediums make life easier in a lot of ways. But the question is, are our young people getting the balance right?” asks Allan.