Is she actually happy, or is she faking it?
“Delight, glee, euphoria — all these positive emotions fall under the happiness umbrella,” says Mark Frank, Ph.D., a professor of communication at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Which means that if you can spot a true smile, you'll have the general idea. Look for the Duchenne smile — corners of the lips turned up, cheeks pulled higher, skin around the eyes crinkled. “People can try to fake the crinkly skin around the eyes, but it will look strange and squinty, not happy,” Frank says.
Is she surprised in a good way or in a bad way?
When she's shocked, she raises her eyebrows and widens her eyes and mouth. So if you see those signs when you offer to pay for dinner, you'll know she thinks you're stingy. “Good” or “bad” all depends on context.
Is she afraid, or just afraid of being caught in a lie?
Fear can resemble surprise in that the eyes widen and the eyebrows rise. But the lips can reveal the difference: When she's trying to suppress fear, her lips will stretch flat across her face in a line, Ekman says. “Be careful not to make any assumptions if you see she's afraid,” cautions lie-detection expert Maureen O'Sullivan, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of San Francisco. “She might be afraid that you're catching her in a lie,
or she might be afraid that you think she's lying when she's not.”
Is she just annoyed, or is she beginning to hate you?
“One of the earliest signs of anger is a slight pressing and narrowing of the lips,” Ekman says. But pay close attention to the symmetry of her features. “Contempt is revealed by an asymmetrical expression, where one lip corner is tightened,” says Frank. Contempt is also one of her two expressions that would most likely predict the demise of your relationship. The other is disgust, characterized by nose-wrinkling and raising of the upper lip, as if she's smelling something nasty — like a rotten relationship.
Women's Intuition — for Men
“A popular belief — and an incorrect one — is that women are better than men at reading people,” says William Ickes, Ph.D., a mind-reading expert and a professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington. “But studies have shown that the difference isn't in ability but in motivation.” Meaning that if you're motivated to read her mind, you'll do a better job.
Try these tactics for some extra help…
Talk after sex. This is possibly the last advice you want to hear, we know. But according to a study in Biological Psychiatry, an increase in your level of the feel-good hormone oxytocin will improve your mind-reading abilities, largely because it makes you feel closer to your partner. Since both of you receive a jolt of it during sex, there's no better time to suss out her thoughts than right afterward. She'll be more willing to share and you'll be more able to listen. (Oxytocin makes you sleepy; fight it!) If post-coital conversation isn't an option, exchange massages. A good rubdown also releases the oxytocin tide.
Listen for the odd word out. While she's talking, she might drop hints at her true feelings. If you're in a tough spot with her, pay particular attention. “Any words that stand out as being strange in context are clues to what she's really thinking,” says Ickes. The odd word out can be as blatant as a Freudian slip, or as subtle as the extra emphasis she gives to the invitation at the end of a date when she says, “Would you like to come up for some coffee?”
Watch her arms and legs. Many people believe that agitation is a sign that someone's lying — but if she's normally fidgety and her arms and legs are stone-still for once, that's when you should be concerned. “Any noticeable change in behavior can be a sign that she's lying,” says lie-detection expert Maureen O'Sullivan, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of San Francisco.
Beware the “killer” smiles. Telltale signs that she's not saying what she means: if she's smirking or smiling crookedly during a bland or uninteresting story, or if the timing of her smile is off. “If her smile flashes across her face too quickly, or lingers too long, that's a good sign she's not feeling genuine happiness,” O'Sullivan says. Maybe that's the time when you most need to prove your perceptiveness.
I think this is a great starting point for someone who is interested in understanding women better.
If you would like to learn more about what women's body movements mean then let me know!
As a woman I know exactly what every little body movement means. I can teach you everything I know so that you can have a leg up over every other man.
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Then check out The Chick-Tionary.
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For a more in depth explanation of body language, you can also read: What Every BODY Is Saying. Click here to get the book.