1. Stare at Her (Without Being a Creep)
Every woman has her own ticks. The key is figuring out her normal body language so you can tell what isn’t normal — a surefire way to pinpoint when she’s upset or stressed, says Tonya Reiman, body language expert and author of The Body Language of Dating. Take blinking: If she normally doesn’t blink much but you notice she’s suddenly doing it twice every second, you know she’s under stress. Some other things to watch for:
- Her voice: Pay attention to the pitch, says Reiman. It might be subtle, but when she’s stressed it’ll change.
- Her posture: If she moves her hands to cover her breasts or neck, she’s feeling vulnerable, says Reiman. It’s her way of taking cover.
- Her lips: She’ll likely bite her entire lower lip when she’s upset. (On the flip side, you know you’ve won if she nibbles at a corner — a sign she’s aroused, says Reiman.)
2. Mirror Her Movements
You’ve probably heard that when people are in love, they tend to mirror each other’s movements. The trick works for arguments, too. Don’t go Simon Says style, but subtly start copying her — say, cross your arms if hers are crossed — so that you’re on an equal footing to talk, suggests Reiman. At that point, start de-escalating things. Slowly uncross your arms and after a minute or two, bring your voice down. If she doesn’t respond right away, slow down and try moving in closer to make eye contact. Once she follows your lead, briefly touch her arm or thigh to reinforce your physical connection. The slow de-escalation can be contagious — she’ll likely cool off with you.
3. Touch Her — But Don’t Overdo It
Get all touchy-feely when she’s in one of her moods and you’ll receive a swift slap. But if you sit close to her and face her, you’ll remind her of your intimate connection. Men and women see intimacy in different ways — women through being face to face, men through doing things side by side, says Helen Fisher, relationship expert and professor at Rutgers University. Make sure that your legs or hands touch, too: Utah researchers found that affectionate contact lowers stress markers in both men and women.