It’s really awkward telling someone you’re not into them. No one likes sending an it’s-not-you-it’s-me-even-though-it’s-most-certainly-you text. But, nine times out of 10, that’s something you’re going to have to do (presuming you’re neither the ghosting nor the slow fade type). It would make that job a hell of a lot easier — or, if they take the hint, no job at all — if you could low-key send your date I’m-just-not-that-into-you vibes. Practice these cues to send those signals.
1. Break Eye Contact
It seems rude, but breaking eye contact when a person is talking to you and turning your head down and away will signal that you’re uninterested. “You have to be careful of [making] any moves that look smooth and ritualistic, because that can be [interpreted as] sensual. [Practice] more jerky movements,” says Patti Wood, body language expert and author of “Snap: Making The Most Of First Impressions, Body Language & Charisma.”
2. Create Space
“The intimate zone is about 14 to 16 inches away from a person. So if you’re standing, keep out of that zone, even if it’s loud and crowded,” says Wood. She also suggests leaning your head and upper body away from your date when they speak. She does warn that some people may take this as bait and, if that’s the case, you can employ the dismissive move of pushing away. In a quick motion, push off the table or scoot your chair back. “It’s even stronger in its emphasis of being dismissive and [conveying] ‘I am done with you,’” she says.
3. Show No Expression
“We tend to be animated when we’re interested in somebody,” says Wood. “If you take animation out of your voice, the person won’t feel your energy, excitement, passion or even be able to misconstrue it.” Keep your face as blank as possible (however, do not be the IRL frown emoji) with a lack of affect. It’s what Wood calls the “airport stare” — the glazed-over look you wear after an endless day of traveling. If they’re trying to make you smile, compress your lips into a flat line. “Compressions says, ‘I’m keeping information from you and I’m not interested in letting any information in,’” says Wood. And do not under any circumstances nod your head. It signals that you’re listening, which is the energy you don’t want them to work with, she says.
4. Beware Of Your Extremities
I’m a hand-talker, so I get how this one may be hard. But your hands and arms can give off signals that you don’t want to send. “Reaching your hands forward can be read as interest or ‘I want to touch you,’” says Wood. Keep your hands and arms pointed away from the other person. You can put your hands in your pockets as well. Arm folding is another good cue for guarding your energy while keeping others out. “Keep your arms fairly relaxed — otherwise it’s going to affect your nervousness and anxiety levels because you’re tightening up your muscles. It might make your limbic system think you have something to be afraid of, and you don’t want to look afraid.” If your hands are by your sides, keep them rounded rather than flat against your body, which makes you look frozen in place (read: something you don’t want).
5. Assert Power
Appearing to be in control will make you feel more relaxed and able to emit I’m-over-this energy. “Most people think they need to keep their legs close together to look closed off. But that can make you look like a victim or put tension in your body,” says Wood. Cross your feet across your knees, or cross your legs in a relaxed manner. You can also do something called the “toe stop,” says Wood. If you’re standing, keep one foot flat and cross the other foot over your ankle with the toe down. “It gives off [the energy] that you have the power in the situation,” she adds.
6. Set Up Barriers
If you’re drinking, Wood likes the move of putting your glass in front of your body. If you carry a purse, place it on the table between you and your date. This cuts off intimacy. You can also put your phone in front of you centered with your body, which gives the phone more dominance. Face the screen up — if it goes off, you have something else to look at.
“There are gender-based differences when it comes to body language,” says Wood. “Women are much more adept at reading body language cues.” This is important, because women may need to be a little more clear in their assertions when those assertions are directed at men. If these tips fail to tip off your date, it is OK to get up and leave. “Getting up out of your chair and leaving the date is a cue as well,” says Wood. Hey, not everyone’s a genius.