Six Signals His Face Is Sending You

Mention the words sharing and feelings in the same sentence and most guys — yes, even if they're super comfortable with you — will run to the nearest sports bar, where they can avoid using modern language entirely. "Men are taught to stifle emotion, so they often have trouble verbalizing their thoughts and feelings," explains psychologist Alon Gratch, Ph.D., author of If Men Could Talk.

But lucky for you, even if your guy won't open up, his mug will give him away. "The face is considered the most expressive body part because its muscles are linked to the emotional centers in the brain," says anthropologist David B. Givens, Ph.D., author of Love Signals. "The slightest shift in mood registers as a specific facial gesture, making it extremely difficult to conceal one's true feelings." Learn to decode these unconscious cues and you've got a window into his soul.

Here's how to tell when...

1. He Needs Some Space
Maybe you brought up a sensitive subject or said something that ticked him off. It could even just be that the dude had a crummy day at work. But one thing is certain: When your guy turns his head to the right or left midconversation so you're talking to him in profile, he's in no mood to chat. "He's using this head turn to increase the physical distance between the two of you without actually stepping backward and moving his entire body away from you," says Givens. "In effect, what he's doing is creating a silent barrier to shut you out and create a safe haven for himself."

Handle-him help: His Lone Ranger stance may not have anything to do with you, but something has clearly upset him and the man needs some time alone. "Men require space in order to maintain their sense of independence, which is a central component to their identity," says Gratch. "Often, they want to feel as though they've dealt with a particular issue on their own without any assistance from a significant other."

Translation: Getting in his face will only serve to push him further away. So unless you want him to retreat to Siberia, do a disappearing act until he seems to be in a better mood ... whether it's for a few minutes or a couple of hours. "It may take the average guy 20 minutes to an hour to relax and fully process a situation; however, it's crucial for you to allow him that time period to think," says psychotherapist Jonathan Robinson, author of Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Tools to Create More Love and Less Conflict.

Then when he does seem more like himself, approach him and say something like "What was going on before? You seemed kinda bummed." Maybe he'll spill his guts, but if not, let it go. As long as he's not giving off any "I'm pissed at you" vibes, it was probably nothing anyway.


2. He's Ready for Romance
Say you're at a party or out at a bar with your guy and you notice that when you lock eyes with him, his peepers seem a little sleepy and droopy. No, he's not ready for a nap, but he is ready for bed. "When people feel a strong sexual urge, they lapse into a more restful, dreamy state," explains Givens, "which is why this expression is commonly referred to as bedroom eyes."

Handle-him help: You already know he's hot for you, so while you're out in public, work him into a state of arousal with a little hands-off foreplay. "Whisper some sexy compliment, or lean in and blow lightly in his ear to stimulate the ultrasensitive area near his eardrum," says sexologist Logan Levkoff. "Then go back to mingling with your friends as if nothing happened. This type of teasing will only heighten his anticipation." Once you're alone, make sure you follow through on those thrilling overtures you made ... and throw in a few surprises.

3. He Has Something to Tell You
If you're chatting with your man and you notice him pursing or puckering his lips several times in succession, take note. "This mouth motion shows that he's trying to verbalize a thought," says Givens. "When a person has something to say, the brain sends a message to the lips and tongue to start shaping the sentiment. You're seeing his thought expressed before he even has a chance to come out with the words."

Handle-him help: When women have something on their minds, they often gush the information. In case you hadn't noticed, dudes aren't exactly that forthcoming. So while you may be tempted to coax the thought out of him, this strategy can backfire. He'll become annoyed if you get impatient trying to pull the words from his mouth. Instead, give him time to divulge. "This signal is telling you that he wants to say something," says Givens. "It's just a matter of formulating the right phrase, so let him collect his thoughts."

However, if he remains totally tongue-tied and you don't want to put the pressure on, change the subject. "Clearly he's struggling to express himself, so ease his anxiety by taking his mind off of it," says Robinson. "Then when he seems more relaxed, return to whatever the topic of conversation was beforehand and he will be more likely to spill."

4. He's Totally Whipped
You may already know, or at least sense, that your guy digs you, but there's a subtle way his face will tip you off that he's feeling extra smitten. While looking at you, he'll tilt his head and slightly shrug his shoulder on the same side. "In a long-term relationship, this movement happens when the man feels a surge of love," says Givens. "It's an unconscious way of harkening you closer to him because he's craving romance and affection."

Handle-him help: If you've ever complained that your guy isn't mushy enough, here's your chance to cash in on some schmoop. Encourage those lovin' feelings in him by doing something sweet but sap-free, like ordering him a meat-loaded pizza or snuggling up on the couch to watch his team play ... minus the whiny commentary. "Guys appreciate it when you do something with them that they love even though it's not your thing, because it shows you're willing to put their needs first," says Levkoff. The benefit? He'll be anxious to return the favor.

5. He Has Something to Hide
If your man pauses midsentence and the tip of his tongue protrudes through his closed lips — almost as if he's sticking out his tongue — there's a chance he's self-censoring. "This reflex signals the speaker is feeling anxious, which is often how people feel when they're afraid they'll leak information," says Givens.

Handle-him help: Before you try to beat the info out of him, realize his "secret" may be something positive (like he booked a fun trip) or might not be about you. "It's okay to keep some private stuff from your partner," says Gratch. "It could be a problem that doesn't concern you or something he doesn't want to weigh you down with. If your communication hasn't been compromised, it's nothing to worry about."

But if the curiosity is killing you, try to read between the lines. "Since he made this move midconversation, most likely it was a response to whatever you were talking about at that moment," says Givens. Revisit that topic, but get him to explore it further by asking questions. Once you have him chitchatting, he might inadvertently let something slip.

6. He's Having Doubts
If your man rolls his lips inward so they disappear from sight while you are in the midst of a relationship heart-to-heart, there's a pretty good chance he's questioning your relationship's future.

"This lip compression is often a negative clue signifying that the speaker is experiencing some type of inner turmoil," says Givens, "but because even a slight amount of tension triggers visible tightening in the lips, what's weighing on him might not necessarily mean life-and-death for your union."


Handle-him help: Don't panic. Your guy could just be having a momentary freakout. Then again, it could be something more serious, like he's not sure he wants to stay coupled up. Unfortunately, you can't begin to fix the problem if you don't know what it is. "This is one time when you might have to push him a bit to get him to open up to you," says Robinson. Start by reassuring him that you won't bite his head off or launch into melodrama if he comes clean. "When you give him an opening by creating a nonhostile environment, he'll be more apt to talk. So say something like "Whatever you're trying to say, I can take it" or "No matter what you have to say, I'd rather hear it than be kept in the dark." Then wait for him to start talking.

Another way to approach it: Lead by example. Open up about something that's been bugging you to get the conversation rolling. "Once you tell him what's on your mind, he'll be more prone to tell you what's on his," says Gratch. But if none of these tactics pan out and you have some idea what he might be thinking, put it out there. For example, if you think he's feeling commitmentphobic, ask him point-blank. Just make sure you're prepared for whatever the answer might be. In the long run, you'll be better off knowing where you stand.

How to Talk with Your Face

These moves send your man covert messages.

The Brow Flash: Make eye contact and quickly raise and lower your brows. "People interpret this gesture as an indication of attraction," says anthropologist David B.Givens, Ph.D., author of Love Signals.

The Lash Look: Tilt your face forward and down, then gaze upward at him through your top lashes. According to Givens, "This sends a come-hither alert that you're smitten."

The Head Cock: Tip your head toward your right or left shoulder to show your man you understand where he's coming from. "The tilt indicates empathy and comforts the speaker," Givens explains.

The Jaw Clench: "Clenching your jaw projects angst," points out Givens. "You unwittingly clench when you're irked, but you can also consciously do it to make a point."

The Lip Droop: Let the corners of your mouth droop slightly downward — not a full-on pout. "Mimicking a frown inspires compassion in the viewer," says Givens.


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