Learning the body’s language


Dear Grandparenting: Grandson Billy is painfully shy, especially around girls. Going on 17, it’s never crossed his mind to ask a girl out on a date. I was a total nervous Nellie around boys at that age, but Billy seems 20 times worse.

There’s nothing wrong with my grandson. He’s a good-looking boy who happens to be a shy guy. Whenever girls come around, Billy puts on a disappearing act. I’m not 100% about this, but I think he’s afraid of being rejected.

I remember watching a TV show about how “body language” between the sexes sends silent signals about who likes you. They said you can’t fake it. Billy might act differently if he met a girl he liked and he felt liked him too. Don’t you think it could get Billy over the hump? Kathleen Orr, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Dear Kathleen: The gestures, postures and facial tics that comprise body language speak louder than words say researchers. Studies show these non-verbal signals account for about 80% of interpersonal communication. People can say one thing and mean another, but body language that expresses feelings and emotions is the real deal, largely beyond our control and difficult to manipulate.

Which brings us to a form of body language we call flirting, when silent signals fly fast and furiously. According to social scientists, humans are hard-wired to flirt, regardless of age or marital status.

Females subconsciously express interest through various non-verbal cues — grooming and preening, touching, tilting their heads, knees and feet pointing toward a male, mirroring a male’s movement, tossing their hair or touching their neck area, among others.

While females are better at reading body language, males who understand the basics have a winning hand when it comes to avoiding rejection. Once your grandson learns the signals, daresay he’ll soon have a girl on his arm.

Grand remark of the week

Mack Green from Sidney, Ohio asked granddaughter Julie if she made any new friends in school.

“I like Linda,” said Julie. “Everybody likes Linda. She’s funny and makes the best faces. She can even cross her eyes!”


Tom and Dee and Cousin Key

Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.

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