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You don’t wanna mess with a pro.

The language of love is always extraordinarily convoluted. Whether you’re a complete novice or as well-versed as Taylor Swift, we’ve all been completely schtumped by a guy we’re into at some point.

Maybe you’ve over-deconstructed a three word half-sentence, or completely misread why he brushed your hand when you both reached for the instant coffee (come on, it’s because you were in his way), it’s usually bewildering and always frustrating.

Possibly the most infuriating aspect, is deciphering whether a guy has actual feels, or is just a good old fashioned professional flirt.

Flirting pros make everyone in their presence feel positively giggly as teen girls. Effortlessly suave, savvy and charismatic, they know every move in the book and have the ability to make you feel like the only woman in the world when they’re asking you if you have spare change for the vending machine. They never fumble over a word, or bung up a gesture, and their repertoire of cheeky one-liners is sent from the gods. Think Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones’ Diary.

While this guy can be a lot of fun, it’s pretty damn easy to fall for his good looks and devastating charm. Those emotions you keep at the back of your mind for special occasions come out in full force, but at exactly the wrong moment. The fact of the matter is this; he doesn’t actually like you. He’s just flirting up a storm.

So how do you tell a pro from a guy who genuinely digs you?

He grooms himself

According to body language expert and author of The Body Language Of Love, Allan Pease, men give off very specific signals when they are actually interested in someone. Fortunately for us, there aren’t too many of them. He states a key signal to watch out for is preening.

“As with most male animals, the human male displays preening behavior as a potential partner arrives on the scene,” explains Pease.

“He will straighten his tie, smooth his collar, brush imaginary dust from his shoulder, touch his cufflinks or watch, and rearrange his shirt and other clothing.”

And watch his hands too.

“In palmistry, the thumbs represent strength of character and the ego. Thumbs sometimes protrude from the back pockets as if the person is trying to hide their dominant attitude [if a guy is interested in you].” Pretty cute, right?

And how can you tell if he’s just a charmer?

He’s all thumbs

What’s not cute, is the ‘cowboy stance’. According to Pease, this is a clear indication of a professional flirt, or a guy who’s only after one thing.

“The arms take the readiness position and the hands serve as central indicators, highlighting the crotch. Men use this gesture to stake their territory or to show other men that they are unafraid. This gesture tells others, ‘I am virile – I can dominate,’ which is why it’s a regular for men on the prowl. Any man talking to a woman while he’s standing like this, with his pupils dilated and one foot pointing towards her is easily read.”

Look, it’s not all bad news. Ever felt that rush of blood to your head or face when you’re tossed into a situation with a guy you really have the hots for? Of course you have. Everyone has. But guess what? So do guys. It’s called blushing, and it’s very normal for both genders when they’re embarrassed, nervous, or, you know, enamoured. If you’re chatting to a guy and he starts to blush like a girl on prom night, chances are he’s genuinely interested in you.

On the flip side, a pro definitely won’t blush. Instead, he’ll remain serene as a Siamese cat. Weird as it may sound, keep a sharp eye out for guys who are just a little too collected around you.

He’s very touchy

Another super obvious sign of the professional flirt is constant touching. A guy who likes you won’t keep touching your face, waist, whatever. He might do it a little bit, but he’ll be nervous and not want to screw things up. On the other hand, a flirt will touch your clothes, shoulders, chin, and anything else much more than is usual for standard parlance. However, he won’t linger. It’s enough to titillate, but not enough to be creepy, leaving you hot and flustered but conveniently not intimidated. In other words, a recipe for heartbreak.

Body language is by no means a foolproof way of guarding your fragile heart from being broken by the wrong kind of guy, but it can alert you to some of the red flags that are generally a good indication it’s time to invest your feelings elsewhere.

 

Images via giphy.com.