What makes us “feel” that a couple shares great chemistry? Is it the way they talk, the way they laugh, or just the way they are around each other? Here we look at how, from a distance, simply from the couple’s nonverbal behavior, we can spot a couple in love. In fact, we can even gauge how deep into the relationship they are.
We use the well-known Bollywood couple of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for our analysis.
A couple sharing great rapport generally displays a lot of cohesive actions and postures, called mirroring. Also known as Postural Echo, it is the body’s way of transmitting the message “See, I am just like you”. (Morris, Pg 120) Mirroring every step while walking together happens only when a couple is in great synchrony. In fact, if you see a couple mirroring each other, with one person’s foot slightly ahead of the other’s foot, you can make out who usually calls the shots (Pease pg 262)
Body pointing is an effective way that the mind unconsciously shows with whom it wants to be. The picture above shows a typical courtship Closed Position (Pease Pg 283) with Deepika’s body pointing towards Ranveer, including her feet. Although he is in her Intimate Zone, her stance is relaxed, with her wrist hanging limply by her side, not the slightest bit tense, which might have indicated that she was slightly watchful. Ranveer’s foot pointing towards the camera suggests he wants to face there but the lovely lady opening up her full body, cannot make him resist giving her a good lasting eye to eye contact.
This picture could be clicked in a moment of a private conversation or joke between the two. If either of them is an unwilling participant, he or she would be having only the ear facing towards his partner, not his entire face. The coming together of the foreheads is another sign of all guards down. If there is a more established display of head to head contact than it is here in the picture, it would be an excluding action, signalling that the pair wishes to cut off the audience off from their mind (Morris Pg 141)
You can often catch one of the partners giving a prolonged stare to his or her partner, called Gaze Behavior. It is difficult to know whether the gaze by itself is because of admiration or hostility (Morris Pg 107). But the smile on Deepika’s face, a submissive cue, which is accompanying the Gaze Behaviour, confirms for us silent admiration. Gaze behaviour of one individual does not necessarily mean that the partner is reciprocating the emotions. But the one displaying the behaviour is clearly passionate about the other person.
Genuine smiles and good eye contact does signal a lot of genuine admiration for one another. It is easy to see that both are flashing truly genuine Duchenne smiles in this picture. If you see a couple sitting close together, gazing deeply into each other’s eyes, talking softly and making gentle physical contact, they have moved past the initial shyness and grown truly intimate (Morris Pg 105)
Lapping up any opportunity to touch is an advancement in courtship. It generally begins with a light touch on the arm, as Deepika is displaying in the picture on the left. Here the couple might be in the beginning stages of their relationship. A hand touch indicates a higher level of intimacy than the one on the arm (Pease Pg 294), which is being displayed in the picture on the right. The intimacy of the touch advances as the relationship advances.
A couple in courtship is comfortable exposing vulnerable parts of their body like the neck and wrists when around each other (Wilson Pg 69). A person with his defences up would generally avoid exposing her neck unlike Deepika here, who is at the receiving end of Ranveer’s peck. Opening up the neck area suggests Deepika is fully enjoying Ranveer’s proximity in the picture.
The Full Embrace between adults is reserved for intense emotional moments (Morris Pg 136). In this particular picture, you see Deepika trying to shrug off the hug by placing both her hands as barriers and bending inwards to avoid full contact with Ranveer. Her body is turned slightly away from Ranveer. She is possibly feeling camera shy. But Ranveer is displaying a sincere hug, which is easy to spot when the eyes are closed while in action. You also cannot miss out on the slight smile on his face. The facial hair mostly masks the smile, which in all probability is a private smile. He is showing true enjoyment in embracing his lady love.
Adjusting the partner’s clothes or accessories is a display shown when a couple truly cares for one another. In later stages of a relationship, a couple will groom each other as much as themselves (Wilson Pg 69). Ranveer here is adjusting Deepika’s earrings and Deepika is neither embarrassed with his action nor hastening him. It is a clear sign that she likes him taking care of her.