Mirroring body language: The hidden code of connection

Nonverbal cues play a vital role in love. Explore how mirroring body language can strengthen intimacy and foster emotional bonds in relationships.

On this page

Body language is a crucial component of any romantic relationship. And being able to recognize subtle cues in your partner’s body language can help you communicate better and be more in tune with each other. 1

Mirroring is one of the most powerful tools in the art of body language for love. In this article, we’ll look at mirroring and tips on practicing it in your relationship so that you and your partner can become even more connected.

Are communication problems getting in the way of your relationship? Learn how effective communication can help create and maintain a strong bond with your partner.

Understanding mirroring

Understanding mirroring

Mirroring is a technique by which you mimic another person’s behavior or movements. It’s a form of nonverbal communication, also called mimicry, that couples often unconsciously do to show that they are in sync. 2

Mirroring looks like unconsciously copying your partner’s gestures, like crossing your legs at the ankles when they do, subtle head motions or facial expressions, or even repeating phrases that your partner has said. 3

This behavior signals your partner that you’re connected and in tune with them. It’s subconsciously saying, “I understand you,” or “I’m with you.”

Even in new relationships, people tend to mirror each other without realizing it. It’s a way of building rapport and closeness between two people by showing that you understand each other more deeply. 4

New relationships are built on a foundation of discovery and connection. Explore why active listening is an essential skill to cultivate during this exciting phase.

9 ways to practice mirroring

9 ways to practice mirroring

Now that you know more about mirroring, practicing it in your relationship can be incredibly powerful to build connection and intimacy. Here are nine tips for how to practice mirroring:

1. Pay close attention to your partner’s body language

People have a remarkable ability to accurately interpret others’ emotional states through body language cues, even if they aren’t aware of it. So, pay extra attention to your partner’s cues and facial expressions, and look for subtle cues that you can mimic back. 5

Perhaps they have a certain tilt of the head when they’re listening to you or a certain hand gesture when making a point. If you pay close attention, you might unconsciously mirror these same gestures without even realizing it.

Discover the hidden messages of body language in relationships. Learn how to interpret nonverbal cues and understand what your partner’s body language reveals about your relationship dynamics.

2. Ask open-ended questions

Asking your partner open-ended questions such as “What would you like to talk about?” or “How can I help?” is another great way to practice mirroring. This shows your partner that you care about their needs and perspective and are willing to listen and understand.

When you ask questions like this, it opens up the conversation and allows your partner to open up and express themselves. This is a great way to build intimacy and connection in your relationship. 6

3. Practice active listening

Mirroring is more than just copying body language, it’s also about listening to your partner and understanding their feelings. Active listening is a great way to show you hear and understand your partner. 7

This involves using reflective statements such as “It sounds like you feel…” or “So what I’m hearing is that…” to show that you have been listening and trying to understand. Your partner will feel seen and heard, which can be an incredibly powerful experience.

Want to even further enhance your listening skills? Dive into these active listening exercises that can transform the way you connect and communicate with others.

4. Creating physical synchrony through touch and proximity

Physical synchrony is the practice of matching body positions to create a sense of closeness and connection. This can be done through simple touches like holding hands or standing close together.

Your proximity to your partner can also send a message. Sitting or standing close to them signals that you are comfortable and at ease in their presence.

5. Maintain eye contact

Maintaining eye contact is a crucial part of mirroring. It allows you to see and be seen by your partner. Eye contact helps build understanding and connection between two people, as it shows that you are paying attention to them. 8

Even if you don’t feel comfortable with prolonged eye contact, it’s important to at least look up and make eye contact now and then. This shows that you are engaged in the conversation and listening to them.

The art of eye contact can be a powerful tool in building intimacy and connection. Explore how to harness the power of eye contact to deepen your relationships with these effective techniques.

6. Align tone of voice and speech patterns

When you’re in a conversation with your partner, take note of the rhythm and tone of their voice. Are they speaking slowly and calmly or quickly and passionately?

Does their voice get higher or lower when discussing a certain topic? Pay attention and try to match the tone of your voice to theirs. This will help create a feeling of connection and understanding.

7. Match facial expressions

Facial expressions are an incredibly powerful form of nonverbal communication. Couples are generally more attuned to each other’s facial cues than anyone else. 9

By paying attention to your partner’s facial expressions, you can learn how they are feeling and what they are thinking. And by mirroring their expressions, you can create a sense of connection and intimacy.

8. Use mirroring for conflict resolution and understanding

Every relationship has conflicts, but it’s important to remember that you and your partner have the same goal: to understand each other. Tapping into the power of mirroring can be a great way to come to a resolution.

Try repeating back what your partner has said, or ask open-ended questions to understand their viewpoint. This shows that you are paying attention and trying to understand, which can help create an atmosphere of empathy and understanding.

Knowing how to handle conflicts can make or break relationships. Explore the transformative power of emotional intelligence in conflict resolution with these practical strategies.

9. Be aware of your own body language

Finally, it’s important to be aware of your body language when practicing mirroring. This can help you be more conscious and intentional about the signals you’re sending to your partner.

Pay attention to how you’re standing or sitting, the look on your face, and the tone of your voice. Are you open and receptive to your partner? Do you look relaxed and comfortable?

The art of mirroring is a powerful tool for creating connection and intimacy in relationships. With these nine tips, you can practice mirroring in your relationship and see the powerful impact it can have.

Master the art of communication in relationships with these essential techniques. Get started today!

  1. Sabatelli, R. M., Buck, R., & Dreyer, A. (1982). Nonverbal communication accuracy in married couples: relationship with marital complaints. Journal of personality and social psychology, 43(5), 1088–1097. ↩︎

  2. Chen, M. C., & Chartrand, T. L. (2003). Self-monitoring without awareness: Using mimicry as a nonconscious affiliation strategy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1170-1179. ↩︎

  3. Chartrand, T. L., & Van Baaren, R. (2009). Human mimicry. Advances in experimental social psychology, 41, 219-274. ↩︎

  4. Lieberman, D. J. (2010). Get Anyone to Do Anything: Never Feel Powerless Again–with Psychological Secrets to Control and Influence Every Situation. St. Martin’s Press. ↩︎

  5. Hertenstein, M. J., Keltner, D., App, B., Bulleit, B. A., & Jaskolka, A. R. (2006). Touch communicates distinct emotions. Emotion, 6(3), 528-533. ↩︎

  6. Takemura, Y., Sakurai, Y., Yokoya, S., Otaki, J., Matsuoka, T., Ban, N., Hirata, I., Miki, T., & Tsuda, T. (2005). Open-ended questions: are they really beneficial for gathering medical information from patients?. The Tohoku journal of experimental medicine, 206(2), 151–154. doi.org ↩︎

  7. Reis, H. T., & Shaver, P. (1988). Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In S. Duck, D. F. Hay, S. E. Hobfoll, W. Ickes, & B. M. Montgomery (Eds.), Handbook of personal relationships: Theory, research and interventions (pp. 367–389). Oxford, UK: Wiley. ↩︎

  8. Jarick, M., & Bencic, R. (2019). Eye Contact Is a Two-Way Street: Arousal Is Elicited by the Sending and Receiving of Eye Gaze Information. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1262. doi.org ↩︎

  9. Thompson, E. H., & Hampton, J. A. (2011). The effect of relationship status on communicating emotions through touch. Cognition & emotion, 25(2), 295–306. ↩︎

Author picture of Amy Clark
Relationship Expert

Amy Clark

Amy Clark is a freelance writer who writes about relationships, marriage, and family. She has been happily married for over ten years and loves her husband and three kids. Before …

Read full bio

Get the official app 😍

PumPum® app icon


For iPhone & Android
Browse all articles