Body Language Of Preening
Body Language Of Preening
By definition, preening means to dress or groom with elaborate care. It is an “act of faked cleaning or tidying that is common in courtship rituals across the animal kingdom”. Both animals and humans preen themselves. We see birds picking at their feathers and dogs licking themselves. Humans tidy up their appearance by picking lint off or pressing clothing against their body. Usually preening behaviors are associated with good health. People who are clinically depressed don’t preen themselves. They are afflicted by their condition and cannot bring themselves to take care of their appearance.
Available women preen themselves more often. This includes adjusting clothing, fixing hair, applying lipstick, or licking lips. Even though they do not consciously recognize their behavior, they are actively attracting prospective males.
When someone you meet is important to you, you naturally preen yourself. Press those clothes down and fix that tie in a professional manner. Try to look as if this individual is important to you. When you are dating someone, you preen yourself. What it does is it sends a powerful message to the subconscious that says “You are important enough to me to spend this energy to put myself together”. That is very well received.
There is an interesting study about preening. An individual enters a room to meet somebody and immediately shakes hands with the host. Then another individual enters the room and preens himself slightly and then shakes hands. It was found that people couldn’t find the difference consciously, but they always felt better around the individual who preened himself first versus the one that did not. When we care about someone we tend to fix ourselves up. Life is something like putting points on the scoreboard. The more positive points we put on the magical scoreboard and make people feel comfortable around us, the more favorably we are going to be treated and received.
There can also be a negative preening. It takes place when someone is being disrespectful. Negative preening is common with teenagers. For example, a parent is talking to his child about something important and the child is sitting there indifferently picking off lint or playing with his hair. It is troubling that parents often put up with this behavior. If a child is disrespectful and indifferent, the parent should stop and say: “Look, I know what that means. It is disrespect for me.”
Making the child notice his actions communicates that the behavior is unacceptable. If the parent talks through this dismissive behavior, what he is actually saying is: “I am allowing you to continue to do this even though it is disrespectful to me.” That is not the way we achieve effective communication. Effective communication is between equals and is with respect.