In this case, he’s half staying and half running away,” she says.But don’t read into this type of body language too much, Hogan says, particularly if you're out having cocktails.
"It's a sign that he wants to touch you and get close, but needs an excuse to do it." A twist to be wary of, says Wood: "If he grimaces while he does it, it shows the need to have things correct or perfect." He fidgets Is he squirming in his seat? He may be, ahem, hiding something: “That’s what he’ll do if he’s getting sexually excited and trying to hide or calm down a potential erection,” says Cox.
But Reiman disagrees, warning that it can be a sign he’s uncomfortable and wants out.
“It signals anxiety or nervousness,” she says, “a desire to end a conversation or to leave a situation.” So, which to believe?
Look for other clues to guide you—a raised eyebrow, perhaps?
He combs his hair with his fingers When birds clean their feathers to look their best for a potential mate, it’s called preening—and when humans do it, the intent is the same.
“We do this as a way to draw attention to ourselves,” Reiman explains.
And, while Wood agrees that fixing his hair in your presence is a good sign, she thinks there may be more to it: “If he dips his head forward and gently cups his hair and smiles, it signals he wants to look good for you,” she says. "He's not trying to impress you—he's just trying to listen to you." He also may be strategizing his next move, which Cox believes will be physical: "We 'self-stroke' when we desperately want to stroke the person in front of us, but don't feel like we can yet." Regardless, this guy is a keeper—but do you want to keep him?
“But if he does it as he’s approaching you or as you’re approaching him, he’s nervous about his appearance.” So, if you like him back, tell him how great you think he looks to put his ego at ease. See if you catch yourself sending any subconscious mirroring signals, like playing with your necklace, says Reiman.
Learn his signals Want some help deciphering the often perplexing mixed signals that men send?