Human beings communicate with each other in far more ways and on far more levels than we tend to realize.
A lot of the way we communicate is entirely non-verbal. And we’re mostly unconscious of what we’re communicating through our body and face.
We also unconsciously interpret all the signs other people are giving us, and we generally know deep down what those signs mean.
But not all of us are great at interpreting them. Sometimes we can get confused about what someone’s body language or facial expressions mean and end up misunderstanding them and getting the wrong idea.
Mirroring is a great example of this.
What is mirroring?
Mirroring is when one person unconsciously (usually, but not always) mimics the speech or body language of the person they’re interacting with.
It’s very common in social situations, often among friends and family, and is something that, as humans, we’re instinctively programmed to do to try to create a feeling of goodwill and rapport with the people around us.
It’s a way of showing the person you’re talking to or interacting with that you’re interested in them, engaged with them, and on the same page as them. And it can be a good sign of romantic attraction, in some cases.
What does it mean when a guy mirrors you?
You probably don’t tend to notice when someone’s mirroring you. It happens far more often than you realize, and you probably do it to other people all the time without being any the wiser.
But if you have picked up on a guy mirroring you, it could mean that he likes you (in a romantic sense or a friendly one) and is trying to build a bond of some kind between you.
If you’re reading this, then you’re probably hoping that this behavior means he’s as interested in you as you are in him. Because otherwise, you probably wouldn’t be wondering what his behavior means, or even noticed that he was mirroring you in the first place.
And he might well be interested. But if the only sign you’ve picked up on is him mirroring you, that’s not enough for you to assume that he likes you in a romantic way. On its own mirroring is no guarantee of attraction and can just mean he’s trying to build a rapport for other reasons.
Perhaps he just enjoys your company and would like to spend more time with you in a strictly platonic sense, as friends.
Perhaps he needs to build a good working relationship with you and knows that if he can build a bond between the two of you then working together will be a much more pleasant experience for you both.
Or perhaps there’s something you can do for him or something he needs from you, and he’s trying to make a good impression on you so that you’re more amenable to his requests.
On the other hand, if mirroring you is just one of the signs you’ve picked up on, then there might well be a possibility of romance.
Do people mirror deliberately?
He might be deliberately trying to build a relationship with you, but chances are the mirroring itself is something he’s doing unconsciously – it’s just something we all tend to do automatically when we want to get closer to someone for whatever reason.
But people who are especially aware of the science behind our behavior or have learned about the effects mirroring can have might use it deliberately as a way of winning your trust for their own gain.
As an example, people who take leadership courses or sales courses are often taught how to use mirroring to get exactly what they want out of a person or situation.
Someone who wants to manipulate you might try to mirror you so that you feel more favorable toward them and start to trust them more than you would otherwise.
Just to be clear, not everyone who mirrors you is doing it on purpose or for shady, questionable reasons. Chances are they don’t even know they’re doing it.
But it’s important to be aware that it is a definite possibility, so you should always be cautious about who you place your trust in and listen closely to your gut instinct.
8 ways that people might mirror you.
If you’re still a little confused about how mirroring actually shows itself and aren’t sure if a guy you know is doing it to you, then these are some of the signs to look out for.
1. The words you use.
Are there any words or phrases that you use a lot? Anything a little quirky that not many other people say? Do you perhaps swear a lot?
If he starts using the same words or turns of phrase as you and you don’t think you’ve heard him speaking that way before or the way he says it seems unnatural or forced, then that’s a strong indicator that he’s mirroring you.
2. Your body language.
Watch and see if he mimics any of the ways you communicate using your body.
Maybe he plays with his hair when you do, touches his face, rubs the back of his neck, shrugs, stands up straighter, or copies any number of the other ways you express yourself physically when you’re interacting with him.
3. Your facial expressions.
If you smile, frown, furrow your brow, grimace or put on a facial expression of any kind and you spot him reflecting that expression on his own face, that’s classic mirroring.
You can even try exaggerating your facial expressions just a little (but not so he’ll pick up on it) and see if he follows your lead.
4. Your hand gestures.
Do you speak with your hands? Are you one of those people that wouldn’t be able to say a word if they had their hands tied behind their back?
Someone who is mirroring you will probably copy this behavior, even if it’s a slightly toned-down version of what you do.
They might not be as flamboyant as you are with their hands, but if they start gesturing when they’re speaking to you and they don’t normally, they’re consciously or subconsciously mirroring you.
5. Your tone of voice.
It’s not just about the way you move your body – a mirrorer will often copy the way you say the things you say.
If you’re speaking in a harsh, soft, excited, or calm tone of voice, or anything else in between, then he’s likely to emulate that tone so you feel like he’s on the same level as you.
6. Your accent.
Copying another person’s accent or incorporating elements of their accent into the way you speak is a thing many people do when they want to create a bond with someone.
Although if they go too far, they can easily put their foot in it as it can sound like they’re poking fun at you.
You’ve probably found yourself adapting your accent to suit your audience in the past. You may have even felt self-conscious about it but found it difficult to stop.
If he has a different accent to you, listen out to see if it changes when you’re around him, and if it then changes again when he’s speaking to other people.
7. Your intonation.
He might place the stresses in words on the same syllables as you, or fall into the same rhythm of speech with the same ups and downs.
8. Your volume.
If you’re speaking particularly loudly or quietly, then he’ll probably do the same. If you change the volume of your speech, he’ll probably follow suit.
This is another one you can try to experiment with, raising and lowering your voice and seeing if he follows your lead.
Take your time and observe his behavior carefully if you want to figure out if he’s mirroring you.
But make sure you don’t focus on mirroring too much. When you like someone, it’s easy to spend a lot of time obsessing over the small details of what they say, what they do, and what it all means.
And whilst it’s good to know the signs to look out for, it’s not healthy to focus too much on these small details and try to analyze their every move.
Let yourself notice signs like mirroring, but don’t forget to live in the moment, be genuinely present when you’re around him, and follow your gut.
You’ll know deep down whether or not his body language is telling you that he’s looking for more than just a good friend.
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