The Benefits of Mirroring Behavior in Relationships

wan and woman look into each other's eyes

What is Mirroring Psychology?

Mirroring psychology, or mirroring behavior, is the process of adopting the mannerisms and behaviors of another person, either consciously or subconsciously, to display and engender affinity with them.

So, what does that mean in layman’s’ terms?

Mirroring is the act of mimicking someone you like or feel respect for in an attempt to align yourself with them, but it’s also a subconscious display of empathy. For example, when someone yawns, and we feel the need to yawn as well, this is subconscious mirroring caused by empathy.

This can take the form of taking on frequently used language, adopting gestures or mannerisms, and even the picking up of interests and hobbies. So, if someone picks up your terms of phrase, your gestures, or shows interests in your hobbies, it’s probably because they like and respect you.

With that said, however, it’s important to note that mirroring can be used to practical effect; it is known as an effective sales technique, a good way to appear more approachable and genuine, and has even been used to help people get better tips or wages in the workplace!

So, you see, mirroring could be just what you need!

How the Mirroring Effect Can Help Your Relationship

The real question, as always, is how this knowledge can be put to the best use in terms of the relationships that are important to us.

Furthermore, do mirroring psychology and behavior have any actual benefits for our relationships? Well, there are many who say that they can have huge benefits for our romantic relationships, our friendships, and that they can even help us when we date!

Studies have shown that people who mirror their dates gestures and language, subtly of course, are more likely to appear attractive. Likewise, if you mirror the actions and language of your friends and work colleagues you are more likely to keep the relationship healthy and strong. This works with family relationships, too, but is perhaps most important in maintaining long-term, romantic relationships. How?

Well, mirroring is a display of empathy that makes people feel we are the same as them; subtle mirroring in a relationship serves to remind your partner that you are in it together, so to speak, strengthens your connection, and can even take the sting out of arguments.

So, whether you’re looking for a relationship, in a new relationship, or you have been in a relationship for a long time mirroring could be just what you need to get all your ducks in a row.

How to Use Mirroring Technique Psychology in Your Relationship

Before you can use mirroring behavior and psychology effectively, you need to first learn how to mirror others. While this, as a psychological technique, can take years to master there are really only three steps to learning how to mirror someone.

1) Find and Build the Connection;

If you don’t feel a spark the chances are they aren’t either but believe it or not this is not something entirely in the hands of fate; you can create a connection, if you want to. All you need is the right body language! If you want to start building a connection with someone, face them square on, make eye contact, and use the triple nod to show that you agree, and you find them interesting. The magic ingredient, however, is pretense (at least at first). Convince yourself that the person you are speaking to is the most interesting person in the world and act accordingly!

2) Match Speed and Volume;

When you talk about mirroring people instinctively think of actions and gestures, but it can be much subtler, too. When you match the tone, speed, and volume of someone’s speech you essentially slip into their comfort zone. Likewise, if you want to change the mood of an interaction you can try to do so by altering your tone and volume to see if the person you are speaking with follows your lead.

3) Find the Punctuator;

Every person has a punctuator, a gesture, or series of gestures, that they use when they are particularly passionate about something. This could be a nod, a raise of the eyebrows, or clicking of fingers, but whatever it is you need to identify it and acknowledge it! Nod, lean in, or subtly mimic that gesture now and then to build on your connection.

Once you know how to do this, you’re well on your way to being able to actively use mirroring techniques to maintain and strengthen your relationships (or even just make your dates more interesting).

Of course, when you’re in a relationship half the work is done for you; you don’t need to build a connection because it’s already there (or it should be). You can put this to good use by using the knowledge to maintain and strengthen your relationship. Here are a few things that mirroring can help you to do;

Deal with Arguments; though it can be hard to stay cool and collected in an argument, it is imperative! If you find yourself stuck in an argument you can utilize mirroring psychology to calm the situation. Try adopting an open, calm posture and lowering your voice while adopting a gentle tone while you speak. This should prompt your partner to do the same, and over time this will stop the argument from escalating!

Get in the Mood; anyone who has been in a long-term relationship can attest to the fact that sometimes it can be real work to keep the intimacy alive. You can’t rely on the same magnetism that drove you in the beginning because time dulls everything just a little. You need to plan your romance a little, and that’s ok! When you want to really connect with your partner you should wait for a good, happy moment and mirror their gestures and tone a little. After a little flirting change your own body language bit by bit, waiting for them to mirror you. Once you’re in a nice, cozy position you can start the ball rolling… so to speak.

Bond; the bond between long-time lovers is a precious thing, but it does need some tending to. Nothing bonds like shared experience, of course, but when you are spending time together a little bit of mirroring goes a long way towards bolstering your existing connection by reminding your partner that you are on the same wavelength.

It doesn’t end here, of course, but these are some of the most useful and important functions that mirroring behavior can perform when applied correctly. If you’re already ‘lucky’ in love this will only add to your seemingly good fortunes.

If you’re less than lucky… well, there could be a ‘mirroring’ reason for this.

There’s More to it Than Mirroring Body Language

While it’s all fine and well to learn mirroring body language to use in your dating life or understand the psychology of mirroring in order to pick up on people who like us, there is a more fundamentally important side to this. You see, studies have found that our relationship with ourselves actually mirror our interpersonal relationships.

If we have deep-rooted problems with ourselves they will manifest in our romantic relationships and friendships, inevitably causing upset and damage. What’s new, you ask, and what does this have to do with mirroring behavior and psychology?

Well, did it ever occur to you that you could utilize the same psychology and behavior to build a healthy relationship with yourself? You can, and it’s much easier than you might think. Firstly, anyone versed in mirroring will tell you never to mirror negative gestures, tones, or body language. You can apply this to yourself by refusing to amplify negative thoughts, or actively correcting negative behaviors in yourself. By doing this you will begin the process of blocking them from reflecting out into your other relationships.

Secondly, when trying to use mirroring psychology on someone else you need to give them your full attention. You can apply this to fixing your relationship with yourself by giving your full attention to your own strengths, weaknesses, needs, and wants on a regular basis. By doing this you will figure out what you need to correct, but also be able to give yourself whatever it is you have been lacking. This improvement will be mirrored in your ability to give your partner what they need more consistently; when you are fulfilled it’s easier to give to others.

Finally, just as mirroring focuses heavily on learning to gauge the comfort of the person you are dealing with, you should apply this to yourself. When considering your needs and wants, your flaws and strengths, you should also be considering what speed and tone you are comfortable with in your relationship. When you begin mirroring your behavior with the tone and speed that you are comfortable with you will see that all of your dates, relationships, and interactions become much more comfortable and productive.
So, you see, mirroring behavior isn’t just for your external endeavors!

Life and love are not simple, alas, but when you have the right tools at your disposal you can be certain of one thing; you will find it a little easier. Once you have the hang of mirroring be sure to try it out on your next date (and let us know how you get on).

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