Specsavers in Wembley Park

The Look of Love

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Specsavers teams up with body language expert to help clueless Brits spot tell-tale signs of ‘love at first sight’

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, love is in the air as nearly half (42%) of Londoners reveal that they believe in love at first sight. With 40% thinking the eyes are the biggest indicator when falling in love, the look of love could be more powerful than people think.

According to the heartwarming poll of 2,000 Brits by Specsavers, more than half (59%) of relationships which began with love at first sight, are still going strong, and nearly one in five (19%) of those relationships have lasted over 40 years.

The phenomenon is a popular one especially with romantics – with half of Londoners (50%) agreeing that love at first sight is the most romantic way to meet your partner.

Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director at Specsavers said: ‘They say the eyes are a window to the soul and now, we can see just how important they are when it comes to falling in love. With the power to send hidden romantic messages and pick up on subtle amorous cues, neglecting the wellbeing of our sight could mean missing out on love. By ensuring your clarity of vision this Valentine’s Day, you’ll be making sure that “the one” doesn’t slip away unnoticed!’

Almost half (47%) of Londoners understand the importance of maintaining good eye contact during the early stages of dating a potential partner. Whilst just over a third (38%) wouldn’t be able to tell if someone was falling in love with them at first sight.

For this reason, Specsavers has partnered up with body language expert, Judi James, to provide tips on how to spot if someone is interested in you. For those looking for love, they could help to spot those subtle cues from that special someone.

According to Judi, the neurological reasons behind love at first sight are complex: Love at first sight happens when a hugely complex, computer-like perception process occurs in a matter of seconds, coming up with the emotional equivalent of a jackpot.

‘Imagine a fruit machine where the cogs keep spinning round with multiple combinations before suddenly and dramatically arriving at the four bells, when the world goes crazy.

Instant love is usually based on thousands of memories that accrue in our lives. All the “ideal” personality traits, visual stimulus and role models that we’ve got stored away will suddenly seem to be encompassed in this one person we’re looking at.

‘It’s very rarely primarily about looks in the traditional sense. What affects us on a deeper level will be communicated signals of personality traits like humour, confidence, kindness, fun, intellect, warmth or empathy. The way they look will be important to the process but it’s more about body language than body idealism. They will usually look similar to someone we have seen before in our lives which will allow us to attribute that person’s positive traits to them too.

‘This is called the attribution effect and it’s an emotional bombshell that is akin to the normal process of the first impression or what we call a gut reaction.’

Discussing the tell-tale signs of love at first sight, Judy goes on to say it's all in the eyes: ‘Without a doubt, most of the symptoms of love at first sight are created via the eyes – it starts and sometimes ends with the eye connection.’

‘The phrase “their eyes met across a crowded room” is more than just a cliché, it really does happen. If your eyes meet and then everything else seems to signal compatibility we really can experience love at first sight.

This is echoed by the eyes ranking number 2 (40%) in physical features that people are initially attracted to when meeting someone for the first time, only second to their smile (47%). She goes on to say that ‘We fall in love because our eyes speak to each other in a complex way that we don’t often understand ourselves.’

To help those seeking romance his Valentine’s Day, she has also provided 6 top tips on how to spot if someone is falling in love with you:

Six clear signs that someone is falling in love at first sight by Judi James

  • EYE CONNECT: The eye connection, when you catch each other’s eye, will lead to an extension of the normal length of time for eye contact with a stranger. When we spot ‘the one’ we will hold the gaze for as long as one or two seconds, feeling like we’ve been stopped in our tracks.
  • THE PEEK-A-BOO BEHAVIOUR: If we connect with the eye contact we will be impelled to look away but the impulse to look back will be stronger, meaning we go through a ritual of looking, looking away, then being drawn to look again. When you each catch the other looking that second time, there will often be a mirrored grin of recognition, to suggest feelings might be mutual.
  • COYNESS: No matter how confident or extrovert you normally are, the overwhelming emotional responses you’re experiencing will cause signals of embarrassment, like lowering your chin, blushing or giggling.
  • PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES: Your breathing may become shallow and more frequent, and your mouth might go dry. Your heart rate and your blink rate can actually increase, too. One undeniable ‘tell’ of love is pupil dilation, which is another reason why we will be drawn to gaze into their eyes to see if it has occurred.
  • EYE COMMUNICATION: When we see someone we fancy, our eyes will often be drawn to the body (subtly!) to check out the turn-on factor. With love though, the eyes will be drawn to their facial expression and especially their eyes.
  • The eyes are the most expressive body part, and we have hundreds of different eye expressions, many more than any other animal. Their eye expressions will be partly what makes us fall for them, but we will also be setting up a vital line of non-verbal communication, trying to read their thoughts and feelings to see if they match our own.
  • MIRRORING: Once the lines of communication have been set up via the eyes we will often begin to mirror each other subliminally. This can create feelings of recognition, as though we have somehow known them for years.