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Mirroring in NLP and Social Interactions

Social interactions generally involve many aspects. One of the more significant in determining the level of proximity between communicators is mirroring.

Mirroring, is a term from NLP that involves matching what someone else does, when they can see you. Usually done while communicating with them, often with less movement, or even on a different channel (mirror auditory sounds with a movement of the hand).

Usually observed when people are talking. The listeners will typically smile or frown along with the speaker talking to them. Often it seems nearly like ESP in the speed of the responses and anticapation of the reactions and mirroring.

This is useful in many places and enhances raport and familiarity with people.

When meeting people, if you display the same expression as they have, or mirror their expression, they will generally be much more friendly. You might see this related to the way a person accepts their own image when looking in a mirror.

More uses include: Matching one person's movement with another type of action, sound, or different movement. For example movement of a hand in time with someones breathing.

Direct mirroring while looking right at someone is used primarily by lovers or people with high familiarity.

Postural Mirror-image mirroring -- what people consider first from the term -- where one person's left side "matches" the other person's right side usually shows strong rapport and typically Affinity or empathy and increasing your own synchronicity with someone can also smooth conversation.

Mirroring can also take place in an agressive situation where each move is matched by an opponent.

A key aspect is that mirroring does not just apply to physical positions. People in sync will breath together and respond to the others slightest movement, sound, etc., in similar ways.

When going for increased comfort and rapport mirror loosely, because seeming too close infringes on people's comfort. Save very close mirroring for later.

See these pages on mirroring for some good sayings about mirroring.