What Is ‘Mirroring' In a Relationship and How Does It Help?

couple kristen bell and dax shepard mirroring each other

Have you ever noticed how the happiest couples seem to be totally in sync with each other? Even if their personalities are completely different, when they’re together, they act as if they’re one unit. The secret to their relationship success? Mirroring.

What is mirroring?

Put simply, mirroring (aka “the chameleon effect”) is mimicking the other person's body language or tone. So, let’s say your S.O. is enthusiastically telling you about what happened at work today—he’s sitting forward at the dinner table, gesturing with his hands and using an animated voice. You might be tempted to lean back and cross your arms, even if you’re listening. But if you’re mirroring your partner, you would lean forward, copy his gestures and assume a similar tone.

And why should I do this?

Adopting the same posture, gestures or intonation is a science-backed way to build a connection with someone. In fact, you may have already witnessed mirroring at work—it’s a known sales technique. But in terms of your relationship, mirroring can help you strengthen your bond with your partner by helping them feel connected to you and supported by you.

OK, I’m in—how can I try it?

Next time you’re sitting down with your one and only, try gently imitating their body language. But subtlety is key here—no one likes a copycat. Suddenly mimicking your partner’s southern accent? Not so good. Crossing your legs and tilting your head to mimic their actions? Ooh, you guys are in sync. 

You’re Probably Guilty of ‘Phubbing,’ and It’s Bad for Your Marriage

img 0936

Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...