If you have recently noticed a guy touching your elbow you’re probably wondering what it might mean.

This post will try to help you figure out why a guy might touch your elbow and to make sense of it as it happens in the future.

So, what does it mean when a guy touches your elbow? If he also shows body language signals of attraction, only does it to you and he does it repeatedly then it would suggest that he is attracted to you. However, he might also do it due to domination, mirroring, to emphasize a point, to reassure you or it might have been unintentional.

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Since there are actually a number of reasons why a guy might touch your elbow it is important to consider the other body language signals that he is showing.

By doing so you will be able to get a better idea of the motivations behind why he did it.

Possible reasons a guy will touch your elbow

Each of the different reasons why a guy might touch your elbow will likely come with a number of different clues in his body language.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why a guy might touch your elbow along with the body language signals to look for.

Attraction

He might have touched your elbow because he finds you attractive.

If he was he would likely have shown a number of other signals of attraction in his body language such as:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Talking to you more than others
  • Talking with a deeper voice
  • Blinking frequently
  • Showing signs of nervousness when talking to you
  • Pointing his feet towards you even when he’s not directly in front of you
  • A lack of squinting, tightening of the eyebrows or lips and clenching of the jaw
  • Holding eye contact for longer than usual
  • Getting anxious when you’re talking to other men
  • Getting defensive when other men are around
  • Adjusting his clothing or hair when he sees you
  • Glancing at you often and quickly looking away when you catch him

Domination

When people are trying to dominate others they will often touch them. This could be why the guy touched your elbow.

If this was the case then he would have been more likely to have done it when telling you to do something or when making a statement to you.

If he was being dominating he would likely have shown it in his body language by doing things such as:

  • Taking up lots of space
  • Putting his arms and legs on things that aren’t his
  • Talking with a loud deeper voice
  • Interrupting other people when they’re talking
  • Staring
  • Squinting
  • Tight lips
  • Clenched jaw
  • A stance that makes him appear bigger such as with hands on the hips

Mirroring

When people are trying to get accepted by a certain group of people they will begin to mirror their behaviors.

If you recently touched him on the elbow yourself and he tends to socialize with the same people as you do then it could be the case that he was mirroring your behavior.

This could also be a signal that he finds you attractive. If he does then he would likely show multiple of the other body language signals of attraction mentioned above.

If he was mirroring you then it would be likely that he would mirror some of your other behaviors as well.

These can include:

  • The pitch that you talk at
  • The speed that you talk at
  • Your hand gestures
  • The way that you stand (ie arms crossed, hands in pockets, etc)
  • How you walk
  • Your smile

To emphasize what he’s saying

If he was talking to you about something that he feels emotional about then it could be the case that he was trying to emphasize what he was saying.

If that was the case he likely would have rushed over to tell you about it, had wide-open eyes, an open mouth when staring at you, forehead tension, leaning into you to see your reaction and he would have been speaking faster and often at a higher pitch.

He’s trying to reassure you

He might have touched you on the elbow because he was trying to console you.

If that is why he did it then you likely would have been telling him about something that makes you feel emotional and you likely would have show clear signs of being sad in your body language.

Culture

It could be the case that he is from a culture where they tend to touch people while talking to them.

If he is then touching your elbow wouldn’t necessarily suggest much unless he was also showing other body language signals that would suggest otherwise.

An accident

It could have been that he did it on accident.

If that was the case then he likely would have taken his hand away quickly and might have apologized.

To see your reaction

He might have done it because he is attracted to you and he wanted to see if you would be welcoming of it or not.

If this was the case then it would be more likely that he has been your friend for a while but he’s attracted to you and he wants more than just being friends.

Consider his normal behavior

When trying to figure out what touching your elbow might have meant it would be helpful to consider what his normal behavior looks like.

If he tends to touch other people as well then it wouldn’t necessarily suggest that he has good or bad feelings towards you unless he also shows other different body language signals.

If it’s not something that he tends to do then it would be more suggestive that he was doing due to attraction, domination, to emphasize something or mirroring. It would be necessary to consider what other behaviors he was showing that were out of the ordinary to figure out why.

Think about where and when he did it

The timing and location of the elbow touch would also likely be of use to you.

If he touched you shortly after telling you to do something then it would make it more likely that he was trying to emphasize his authority over you.

If he did it when you were alone together while he also changed his vocal tone and speed it would be more suggestive that it was due to attraction.

Think about your relationship with him

The type of relationship that you have with him might also be something that is useful to think about.

If he is your friend but he was showing different body language signals when he did it then he could have been signaling that he wants more than to be your friend. If that is the case then he would likely show other signals of attraction when with you that you haven’t picked up on.

If he was your boss then he could have been trying to show his authority but he might also be attracted to you. In this case, it would be important to consider the other body language signals that he shows when talking to you.

If you want to learn more about body language, a book I would recommend would be The Definitive Book of Body Language (on Amazon). It shows you how to interpret body language and understand people's true intentions.

Author

I created and currently manage Body Language Central, one of the premier sources for body language-related knowledge. Body language plays a key role in our daily lives. I hope that my website can help condense the wide amount of body language information available and allow you to make full use of it in your daily life. You can read more about me and my website here.