Forms of flirting can be seen in every animal on this planet, from gift giving to the strutting of tail feathers (so to speak). However, just because it’s a natural action doesn’t mean it should come natural to everyone. In fact, many of us struggle to flirt effectively, as each of us has our own built-in weakness, drawn from our personality type. But that’s where science can come to the rescue. Let’s look at the research behind the five common styles of flirtation, and what makes them effective (or ineffective) at attracting the opposite sex.
According to studies at the University of Kansas (KU), there are five distinct methods of flirtation…
1. Physical Flirt. The physical flirt uses a very overt style of sexual flirtation, which tends to develop relationships quickly.
The Good: These relationships may be based on sexual chemistry, but they promote very strong emotional connections between partners. The physical flirt is good at dressing the part to get attention, which is showing 40 percent skin. According to studies, anything less will not give the maximum attention, and anything more will give suitors the wrong impression. One of the best ways to read between the lines of a physical flirt, is to pay attention to their toes. If interested, they’ll point them in your direction; if pointed elsewhere, they probably wish they were somewhere else.
The Bad: There is not to much bad to say about the physical flirt, other than this flirting style can give the reputation of being a player or a man-eater, which may or may not be true.
2. Traditional Flirt. This is a very introverted form of flirting that hinges on the fact that the guy should make the first move.
Good: The good news for the traditionalist is that there is a budding flirt just waiting to be unleashed. While most of these people will not flirt in public, as many as 40 percent enjoy doing it behind the safety of a screen (texting, web chatting), and are quite successful at it. According to studies, what seems to make the most effective message is medium-length text, with a minimum of abbreviations and emoticons. Abbreviations make the author appear less intelligent and in a hurry, which is a turn off.
Bad: These women often have a difficult time finding dates, as they give off the signal that they are either “taken” or uninterested. The majority of dates they find are with guys they’ve known for a considerable amount of time, which puts them at a disadvantage.
3. Polite Flirt. The polite flirt is more flirtatious than the traditional flirt, but they are very conservative.
Good: The polite flirt is not opposed to flirting, but is perhaps a bit shy. Studies show that when they are able to overcome their hesitation, they are quite successful at gaining male attention and will have many meaningful relationships.
Bad: The polite flirt often fails to gain male attention because they are missing one key element… body language. Initial impressions are based on 55 percent body language and 7 percent conversation, according to studies. Eye contact is a very important means of body language, and the polite flirt has been taught that it’s impolite to stare. In truth, we must lock eyes for two to three seconds, anywhere from three to thirteen times, before a person will get the hint that we’re interested.
4. Sincere Flirt. This is the most common form of flirting, which involves a very sincere interest, based on a combination of sexual and emotional chemistry.
Good: Sincere flirting offers meaningful relationships when the chemistry’s right. Humor is a powerful element to this style, which is fueled by the sincere interest to get to know someone. Interestingly, if the object of your attention is smiling when you meet them, and you don’t see crow’s feet, that could mean either their botox is working or they’re grinning out of politeness. When we sincerely smile, we can’t help but smile big (hence, crow’s feet). The abundance of research points to intellectual (dry, satire) and silly (slapstick, potty) humor as the best way to get a guy to smile, and sarcasm (wisecracks, self-depreciation) works best on the ladies.
Bad: There’s nothing bad about being sincere with your intentions.
5. Playful Flirt. The playful flirt uses friendly chatting and teasing to gain attention.
Good: The playful flirt is very confident in themselves, and this is fueled by their ability to meet new and interesting people every day. These people are often very good at making friends and getting what they want (especially with the opposite sex).
Bad: For those who are looking for long-term commitment, this style often leads to a string of noncommittal relationships. Men routinely mistake this kind of friendly banter as an indication she’s sexually attracted to them (whether she is or not). This person would benefit most from learning to flirt with intent. When a playful flirt scans a room, making eye contact with many guys, she is saying she’s either not particular or she’s easy. Men like to feel special. By focusing her attention on only a few guys, she can increase her chances of having a meaningful, long-term relationship.