Flirting is not a gift; it’s an art. While some are Michelangelos in the world of woo, others toil away in the neon-paint-on-velvet amateur set. Fortunately for those of us who struggle to remain composed in the company of an attractive man, a researcher at the Social Issues Research Centre in the UK has compiled a comprehensive guide to smart (scientifically proven!) flirting.
You can download that bad boy in its entirety here. Read on for a few highlights:
Isolate a target
Preferably you’re flirting with people who are single and looking to tingle rather than the boss’s husband. But if you’re “flirting with intent”, i.e., looking to win a heart or at least a phone number, there are more factors at play to consider. Research indicates that most people wind up with partners of similar attractiveness, therefore, it’s recommended you flirt with someone in your “league”. But don’t underrate yourself in the looks department, ladies, as you have a scientifically proven tendency to do. “If you are female, the odds are that you are more attractive than you think, so try flirting with some better-looking men.”
Just start talking
You don’t need an opening line. Just start talking—even if that means you have to dig up that old convo-starter, the weather. “The biggest mistake most people make with opening lines is to try to start a flirtation, rather than simply trying to start a conversation.”
Studies suggest that both sexes respond well to obvious interest, so rather than talk about how much you love your cat, find a way to indicate you find a person interesting and/or attractive. This involves a subtle combination of verbal and non-verbal cues. For example, eye contact is an extremely intimate form of communication. Hold a person’s gaze for longer than the usual few seconds and you’ve indicated interest without having to say a word. But don’t go overboard. Says the report, “The most common mistake people make when flirting is to overdo the eye contact in a premature attempt to increase intimacy.”
Aim for a light touch—literally
A gentle graze of the fingertips on the forearm of your future husband can have an instant effect. If your tentative touch gets a positive response, i.e., a smile, a touch, or overall good vibes, you might go a bit further and go for a hand-touch the next time.
Always be closing
Don’t undermine the efforts of an evening by failing to seal the deal. You’ve got to swallow that pride and put yourself on the line. “You don’t have to declare undying love, just ask: “Would you like to meet for a drink sometime next week?”