There’s one special move that works almost every time
While some people ease charm and flirt without even noticing it, others drop one-liners that go down like farts in an elevator and don’t stand a chance in the cruel world of dating.
To the rescue of singletons looking to level the playing field come researchers who have identified a key flirting technique that works nearly every time.
Keyword – nearly.
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), as well as Bucknell University and State University of New York, studied flirting in Norway and the US surveying 1,000 students.
Using the sexual strategies theory as its framework, which suggests that humans have evolved a complex menu of mating strategies, they asked students, from both countries and sexes, to rate the effectiveness of 40 different types of flirting for both long and short term relationships.
“Individual differences in age, religiosity, extroversion, personal attractiveness and preferences for short-term sexual relationships had little or no effect on how effective respondents considered the various flirting tactics to be,” one of the professors involved in the research, Mons Bendixen, explained.
Breaking down exactly what flirting is, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair – a professor at NTNU’s Department of Psychology – said it involves “different signals that people send to each other. It’s done to attract potential partners.
“Men and women both flirt to get the attention of a desired partner, and perhaps to achieve a sexual or romantic result from it.”
Seems simply enough, but there are some subtleties to it. Kennair continued: “What’s most effective depends on your gender and whether the purpose of the flirtation is a long-term or short-term relationship.”
The study found, for example, that people consider signals that you’re sexually available to be the most effective for women who are looking for a short-term fling.
But a friendly hug or kiss on the cheek won’t cut it in this context – women looking to seal the deal will need to signal to the potential partner that they’re available either by moving closer or making body and eye contact. But a step too far, and anti potential romance will be ruined.
Men looking for long-term relationships needed to show “signs of generosity and a willingness to commit”.
But the silver bullet for sealing the deal – humour.
Kennair explained: “People think that humour, or being able to make another person laugh, is most effective for men who are looking for a long-term relationship.
“It’s least effective for women who are looking for a one-night stand. But laughing or giggling at the other person’s jokes is an effective flirtation tactic for both sexes.”
Rebecca Burch, a co-author from SUNY Oswego, added: “It is not only effective to be funny, but for women it is very important that you show your potential partner that you think they are funny.”