In a new study, we investigate the most effective flurting strategies

In a new study, we investigate the most effective flurting strategies ...

Certains people are expert in flirting. Others of us never flirt or fail spectacularly. What type of flirting works best?

One particular flirting technique almost always works for everyone and in any situation. More on that later, because not everything works every time.

According to Leif Edward Ottesen, a psychologist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology''s Department of Psychology, what makes most effective depends on your gender and whether the flirtation''s purpose is a long-term or short-term relationship.

Kennair is a member of a research group that has studied flirting in Norway and the United States, and what people consider to be effective strategies, for whom and in what context.

The research group was founded by NTNU and Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York at Oswego.

We flirt well, because of this

First, what exactly is flirting?

Flirting involves incoming signals from people to each other. It is 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 outcome from it, according to Professor Kennair.

T. Joel Wade, a Presidential Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University in the United States, is a psychologist and author of this research.

We basically do not want to contact a prospective partner, irrespective of whether or not we break up before it gets that far or not.

What works? First, let''s look at what works sometimes, but not always, and not for everyone.

Gender and purpose at play

"People believe that youre sexually available to women who are looking for a short-term relationship," says Kennair.

In this context, friendly contact, like hugging or a kiss on the cheek, does not work. Women who just want a short-lived fling from flirting must show off this clearly to the potential partner.

In another mating situation, a completely different tactic works.

According to Mons Bendixen, signs of generosity and a willingness to commit are beneficial for individuals who are looking for a long-term relationship.

Men who wish to keep a partner for a longer period of time, perhaps for life, should not be seen as stingy/ungenerous or as someone who prefers to change partners frequently.

Strongest flirting weapon for anyone

The most powerful weapon in the flirtation arsenal might come as a surprise to those who aren''t. This weapon almost always works to some degree for everybody.


People believe that humour or being able to make another person laugh is most beneficial to men who seek a long-term relationship. It''s least effective for women who want a one-night stand. However, laughing or giggling at the other person''s jokes is an effective flirtation strategy for both sexes, according to Kennair.

It is not only effective to be funny, but also for women, it is extremely important that you show your potential partner that you believe they are funny Rebecca Burch, according to a co-author from SUNY Oswego, the United States.

If you need to flirt, but don''t know how to proceed, then humour is something you should include in your toolkit. Somehow, you shouldn''t start with that.

Smiling and eye contact are crucial. Using more advanced methods, Kennair says, you can then develop your flirting skills from that background.

Supports previous findings

The researchers applied the sexual strategies theory as a guideline to their research. Additionally, variations of this theory have been used in other contexts that relate to how men and women proceed to find partners. This is the first time the theory is being used to investigate flirting effectiveness.

The findings are perfect for what we know from the literature on self-promotion. It also appears that flirting is largely the same in the United States and Norway, according to Kennair.

Mostly these are the same flirting techniques that people think are effective in both Norway and the United States. Flirting is only culturally dependent to a lesser extent, such as in peoples body language, the initial contact, and in the degree of generosity.

This suggests that effective flirting is broadly universal, which isn''t surprising given that the motivations for finding a partner are partly biological.

However, this also demonstrates that individuals refine their flirting techniques depending on what they perceive in their culture, which is a clever, flexible strategy, according to Burch.


Participants rated how effective 40 different types of flirting were for a long-term or long-term relationship, and whether the flirter was male or female. The results were randomly assigned to the four versions of the questionnaire.

The researchers examined participants'' extroversion, age, religiosity, how willing the person was to have a relationship, and "mate value," which means how confident you are in the dating industry.

According to Bendixen, individual differences in age, religiosity, extroversion, personal attractiveness, and preferences for short-term sexual relationships had little or no influence on how effective respondents were.

It may therefore be that our personality is less appropriate in making judgments about our flirting behavior in others.

According to Bendixen, personal characteristics are important to the type of flirting people employing themselves.

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