Every morning on your way to college you stop by a café for a cup of coffee. In part, you really like the coffee. But let’s be honest, you mostly like the cute guy who serves it to you. This has been your morning routine for months, but you’re sure he doesn’t know the real reason you’re such a regular customer. What do you do to show him how you feel?
Flirting beats looks
Well, you flirt with him, of course. But that’s easier said than done. If you’re not exactly sure how to go about it, you’re in luck: scientists have been studying non-verbal courtship behaviour – that is, flirting – since the 1960s. Nowadays, they have a pretty decent idea what works, and what doesn’t.
The good news is that when it comes to getting his attention, sending out the right signals by flirting seems to be more important than physical attraction, according to research by US psychologist Dr Monica Moore, an expert on the subject.
Dr Moore has spent a lot of time watching men and women flirt with each other at places like bars. Guys are more likely to go up to a woman who sends out lots of flirtatious signals, even if she’s not the most attractive girl at the bar, Dr Moore found. Women who don’t flirt get approached less, regardless of their looks, she observed.
Glance, gaze, giggle
By now you’re probably convinced that flirting is the solution to getting his phone number. So what’s the best way to do it? Smiling and making eye contact work well the world over – and they're things both women and men can do to. Plus, there are all sorts of variations – quick glances, gazing at someone for a while, and giggling or laughing are definitely flirtatious.
Flirting in a way that draws attention to your physical features also seems to work, Dr Moore found. Things like playing with your hair and licking your lips can signal to him that you’re interested. And if you are next to each other, crossing and uncrossing your legs, leaning in towards him, and copying his body language are other ways to flirt.
In the end, what counts is showing you’re confident, interested and single. Flirting is a way to give a guy permission to come up to you and chat. And who doesn't want that? It's hard enough as it is to work up the courage to approach someone, so giving a guy signals that show you're into meeting him is a great idea.
Source: Human nonverbal courtship behavior – a brief historical review, 2010, Journal of Sex Research, Moore MM
This article was first published on 13 August 2016.
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