Flirting is a common method to attract a potential mate and to figure out if two people are romantically compatible. Sometimes it's intentional and sometimes your body gives your inner feelings away. According to the Social Issues Research Centre's Guide to Flirting, the act is a basic instinct and is evident through many non-verbal cues.
Making Eye Contact
Prolonged eye contact between two people signifies intense emotion and can be used to convey feelings of love or attraction. For example, holding a person’s gaze from across the room for longer than a second conveys interest, while avoiding eye contact is usually a sign of disinterest.
The Postural Echo
A behavior known as "postural echo" is a body language characteristic that conveys attraction. The term refers to two people adopting similar postures. If the position of your partner’s body and limbs seem to mimic yours while you're engaging in conversation, he's conveying attraction toward you. According to the SIRC, “Experiments have shown that although people are not consciously aware of someone deliberately 'echoing' their postures, they will evaluate a person who does this more favourably.”
Gestures in Communication
In a flirtatious environment, hand gestures can signal interest. Someone who is interested in you might seem more lively and animated. They may also use more responsive gestures when you're speaking. This shows that the other person is interested in what you have to say. Brief nodding is also an effective way to communicate attentiveness.
The “eyebrow flash” is that brief moment when eyebrows are raised in response to noticing a person you're attracted to. According to the book, "The Power of Body Language," the eyebrow flash is unconscious and automatic. This facial expression can be used as a good indicator of initial attraction.
The Power of Touch
Touching is a physical form of communication during a flirtatious encounter. When used correctly, touching determines a level of intimacy and can enhance the status of a relationship. In a flirtatious situation between two strangers, women are usually less comfortable with being touched than men. Men may interpret a woman’s touch as a sexual signal when it's not intended as such. As a general rule, the arm is the safest place to touch someone if you've just met them. It's much more acceptable than other initial forms of touching and it can enhance your companion's romantic feelings towards you.
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- Social Issues Research Centre: Guide to Flirting
- "The Power of Body Language"; Tonya Reiman; 2007
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