The science of flirting part 2

November 11, 2011 by
Filed under: Flirting 

Flirting is a nonverbal activity

Thanks to your body, you’ve come a long way: you’ve found someone you like and there are alot of types of substances raging through your body that make you feel good. But the real challenge is yet to come, because how can you show the other person how you feel about him or her? As mentioned before, the perfect opening line isnt helping you alot. The fact is that in your communication with others, only about 30% of the message is being communicated by spoken words (verbal communication). The remaining 70% of the message consists of nonverbal signals: body language.

These numbers even rise when it comes to the ‘sense’ feeling, for example if you want someone to notice you, or that you fancy her. Research has shown that in this case the non-verbal signals have up to five times more impact than the verbal signs. And maybe that’s a good thing, given that you have a high concentration of adrenaline in your body when you are in the presence of someone you feel attracted to. For many people it means that they, no matter what they say, when they come face to face with their potential partner, they stumble over their own words.

Eye contact

An important non-verbal signal when flirting is to establish eye contact. Not only can you make it clear that you like someone, it’s also a relatively safe way to find out whether someone has the same idea of you. Scientists speak in this context of teasing or challenging signals.

Eye contact is often a mixture of two forms. The first is the familiar sultry, slow and prolonged gaze into each others eyes. This is often interspersed with lateral, short glances towards each other, and soon after eye contact is made, you look away. Often, the flirtatious person keeps it head to one side and uses a lot of smiles during the eye contact.

Take the “eye game” is running successful, it often provides a basis for creating a chat. How do you begin to talk is not so important. This is shown by the fact that scientific research has shown that a simple “hello” in most cases works best to break the ice. So dont put out in witty and sexual innuendo. Openings such as “How do you want your eggs? Fertilized?”¬† dont hit the target and are generally not seen as very tasteful. Instead, you should rely on body language to get the message delivered.

Body language during the conversation

During the conversation, proximity and touch signals very powerful forms of body language. If two people successfully flirt with each other, they will approach each other closer. They allow each other in their ‘intimate or personal space‘.

Every person has a number of areas around themselves which people may or may not enter. These zones differ in each culture, but people are generally very good at respecting these invisible boundaries. The neighbor with whom you chat about the weather will probably not stand further than 1.50 meters from you, but never closer than 0.50 meters. This places the neighbor¬† in your “personal space”. Only people with whom you have or want to establish an intimate relation, are allowed to be closer than two feet. When you enter this “intimate zone” without withdrawing motions from the other person, then that is a clear signal that your flirting attempts succeed.

Touch plays an important role. It may well be about touching yourself as others. Women who are flirting tend to use their fingers to touch their face or hips. This is a signal to the man wanting to be touched. Men are slightly more likely to touch the other non-sexual sites such as the elbow and shoulder, to indicate that they are in for physical contact. Touching each other’s hands or knees is immediately much more intimate. Hence, this often precedes with some general touch on both sides. This is a non-verbal way of asking if the other person knows for sure to be touched.


Both before and during the conversation you will often find that people who are interested in each other, mirror each other’s body posture and movements (imitate). Mirroring is a kind of unconscious social lubricant that is used outside the flirting as well. So in situations of inequality people often mirror their superiors.

But while flirting mirroring provides a good service, especially since it is one of the few forms of body language that you can consciously perform without being intrusive. In general, people find it generally nice to be mirrored and will – if they like you – in turn react by your posture and movements mirror.

This mirroring is usually unconscious and easily to use. This is because our brains are very well equipped for for it. Our brains own special neurons – called mirror neurons – that register not only the movements and posture from others, but also imitate their own emotions and mimic brain activity in your brain.

So if you really like someone, it might just be that that person copies your feeling by his mirror neurons.


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