Ro­manc­ing rit­u­als

Of the five types of flirts, which one are you?

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT - By LISA GU­TIER­REZ

tV host and co­me­dian Steve Har­vey wanted it. Play­boy ra­dio wanted it. So did the New York Post and Cos­mopoli­tan magazine.

So Univer­sity of Kansas pro­fes­sor Jef­frey Hall gave it to them: the low­down on flirt­ing.

Hall, who’s been study­ing the topic for seven years, re­cently put his re­search into a book, The Five Flirt­ing Styles: Use The Science Of Flirt­ing To At­tract The Love You Re­ally Want.

Sci­en­tif­i­cally dis­sect­ing the het­ero­sex­ual flirt­ing habits of more than 10,000 peo­ple – in­clud­ing 5,000 users of eHar­mony on­line dat­ing ser­vice – Hall has iden­ti­fied five flirt­ing archetypes: phys­i­cal, play­ful, po­lite, sin­cere and tra­di­tional.

Ev­ery­one is typ­i­cally a mix of the five styles, he says, but one style is usu­ally dom­i­nant.

Of course, we asked Hall, mar­ried 10 years to his grad-school sweet­heart, to iden­tify his own ro­man­tic modus operandi. But he pre­ferred that the re­search, not the re­searcher, be the story. What a tease.

Hall makes clear that there is no right or wrong way to flirt and that his book is not a pickup artist’s guide­book. (Though one re­viewer did call it “a GPS for sin­gles look­ing for the most di­rect route to find­ing love”.)

Know­ing how you ex­press your ro­man­tic in­ter­est in some­one is in­valu­able be­cause it gives clues to why you end up in the re­la­tion­ships you do, he says. That play­ful flirt, for in­stance, is so not in­ter­ested in a long-term re­la­tion­ship.

Know­ing your flir­ta­tious ten­den­cies also can help you steer clear of be­hav­iour that could be mak­ing oth­ers run away. And wouldn’t you rather that they stay?

Of the five flirt­ing archetypes, some are more ef­fec­tive than oth­ers, depend­ing on the re­sults you de­sire. Which one are you?

This per­son re­lies on body lan­guage to com­mu­ni­cate sex­ual in­ter­est.

“One of the unique things about the phys­i­cal flirt is they like to go to clubs to dance with strangers,” Hall says. “That’s some­thing they find en­joy­able.”

He de­scribes this per­son as be­ing “switched on”, al­ways look­ing for signs of flirt­ing and sex­ual in­ter­est from other peo­ple. They can in­ter­pret even the most in­nocu­ous ges­ture as flirt­ing.

This cat­e­gory in­cludes the ob­nox­ious flirts who see them­selves as heaven’s gift to the op­po­site sex. “They think of them­selves as be­ing more phys­i­cally at­trac­tive than the peo­ple around them,” Hall says. “Their prob­lem is they’re more likely to as­sume the per­son they’re flirt­ing with is in­ter­ested when they’re not. They can end up step­ping on toes and mak­ing peo­ple feel un­com­fort­able.”

Bot­tom line: Peo­ple who scored high in this cat­e­gory of­ten de­velop re­la­tion­ships quickly and have more sex­ual chem­istry with their part­ners.

> Phys­i­cal flirt:

> Po­lite flirt:

Where the phys­i­cal flirt is switched on all the time, the po­lite flirt doesn’t even know where the switch is.

They might have to be hit over the head, fig­u­ra­tively speak­ing, to re­alise that some­one is flirt­ing with them.

“They’re never get­ting the pic­ture,” Hall says. “You ba­si­cally have to tell a po­lite flirt that you want to take them out to make them un­der­stand that you are com­ing on to them.”

Cau­tious is an­other word for this per­son. They think that touch­ing an­other per­son or com­pli­ment­ing them is bad man­ners – al­though, as Hall points out,

Play­ful flirt:

science tells us that both those be­hav­iours are use­ful in show­ing ro­man­tic in­ter­est.

In Hall’s re­search, peo­ple over the age of 40 were most likely to pre­fer us­ing this style.

Bot­tom line: Po­lite flirts tend to have longer, more mean­ing­ful ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ships.

This per­son thinks the bar is the best place to start a re­la­tion­ship. They en­joy the sport of flirt­ing, play­ing the game. This is that ca­sual fling, the friend with “ben­e­fits”.

The prob­lem? All that game­play­ing can make them seem dis­mis­sive and be­lit­tling and – sur­prise! – it’s hard for them to go be­yond short-term dat­ing in a re­la­tion­ship.

Bot­tom line: The play­ful flirts have lit­tle in­ter­est in ro­mance. They flirt for flirt­ing’s sake, no strings at­tached.

Ac­cord­ing to Hall’s re­search, this is the most com­mon flirt­ing style, prob­a­bly be­cause it has been proven to be the most ef­fec­tive.

You might meet this per­son at the bar, but they’re prob­a­bly there with a group of friends and not there to troll. In fact, out of the five styles of flirt­ing, this per­son is the one who’s go­ing to com­plain that the mu­sic is too loud in the bar to talk.

The sin­cere flirt wants to make an emo­tional con­nec­tion with a ro­man­tic part­ner and en­joys the get­ting-to-know-you phase. They ask a lot of ques­tions and pay at­ten­tion to the an­swers.

Bot­tom line: The sin­cere flirt has mean­ing­ful re­la­tion­ships

Sin­cere flirt:

where emo­tional con­nec­tion comes first, sex­ual chem­istry se­cond.

This flirt be­lieves that women shouldn’t be too for­ward, and men should take the lead – make the first move, open doors, pick up the tab.

Guess what? This style was the least pop­u­lar among the men that Hall sur­veyed.

Guess what? Women are much more likely than men to be tra­di­tional flirts.

Guess what? Women might want to re­think that.

Bot­tom line: By tak­ing a more pas­sive role in dat­ing, women with this style are more likely to have trou­ble get­ting a guy’s at­ten­tion. – The Kansas City Star/ McClatchy-Tri­bune In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices


Play­ful flirt: This per­son thinks the bar is the best place to en­joy the ‘sport’ of flirt­ing.

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