Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Science Of Flirting

From The Player,

Flirting can be one of the more pleasant and exciting aspects of life. It can be a heady experience that causes the heart to beat faster, and the result of a blush and downcast eyes is oddly but undeniably satisfying. The idea that flirtation has become the sole province of females is erroneous; the mere act of tossing someone a significant glance can be considered flirting and, for that reason alone, men play an equal role in the drama. But this is a dance that requires carefully placed and well-timed steps, and it’s long past time to dispose of your tricks, techniques and pickup lines. Let us turn to science and the ongoing study of social interaction to guide our dance steps. You may be surprised at the amount of knowledge you don’t yet have on the science of flirting.

It all begins with eye contact
Actually, it begins and ends with eye contact, because if she realizes you haven’t focused on her eyes for even two consecutive seconds, she'll lose attention before you even say a word. As the Social Issues Research Centre put it: “Your eyes are probably your most important flirting tool… they are also extremely high-powered transmitters of vital social signals.” Eye contact is extraordinarily powerful, so it’s important to walk the line between intensity and subtlety, which is why we usually restrict direct eye contact to only a second or two. This all falls in line with The Player’s very simple method of making more eye contact when listening and averting your gaze a bit more when speaking.

Keep communication honest and balanced
While it remains true that men and women are often at odds in regard to communication, it’s still possible to strike up an engaging, entertaining discussion without posturing. Both sexes can be guilty of bending the truth and altering their behavior, and posturing and untruths (unintentional, though they may be) are often prevalent in a first conversation. According to a Real Talk tidbit at California Physics, this is a bad idea. The article uses as an example of a man who orients his actions and speech toward seduction, which is nothing more than an invented personality. The same goes for girls who say “I love you” just so they can hear men say the same words. Obviously, the key is to avoid the mind games, keep it simple and, as the article states, “Let the authentic reward come to you.”

Never underestimate body language

The numbers have been confirmed time and time again. The science of flirting is a popular subject among researchers and love-seekers alike, and in terms of importance, body language always seems to top the list. The BBC’s comprehensive look at love and flirting has revealed that 55% of all given and received messages come from body language. Only 7% is in the words we say. As you can see, the advice involved in the column is to accept this, embrace it and, in some cases, “match their moves.” In other words, come to recognize the concept of “mirroring.” It shows reciprocated interest and places both parties on equal footing, which is something that is of great interest to the ladies. But above all else, just ditch the pickup lines and other verbal techniques, because that 7% ain’t gonna help much. Paul Newman, a man among men, was a “student of human moves” in The Color of Money. You should be too.

Let nature guide you
Contrary to the Disney-esque “everyone is beautiful on the inside” mantra, science knows the truth of the matter. In one of the most in-depth looks at flirting you will find anywhere, a feature in Psychology Today detailed everything from the origins of flirting to inherent chemical attractions. Note the fact that men are drawn to healthy, curvy women. In fact, they have numbers to prove it. The waist-hip ratio is crucial; women who have a 0.7 waist-hip ratio (the waist measures no more than 70% of the circumference of the hip) get all the attention. They have a “sex-typical hormone profile in the relationship of estrogen to testosterone,” which is what men desire at their core.

It’s just one of the brutal truths of biology -- those with “tip-top constitutions” will likely draw your eye, so don’t fight it! Nature will pick the best targets.

Revel in the “game of maybe”

A Time article that took an in-depth look at flirting found that it is intoxicating because of its uncertainty. The writer calls flirting "the game of maybe" and quotes Timothy Perper, who has been researching the science of flirting for 30 years, as saying: “Flirting captures the interest of the other person and says, ‘Would you like to play?'... Flirting opens a window of potential. Not yes, not no.” Essentially, there is no defined set of laws -- no formula -- that you must always follow. Simply give yourself over to the excitement and go with the flow, always allowing for the unexpected -- because the unexpected is half the fun.

Leave posing to the models
This really only applies to men, as women will always strike certain poses when they’re aware of interest (regardless of how vehemently they deny it), and it usually helps to finalize the deal. An article entitled Body Language: The Art of Nonverbal Communication found that women are expected to be more expressive, while men are supposed to “internalize” their emotions. The differences in body language between the two sexes stem from both genetics and social mores, and if we take everything into account, the woman’s interest appears to take center stage. In short, the physical, nonverbal maneuvering by women should be more expressive, while guys should probably keep what the article calls “preening behavior” at bay.

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