Have you ever been frustrated that your flirting isn't getting you anywhere? Ever failed to notice when someone was really into you until it was too late? Maybe you claim you're not a flirt ... but you actually do flirt in a way you don't even recognize. Well, there's more than one way to skin a cat, and there's more than one way to flirt. Five different ways, according to the new book, The Five Flirting Styles.
Dr. Jeffrey A. Hall collaborated with eHarmony to research people's attitudes about dating -- a study based on data from 5,000 daters. He found out there are five basic styles of flirting and that your flirting style can say a lot about the kind of love life you have -- or want.
These are the five flirting styles, according to Hall.
The Physical Flirt: This style is all about chemistry. These people express sexual interest through body language.
The Polite Flirt: This style prioritizes good manners and nonsexual communication. Polite flirts are turned off by more direct flirting.
The Playful Flirt: This style often doesn't have anything to do with romance. It's just about having fun and maybe getting a little ego boost.
The Sincere Flirt: This style is about making an intense emotional connection and getting to know people at a deep level.
The Traditional Flirt: These flirts believe strongly in traditional gender roles -- men should make the first move and women should take a more passive role. But traditional flirt men aren't cavemen; they'll usually try to get to know a woman for a long time before making a move.
So the idea is you figure out what your flirting style is, and you learn to recognize other styles. And then, for example, you're more aware of when people are flirting with you -- maybe someone has been expressing interest in you in a way you didn't even recognize. Or you can even tweak your flirting so you can get to know the kinds of people you really want. (The book goes into all of that.) I think more than anything, learning about the different styles of flirting helps you learn more about yourself and what you really want -- which is something a lot of us need help figuring out.
In the interest of science (ahem) I took the online Flirting Styles Inventory, a survey to find out what my own flirting style is. Here's how I scored:
Traditional: 0-10 percent
Polite: 0-10 percent
Playful: 60-70 percent
Physical: 60-70 percent
Sincere: 80-90 percent
Whoa -- the traditional and polite scores are no surprise. But how could I score high in sincere and still somewhat high in physical and playful? Isn't sincere kind of the opposite of those other two?
I asked author Hall to explain my results, and the first thing he pointed out was how the scores actually work. It's not that I'm part physical flirt, part sincere flirt. It's more "where you stand relative to people like you." In other words, compared with most people like me, my flirting style tends to be more sincere ... and more physical. But aren't these two styles contradictory?
"Sincere and physical are not opposed," Hall says. "They both tend to prioritize connections at the beginning. Both styles move toward relationships, just through different routes." Apparently I want to connect with people both emotionally and physically, and quickly. Hall says people with these flirting styles tend to have longer relationships. And here I was telling myself and everyone else that all I wanted was to have fun and meet people! Haha, what do I know? Which brings me to the playful style of flirting.
Hall described my high score in playful flirting as the real outlier, but he had an explanation for that, too. He says your flirting style can depend a lot on context. For example, a man in the study showed a strong playful flirting style and a strong polite flirting style. But he used different styles on different people. He was a polite flirt with women he considered relationship material. And he was a playful flirt with women he thought he had no chance with -- the old ladies at his church. In other words, his attitude toward flirting changed based on what he thought his chances of a real relationship were.
So there you go -- this definitely explains a lot about my dating life. Hmm ...
Do you know what your flirting style is?