Why do we often have doubts whether someone is flirting with us or not? “Is he just friendly or is he interested in more?” “Am I wrong or she keeps glancing at me?” The confusion and misinterpretation around flirting are first of all caused by the fact that men and women display totally different behaviors when they are romantically interested in someone.
Moreover, even if flirting is an activity as old as mankind we are still terribly bad at recognizing it, according to recent studies. And women are doing surprisingly worse than men – a 2014 study showed that women were only 18% accurate in recognizing men’s flirting as flirting, while men had a 36% accuracy rate.
Finally, the difficulty of recognizing sexual interest also rises from the fact that people flirt in different ways, depending on their personality. When you’ve just met someone, it may be hard to tell if they are interested in you if their flirting style is traditional and cautious. On the other hand, other people can be very extroverted and flirt playfully on the street or at the supermarket.
The key to deciphering flirting signals correctly remains making the difference between male and female flirting behaviors. Some body language signs are common to both genders, like eye contact and attempts to catch attention, while others are specific either to men or women.
How do you know a woman is flirting?
For women, flirting is an art and the signals they send are often very subtle. It’s important to figure out if she is very friendly with everyone or if she is displaying the following behavior just for you:
Raising her eyebrows and lowering her lids – the expression reminds the face that women make when experiencing pleasure. This type of behavior has been used by celebrity icons like Marilyn Monroe.
Throwing sideway glances over a raised shoulder – it emphasizes the curves and roundness of the female body. Women who are trying to flirt often do this gesture subconsciously.
Touching her neck and tossing her hair – at the same time, she is exposing the armpit, which releases sex hormones. The gesture also highlights healthy hair and exposes the vulnerable neck area.
Wearing lipstick and moistening lips – lips resemble women’s outer genitals and by calling attention to their lips, women attract males.
Getting involved in conversation – these can be more subtle signals, depending on her flirting style, and what you should look at is women initiating the conversation, asking about your hobbies, laughing at your jokes, paying compliments, and even making sexual comments.
Touching you – this is often a sure sign that she is interested. You need to make sure she was the first to make contact, either by having her knees touch yours under the table or touching your arm when making a point.
What about men?
Women may have more trouble recognizing flirting behavior, but a man’s interest is often pretty obvious:
Behaving like an alpha male – in the animal world, it’s the alpha male that enjoys the privilege of mating with females – this is why flirting body language and behavior in men includes puffing out their chest, keeping legs wider apart, walking in an upright, confident way, and putting down other men to show they are dominant.
Stepping into your private space – men use touch even more than women when flirting; first they do it “accidentally” and then, if the woman shows no signs of discontent, start doing it more meaningfully until engaging in veritable foreplay.
Positioning their body towards you – a guy who is interested in a woman will face her with their entire body, including head, knees and feet, suggesting they only have eyes for her.
Tilting their head – this discreet signal can be seen even in the shiest men – a man who wants to know a woman better will tilt their head in her direction.
Taking care of their appearance – men can be just as vain as women when it comes to their looks. Flirting signals include checking their hairstyle, adjusting their clothes, and constantly preening themselves to make sure they look their best.
Displaying specific behavior – a man who is interested in a woman will become more protective of her, fidget around, laugh more often, act silly, and use every opportunity to be near. Jealousy is another common sign of romantic interest in men.
Although natural and instinctive, flirting remains an intriguing subject due to its subtleties and the physical attraction it involves. The influence of etiquette rules and the behavior differences between men and women have made the game more complicated and confusing, but not less fascinating.