Flirting tips: body language

Updated July 20, 2017

Flirting is a common method to attract a potential mate and determine if two people are compatible, romantically. Sometimes, flirting is intentional and used to convey feelings of attraction. However, some signals of flirtatious behaviour can be sent unconsciously via body language. According to the Social Issues Research Centre's Guide to Flirting, the act of flirting is a basic instinct and is evident through many non-verbal cues.

Making Eye Contact

Eye contact is a flirting tool used when initiating a relationship. Prolonged eye contact between two people signifies intense emotion and can be used to convey feelings of love or attraction. For example, holding a person's gaze from across the room for longer than one second conveys interest between each other. Avoiding eye contact is usually a sign of disinterest.

The Postural Echo

A behaviour known as "postural echo" is a body language characteristic which conveys attraction. The term, postural echo refers to two people adopting similar postures. If the position of your partner's body and limbs seem to mimic yours while engaging in a conversation, he is conveying attraction toward you. According to the SIRC, "Experiments have shown that although people are not consciously aware of someone deliberately 'echoing' their postures, they will evaluate a person who does this more favourably."

Gestures in Communication

In a flirtatious environment, hand gestures used in conversation can signal interest. A person who shows interest in you can be observed to be more lively and animated while conversing, using more gestures while they speak. They will also use more responsive gestures while you are speaking. This behaviour shows interest in the other person and what they have to say. Brief nodding is also an effective way to communicate attentiveness.

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions can be interpreted while flirting. The "eyebrow flash" is the brief moment when the eyebrows are raised in response to seeing a person who you are attracted to. According to the book, "The Power of Body Language," the author states that the eyebrow flash is unconscious or automatic. This facial expression and can be used as a good indicator of initial attraction.

The Power of Touch

Touching is a physical form of communication during a flirtatious encounter. When used correctly, touching determines the level of intimacy and can enhance the status of a relationship. In a flirtatious situation between two strangers, women are less comfortable being touched by an opposite-sex stranger than men. However, men may interpret a woman's touch as a sexual signal when it may not have been intended as such. As a general rule, the arm is the safest place to touch someone you have just met to emphasise a point or gain attention. It is much more acceptable than other initial forms of touch and can enhance your companion's romantic feelings towards you.

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About the Author

Nausheen Qureshi has been a blogger and freelance writer since 2005, focusing on topics such as biotechnology, politics and lifestyle. Her articles appear on the "Arizona Republic" website. Qureshi trained as a clinical research coordinator and holds a Master of Biomedical Sciences from Midwestern University.