The Language of Flirting

The Language of Flirting

In a way we all strive to become multilingual because there is an innate drive for connection in order to drive the species forward. Flirting is the universal language of human interaction, playing a vital role in the establishment of intimate relationships.

Let's take a deep dive into the traits that contribute to the effectiveness of flirting. The researchers of a 2020 analysis conducted two studies, one involving 487 participants to identify 47 traits that make flirting effective, and a second study with 808 participants to rate the effectiveness of each trait. The traits were classified into nine broader factors, with good non-verbal behavior, intelligence, and a gentle approach (not moving fast, were discrete, mature, respectful and polite) emerging as the most important factors.

The study revealed significant gender differences in the perception of the effectiveness of various flirting traits. For example, women rated the gentle approach as more effective, while men favored good looks. Interestingly, older participants rated a gentle approach as more effective, shedding light on the influence of age on perceived flirting effectiveness.

Let's break it down in simpler terms: When it comes to effective flirting, key factors like non-verbal behaviors, courage, determination, and strong interest and romance all point to one thing – interest. Picture this: Someone who confidently initiates flirting, boldly makes eye contact, and keeps going even if their initial attempts don't go as planned is showing a clear interest in the other person. The traits under strong interest and romance, such as intense interest and a curiosity to learn more about the other person, reveal insights into someone's character. Flirting initiators who demonstrate determination and persistence show that they are focused on achieving their goals.

Now, let's dive into the intelligence factor. Flirting becomes powerful when it subtly signals intelligence through various indicators like education, eloquence, and humor. Humor, in particular, stands out as a top trait in successful flirting, indicating wit and intelligence. Think of it as a clever way to show smarts and charm. Research has shown that humor is not just about laughs – it can also be a sign of intelligence, as highlighted by studies (Howrigan & MacDonald, 2008; Miller, 2000).

Moving on to the gentle approach, cheerfulness, and strong interest and romance factors, these shed light on an individual's character. A gentle approach reflects traits like seriousness, maturity, and kindness, giving us a peek into how the initiator of the flirtation interacts with others. Cheerfulness signals positivity and easygoingness, making the person more enjoyable to be around. And when it comes to strong interest and romance, traits like tenderness and sweetness speak volumes about someone's emotional side.

Now, let's talk about good looks and common characteristics. Good looks tell us about appearance, while common characteristics indicate shared interests and values. It's interesting to note that the trait "comfortable with his/her spending" falls under good looks, suggesting that people might judge financial status based on outward appearances, like wearing fancy clothes.

Last but not least, the mystery factor adds an element of intrigue to flirting. While it may not directly reveal traits, it certainly captures attention by being unique. People are naturally drawn to the unknown, so individuals with fascinating hobbies or a touch of originality are likely to stand out. Imagine meeting someone who collects rare flowers from around the world – wouldn't that make you want to know more about them? Flirting with an air of mystery can be captivating and make you unforgettable.

The findings not only shed light on the specific traits that contribute to effective flirting but also emphasize the relevance of considering the target's gender and age in the evaluation of these traits. Understanding and harnessing these traits can significantly impact the success of flirting interactions and contribute to the development of meaningful relationships.

Flirting is an art that evolves with practice and experience. By incorporating these some of these high value traits into your flirting repertoire, you can navigate the nuances of human interaction with confidence and charm. As a universal language, flirting extends beyond its romantic connotations and holds the potential to enrich various relationships. The skills involved in flirting, such as effective communication, active listening, and the ability to read non-verbal cues, are fundamental to building rapport and understanding in all types of relationships. By embracing the principles of respect, genuine interest, and effective communication inherent in flirting, individuals can not only cultivate romantic connections but also foster deeper and more meaningful bonds across all areas of life. Remember, the essence of successful flirting lies in genuine interest, respect, and the joy of connecting with others. Happy flirting!


Menelaos Apostolou, Christoforos Christoforou (2020). "The art of flirting: What are the traits that make it effective. Personality and Individual Differences."

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