While many claim that their ability to flirt is a skill that holds them back, some people seem to have it naturally, so how can one improve their flirting skills and what distinguishes the skilled from the unskilled?
“When someone flirts with you, you feel valued, and your perception of your desirability increases,” says Gurit Birnbaum, a professor of psychology at Reichman University in Israel. In other words, being flirted with feels good. But can it also be good for you?
While in a partnership, flirting can deepen the intimacy between partners, but Birnbaum cautions that this could also be a dangerous path. She says it’s critical to have a firm grasp on both your own and your partner’s flirting boundaries. Subtle cues could lead someone to turn from innocent flirting to infidelity. “When people are exposed to norms of infidelity, for example if you know that your peers cheat on their partners, you are more likely to do so yourself,” she explains. The term “contagious infidelity” describes this.
Birnbaum adds that there is a “constellation of personality traits” that make some people more resilient or more prone to infidelity. For example, more narcissistic people, or people with attachment insecurities, are more likely to cheat than others. “We have to take into account so many factors in order to predict which seductive experiences would lead to infidelity,” says Birnbaum.
Although cautious flirting may be beneficial, many people don’t think they’re very good at it. Having trouble flirting was cited as the fifth most prevalent reason (out of 43) by over 7,000 male Reddit users for their single status, according to BBC.
For those individuals, there may be hope in the possibility of improving one’s flirting skills. A group of adult volunteers showed increased flirting ability and extraversion after three hours of flirt training, which included learning how to look more confident when speaking.
Other skills for flirting can also be learned. Men and women find that expansive body posture, such as widening your stance, turning to face your opponent, and raising your head, makes you more attractive to date.
This could be because we identify expansiveness with openness and dominance —though being overly expansive, or “manspreading,” can make people angry. The impact is true for both online dating profiles and fast dating situations in real life. Making the most of your space could boost your chances of finding love since a quick meeting or a quick scroll through a photo can make or kill a flirtation.