Sadie Holloway is a workshop facilitator who teaches interpersonal communication skills to help people strengthen their relationships.
Did you know that, according to researchers, it can take 1.5 to 4 minutes for someone to decide whether or not they are attracted to you? And it has less to do with what you are saying, and more to do with how you say it. How people rate each others' attractiveness can be broken down as follows:
- 55% is based on body language
- 38% is based on the tone and speed of your voice
- 7% is based on what you say
Have you ever been talking to someone while at a party, out with a group of friends, or standing in line at the store, and wondered “Is he flirting me?” If you’re interested in him, you definitely want to know if he’s flirting with you! Because you want to send a message back that you’d like to get to know him a little more, too.
On the other hand, if he’s not someone you're interested in, knowing if he's flirting with you is important, too. After all, you want to get out the of conversation and move on if you don’t want any more of his attention. Either way, if you know how to recognize the signs that someone is flirting with you, you'll have more confidence out in the wide world of modern romance and dating!
What is flirting? Flirting is the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) way that men and women use body language, hand gestures, vocal tone, and facial expressions to let someone know “I’m interested in you." Here are some of the most common signs that someone wants to get to know you better.
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- Laughter. Laughter is not only a great way to lighten the mood, it's a form of flirtatious behavior. People love to feel that what they have to say is entertaining and enjoyable. That’s why laughter is a sign of flirting: the other person wants you to know that he or she finds you interesting and fun to be around!
- Touching. Are the two of you connecting physically in any way? That might be a sign that he's flirting with you. Gently touching someone’s hand or arm is a way of expressing interest non-verbally. Light physical contact such as a brief pat on the hand, or your knee bumping up against his without either of you pulling away quickly if at all, can be a sign that one of you wants to flirt!
- Eye Contact. Flirtatious messages can often be read in someone’s eyes. Raised eyebrows combined with eye contact that isn’t overly intense, are good signs that he’s interested in you. Why? Because it's hard to connect with someone who isn't willing to look you in the eyes. If his eyes wander while you're engaged in conversation, then consider winding the things down and moving on. If you notice that he’s watching the door, looking out the window, or checking his watch, then he may be trying to give you the brush off. (Even if he isn't trying to give you the brush off, avoiding eye contact can be just downright rude in most Western cultures.)
- Trying to get closer. Moving closer to you or leaning forward when you're talking is a strong signal that someone is flirting with you. He could be leaning in to listen to you closely. Or he may be leaning forward because, unconsciously, he's attracted to your pheromones. On the other hand, if he’s leaning in so much that it feels like an invasion of your personal space, it may not be flirting. He may be coming on too strong. If you aren’t comfortable with any of his actions or gestures, don’t be afraid to assert your boundaries.
- Copying each others' gestures. Are the two of you in synch? If you start to mirror each others' gestures, that could be a sign of mutual attraction and interest. At the same time, however, friends often mirror each others' behavior when interacting, so it may not always be a sign that someone is into you.
- Open body language. Movements and gestures that suggest openness are a subtle form of flirting. What is open body language? Well, if his hands are relaxed, instead of clenched in a fist, then he may be sending a positive message of interest. Palms facing up is a sign of open body language. If his palms are facing down or pressed against a surface, he may not be flirting with you at all. Arms crossed over the chest can also signal a lack of interest, or perhaps even a bit of defensiveness. It could even be a sign of arrogance. In that case, why would you want to engage with that person any further?
- If you want to flirt back, don’t just smile with your mouth, smile with your entire face! Are your eyes bright and attentive? Are your cheeks dimpled and rosy? Are your eyebrows relaxed and slightly raised? Great! Then you’re smiling with your face! When your face looks relaxed and happy, you naturally send out positive vibes. There are many good reasons to smile more often when you're flirting! People are naturally attracted to those that are having fun. A genuine and sincere smile is a sign of confidence.
If you are worried about wrinkles showing up around your eyes when you smile, worry no more. In an interview with Marie Claire magazine, Judy Dutton, author of How We Do It: How the Science of Sex Can Make You a Better Lover, had this to say about smiling:
"Humans have eighteen types of smiles, believe it or not! The very best smile is one where you spot squinting or crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. That’s because the facial muscles that cause this reaction, the orbicularis oculi muscles, are linked to our autonomic nervous system and aren’t under our conscious control. That means they’ll only contract when we’re genuinely happy."
So there you go! Smiling with your eyes really does say something about who you are!
What if You Decide You Don’t Want to Flirt With Him Anymore?
Perhaps the person you're flirting with suddenly says something offensive. Or he begins to cross the line into the creepy territory by being overly suggestive in how he talks and physically interacts with you. Can you stop flirting with him and walk away? Absolutely! It doesn’t matter how much flirting you've done with someone, you always, always have the right to end the discussion and walk away. Flirting with someone doesn’t mean you're obligated to continue the conversation if he starts to make you feel uncomfortable.
Is Flirting Something That People Only Do on Dates, or in Bars, or at Parties?
Of course not! Flirting can be found in many different settings, between many different people, and for many different reasons. Flirting is not just about communicating your attraction, it’s about having a good time, staying positive, being mindful of body language, and making the other person feel special and appreciated. That’s why couples who've been together for a long time should find the time to flirt with each other, not just on date night! Flirting between partners keeps the relationship interesting. It also sends the message to anyone around you that the two of you are a happy and committed couple.
What are the signs that tell you someone is flirting with you? Leave a comment and share your thoughts on the subtle signs of flirtatious behavior.
Remember: It's always OK to say "That's not okay!" if you start to feel uncomfortable with the situation.
If anything that the other person says or does starts to feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say so. Crude, suggestive language and sexual innuendo is not a sign of flirting, it's a sign of harassment. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable with the way someone is talking to you, put your own well-being and safety above all else. Leave the situation, call a friend, ask for help from management, do what you can to put both physical and emotional distance between yourself and the other person if you feel harassed.
© 2014 Sadie Holloway