Your flirting-style may determine the type of romantic relationships your have. Are you dissatisfied with the nature of the relationships you end up in? If you are, it might be as result of your way of flirting? Dr Jeffrey Hall, an assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, completed a study into styles of flirting among dating adults, surveying more than 5 100 people regarding their methods of communicating romantic interest.
"Knowing something about the way you communicate attraction says something about challenges you might have had in your past dating life. Hopefully, this awareness can help people avoid those mistakes and succeed in courtship." (Communication Quarterly, October 2010).
Hall identified five styles of flirting based on participants' responses: traditional, polite, sincere, physical and playful. To flirt generally means to act or behave amorously without serious intentions or emotional commitment; to court triflingly; to toy or play with another's affections; to play at love; to coquet; or to dally. Hall and co-researchers defined the five flirting styles as follows:
- Traditional flirts believe that men should make the first move rather than women—that women should not pursue men. Both genders tend to be introverted and prefer a more intimate dating scene. Women with this style, because it involves a more passive role in dating, are likely to report trouble getting men's attention and are less likely to flirt or be flattered by flirting. Traditional men often know a potential partner for a longer time before approaching them—gathered sufficient confidence?
- Polite behaviour entail courteous, polite, cultured, elegant, civil or refined; showing good manners toward others; showing kind regard for others in manners, speech, behaviour, etc. Polite flirts are more cautious while communicating their romantic interest and believe in using proper manners while dating and nonsexual communication. Although they are less likely to approach a potential partner and do not find flirting flattering, they do tend to have meaningful relationships.
- To be sincere implies free of deceit, hypocrisy, or falseness; to be earnest. Sincere flirts tend to show more interest in creating emotional connections and communicating their genuine interest in their prospective partner. Though, women scored higher in this form of flirting, but men too use this style. Sincere flirting is based on creating emotional connections and communicating sincere interest. Relationships involve strong emotional connections and sexual chemistry and are typically meaningful.
- Physical means belonging to the bodily or concerned with the human body as distinct from the mind or spirit. Physical flirts tend to show sexual interest in a prospective partner from the start. They tend to form relations and share greater chemistry and emotional connection with a partner. People who scored high in this form of flirting often develop relationships quickly, have more sexual chemistry and have a greater emotional connection to their partners.
- Playful means sportive; frolicsome; pleasantly, humorous or jesting; full of high spirits and fun; good-natured and full of play. People, who engage in playful flirting style, are least likely to attract serious meaningful relationships. These people often engage in flirting to boost their own self-esteem and enjoy the dating game. People with playful flirting styles often flirt with little interest in a long-term romance. However, they find flirting fun and enhancing to their self-esteem. They are less likely to have important and meaningful relationships.
Hall found that for the most part, there was little difference between genders within each of the five flirting styles. He recommends that if you are not happy with the kind of partners you are attracting then slightly modify your flirting behaviour/style for better results. However, he cautions that flirting tends to reflect personality and it is not easy to change your style completely but some modifications may help you find the right person for a relationship. Your flirting-style could turn out to be the key to attract the right partner. It is important to consider that the early part of developing relationships impacts on the nature of the long-term relationships, including marriages.
Jeffrey A. Hall; Steve Carter; Michael J. Cody; Julie M. Albright
Communication Quarterly, 1746-4102, Volume 58, Issue 4, 2010, Pages 365 – 393