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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Office Hours with Dr. Jim > Flirting Styles

Office Hours With Dr. Jim
by James Houran, Ph.D

In this column, "Dr. Jim" honestly and candidly answers your questions about dating, love and sexuality. He doesn’t tell you what you want to hear – he tells you what you need to hear. Dr. Jim is committed to offering you guidance based on responsible clinical practice and hard data from the latest scientific studies. Send Dr. Jim your questions today for consideration in an upcoming issue.


Best Way to Flirt and Flirting Styles

Quick Access:
Best Way to Flirt


What's the best way to flirt?

According to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary the word “flirt” means “to behave amorously without serious intent b: to show superficial or casual interest or liking.”  Everyday people know flirting as verbal or nonverbal signals that convey a level of romantic interest to someone else – that is, “go signals.”

We all flirt, consciously or not. It often surprises people to learn, however, that daters seem predictably to use one of about eleven different flirting styles. Knowing these flirt types can help you to realize when someone likely is flirting with you. They can also help you explore which style is natural for you to use. Flirting is part skill, part innate or instinctive behavior. Have fun seeing if any of these styles are familiar to you!

Major Flirting Styles

Playful and natural. This is someone who lets his or her “inner child” shine through. There’s mischievousness at work that’s at once fun, disarming and sexy.

Witty. This person draws you in with words and quick thinking. A sharp intellect doesn’t lead to dull conversations, and a sense of humor has always been a major feature that others find extremely appealing.

Confident. You won’t mistake this guy or girl. These people are direct and zero in what they want and go for it. James Bond comes to mind, although hopefully this person won’t bring any high-tech gadgets on the first date!  Confidence is supremely attractive to both sexes.

Sexy. This individual is “in-your-face” with exuding sexuality and in being flirtatious with words and touches. Now this type of person can be unnerving or over stimulating, so have your guard up and know your boundaries. It’s easy to get carried away in the moment, right guys?

Mysterious and vague. This person is a little elusive and seems difficult to pin down. To the right person, a flirter like this is irresistible to try to learn more about. Mysteries are just inherently captivating to the human mind.

Mirroring. Good salespeople use this tactic to engage and befriend a potential buyer. Here, the flirter takes cues from you and then responds in kind. Call this person a “chameleon” because he or she will mirror your personality and mannerisms. People like others who are similar to themselves, so this tactic often makes people feel at ease at the onset.

Coy. We all have known someone who’s a little reclusive and who plays hard to get. To the right person, a flirter like this is irresistible to chase after. I guess people simply long for what they feel they can’t have. However, just remember that too much playing hard to get will backfire. People much more prefer to know someone’s intentions than to be left completely in the dark.

Manipulative. Men get blamed for this all the time – and perhaps with good reason. This is someone who sends mixed signals and leaves you wondering if they’re interested in you or not. Basically, this person is into the power dynamics that come with a relationship, and she or he will ultimately have the upper hand, especially in seducing others.

Charming. Another strategy used by sales professionals. Here the flirter is essentially a flatterer and who quickly gets on your good side. This is probably the most popular flirting style, which means it can come across as trite or insincere if done too casually. Make compliments sincere if you want them to work.

Prim and Proper. You might think this flirting behavior comes to down personality or upbringing, but for some flirters this is a calculated strategy. The person is ultra-chivalrous, shows impeccable dating or courting manners and is somewhat old-fashioned. In today’s pop culture environment of super charged sexual imagery, this can be a refreshing change of pace that gets you noticed.

Touchy Feely. Every man dreams of a flirt who likes to be in your personal space and uses playful or innocent touches to indicate interest. Women are masters of this, and usually are the only ones who can get away with it on someone who’s a stranger.

Now notice that I haven’t placed a value judgment on any of these styles. Also, a given person may alternate between two or more of these styles given the specifics of certain situations. However, many people usually have one or two flirting styles and stick with those. Flirting is fun, as long as people understand that it’s simply flirting. We learned above that flirting inherently implies only superficial interest. It’s not consent for physical or downright sexual advances. It’s a way for two people to start bridging physical and psychological space and to convey initial interest. That interest can be entirely friendly at first, or have a streak of romantic attractiveness. Use flirting in a respectful way, and respond to flirting in respectful ways. Anything else can lead to headache or heartache.

Please let me know if you have any great dating or flirting stories to share. We want to feature your personal experiences with these flirt types in a future installment of this column.

Related Links
> How to Flirt Online




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