This kind of flirting works best, suggests study

But maybe you shouldn’t start with that.


Flirting involves various signals communicated between individuals to attract potential mates. Different flirtation tactics have been described. But, they are not always fruitful for everyone and in every situation.

A new study by NTNU, Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, and the State University of New York at Oswego, found one of the best strategy to flirt. Scientists studied flirting in Norway and the USA and what people believe are effective tactics – and for whom and in what context.

Scientists suggest that the most potent tool in flirtation is a good sense of humor.

Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair, a professor at NTNU’s Department of Psychology, said, “People think that humor, or being able to make another person laugh, is most effective for men who are looking for a long-term relationship. It’s least effective for women who are looking for a one-night stand. But laughing or giggling at the other person’s jokes is an effective flirtation tactic for both sexes.”

Rebecca Burch, a co-author from SUNY Oswego, US, added, “It is effective to be funny, but for women, it is very important that you show your potential partner that you think they are funny.”

Kennair says, “Smiling and eye contact are important. Then you can build your flirting skills from that base, using more advanced tactics.”

For the study, scientists surveyed close to 1000 students in Norway and the USA. The participants rated how effective 40 different types of flirting were for a long-term or a short-term relationship and whether the flirter was male or female. Participants were randomly assigned to the four versions of the questionnaire.

Extroverts, age, religiosity, willingness to be in a relationship, and “mate value,” or how beautiful you are in the dating market, were all factors of participants considered by the scientists.

Professor and colleague Mons Bendixen said“Individual differences in age, religiosity, extroversion, personal attractiveness, and preferences for short-term sexual relationships had little or no effect on how effective respondents considered the various flirting tactics to be.”

“Our personality may therefore be less relevant in how we judge flirting behavior in others.”

“However, we do believe that personal characteristics affect the type of flirting people employ themselves.”

Scientists also found that “signs of generosity and a willingness to commit work best for men who are looking for a long-term relationship.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair et al. Perceived Effectiveness of Flirtation Tactics: The Effects of sex, Mating Context and Individual Differences in US and Norwegian Samples. DOI: 10.1177/14747049221088011


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