So you might have seen a recent discouraging study from the University of Kansas about the art of flirting. Apparently, when placed in a face-to-face situation and asked to chat, college men and women were really bad at recognizing when the other was working his or her moves. In fact, only 36 percent of the men and 18 percent of the women picked up on flirting cues.
Sigh. How have humans survived for so long? You might be surprised at the answer.
There are plenty of books, blogs and advice columns on how a gal should get a guy’s attention by making those sexy eyes over her shoulder, batting those plumped-up lashes and “casually” touching his arm. However, the reality is: Guys are reading the instinctive things you do more than your intentional moves. That’s actually good news if you’re shy or think you suck at flirting — and probably why men scored twice as high in the study.
If you’re attracted to a guy, you’re going to lean in, touch or bite your lips and arch your back without even realizing it. It’s like your body propels you into the mating ritual practically against your will. That’s what guys pick up on. “Most women can’t hide or fake these cues,” a guy friend tells me. “They’re like tells in poker.”
“Body language, their physical distance from me when they speak and flipping the hair are dead giveaways,” another of my single buddies says.
“Space is a factor,” an old high school friend agrees. “If she gets close and continues to make eye contact.”
See? And you really didn’t even have to try.
If he’s equally interested, you won’t have to worry about reading his reciprocated cues. If he’s up for it, he’s going to let you know he likes you and start deploying a strategy to move you to the next level.
If he’s still sorting you out, he’ll watch you more closely. “I try to see if I can detect a marked difference in the way she talks to me versus other guys,” says bachelor No. 1. “If she’s outgoing and deals with me the same way she deals with two or three other guys, there’s probably nothing there.”
That’s a pretty accurate take. If I’m drinking beers with my buddies, I’ll ham it up and clown around. Bring in a guy I like, and I get quiet and think way too hard about what to say next. A smart guy will pick up on that … and ask for my number.
Here’s another test he might try: Can he make you laugh? “When she laughs at things you’re saying, even if they aren’t THAT funny, that’s a clue,” a friend says. Another buddy tests it even further: “If I’m wondering if I have one on the hook and she’s giggling along to my schtick, I’ll purposely dial down the wit. If she continues to laugh at stupid crap that nobody would find amusing, I know she’s down.”
So there you have it. Stop doing all the work and let your instincts — and his ability to read you — take the lead. He’ll make his move and you won’t have to convince him to seal the deal.