Archived Story

Art of the flirt

Published 8:34pm Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Women seem to be more comfortable with the tactics involved in flirtation, according to Dr. Jeffrey Hall, an assistant professor of communications at the University of Kansas.

Hall will be speaking at 2:30 p.m. on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, in the theater of the Dale A. Lyons Building on the Dowagiac campus of Southwestern Michigan College.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception will be held immediately after the lecture.

Hall will speak on the five styles of flirting defined by a research study conducted by Hall and three colleagues.

Body language

“It was surprising to us that women were more likely than men to be physical flirts,” said Hall. “This is probably because women are more able to use their body language and their physical attractiveness to flirt than men are.”

Hall, who co-authored an article,“Individual Differences in the Communication of Romantic Interest: Development of the Flirting Styles Inventory,” said women are more comfortable, even those women who would consider themselves very traditional, with flirting than men are. The article was published in the October/December 2010 Communication Quarterly.

“There are only so many things men can do to get women to be interested in them,” Hall said. “So women are more likely to use physicality to communicate romance makes sense. Also, traditional women are so unresponsive to men’s advances. It is sort of like the characters from EM Forester’s ‘Room with A View.’ They are very much in love, but it takes traditional people a long time to develop romance.”

Through “extensive statistical analyses” conducted by Hall, Dr. Steve Carter, Dr. Michael Cody and Dr. Julie Albright, five styles of communicating romantic interest in others were defined – traditional, physical, sincere, playful and polite.

Carter is senior director for research and product development at eHarmony, one of the largest online dating sites; Cody is a professor at the Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism; and

Albright is a research assistant professor in the sociology department at the University of Southern California.

“When I was a graduate student at University of Southern California, I had the opportunity to work with eHarmony on a new study on flirting,” said Hall.

“My adviser, Michael Cody, had done work on flirting and nonverbal communication earlier in his career, and we were both brought in to try to learn more about how people have different ways of communicating attraction.”

The pair completed the study among actively dating adults on eHarmony, surveying more than 5,000 people regarding their methods of communicating romantic interest. The results demonstrated that the five styles were directly correlated to who initiates the romance and what past experiences the person may have had, Hall said.

Styles for success

“The physical, sincere and playful styles correlated with more dating success,” Hall said. “The physical and sincere styles correlated with rapid relational escalation of important relationships with more emotional connection and greater physical chemistry.”

Hall is working on a book, “What’s Your Flirting Style? The Five Ways to Initiate Romance,

Communicate Attraction and Find Love with the Exclusive Flirting Styles Inventory (F.S.I.),” which will be published by Harlequin Press and slated to be released on Valentine’s Day 2013. Hall will be the sole author of the book.

The book will include research from the original eHarmony study and results from a new study on flirting styles with more than 4,000 daters worldwide, Hall said.

It will also include several smaller studies completed by Hall on the flirting styles and on the science of flirting and courtship in general.

“There are lots of new and exciting things that I am able to explain and describe in greater detail in a book,” Hall said. “I’m hoping that by taking the flirting styles inventory and reading the book, my readers will get a better understanding about how their own flirting behavior influences their relationship lives. And what they can do to make it better.”

By using this website’s user-contribution features, including comments, photo galleries, or any other feature, you agree to abide by the terms of use. Please read this agreement in its entirety because it contains useful information that will help you better understand the rules and general "good manners" that are expected when contributing content to this website.

Editor's Picks