The study consisted of 52 pairs of single, heterosexual college students. The pairs of strangers talked for 10 minutes in what they thought was a study on first impressions. Afterwards, the students were asked to fill out questionnaires in separate rooms. Among other things, students had to note if they flirted and if they thought their counterpart had.
The pairs were over 80 percent accurate in knowing when their counterpart was not flirting, but they were far less accurate in detecting when they were being flirted with. Only 36 percent of men judged correctly, and for women, the number was 18 percent.
“Behavior that is flirtatious is hard to see, and there are several reasons for that,” said Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of communication studies and author of the 2013 book “The Five Flirting Styles.” “People aren’t going to do it in obvious ways because they don’t want to be embarrassed, flirting looks a lot like being friendly, and we are not accustomed to having our flirting validated so we can get better at seeing it.”
One way to know if someone is flirting with you is to pay attention to how you feel. If you’re sensitive to energy from other people, you might feel uplifting energy around your heart (or groin if the person is sending you sexual energy).
However, sometimes people don’t realize they’re behaving in what others perceive as an overtly flirty manner; subconscious desires may clash with conscious intent. Other times flirting is obvious to all involved. As for their agenda and intentions, that’s an entirely different subject.
Copyright © 2015 Stephen Petullo