How to Recognize Flirting Body Language

Written by Pam MS, NCSP | Fact checked by Psychology Dictionary staff 

Studies indicate that up to 55 percent of communication between people involves body language. The impression that one makes on another begins before a word is spoken. People commonly size up one another by observing another person's overall appearance, breathing, physical movements and posture. Studies also show that an individual who understands how to use their body and voice is more effective at attracting the opposite sex compared to someone using charming conversation. Flirting is often done using body language.

Female Gestures

When a female sees a male that interests her, she makes eye contact and continues looking for a few seconds before looking away. This action is designed to pique his interest. She repeats the glance up to three times, which tells him that she is definitely interested. The lady may offer a brief semi-smile that might not even be noticed. If she is seated, the female straightens her posture and crosses her legs as a form of display. If standing, a lady might tilt her hips and her head, which exposes the neck. She might also straighten her clothes, lick her lips and playfully flick her hair. At this point, the male receives the signal that he is welcome to approach. During the course of the conversation, the female will nonchalantly touch him as if accidentally. She often repeats the gesture to gauge his reaction. Additional gestures include:

• Sway her hips while walking
• Raise a shoulder and glance back with partially closed eyes
• Toss her head
• Touch her hair, her throat or thigh
• Slightly open her mouth, moisten her lips or pout
• Expose a limp wrist
• Point one or both knees toward the male
• Dangle a shoe on the end of her foot
• Cross and uncross her legs

Male Gestures

If a male catches a female glancing in his direction, he will often continue looking in her direction for additional signs. However, he might quickly look away if he feels insecure or, because he feels self-conscious. If he smiles, he is most likely interested. He straightens his posture whether sitting or standing. If standing, the male often stands with feet apart and takes a macho stance in order to appear taller and more impressive than other males in the room. He might also smooth his hair, adjust his clothing and perhaps take a quick glimpse of his reflection to check his appearance. The more preening he demonstrates, the more likely he is interested. His feet will also point in her direction. Other gestures to look for include:

• Arching his body
• Making large gestures with his arms
Pointing his chin upwards
• Leaning back in his chair
• Putting his arms behind his head
• Displays loud outbursts of laughter
• Slight physical contact as he passes by

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