Yes, it is a shameful, shameful misappropriation of a great song, but I couldn’t help myself.
Not even a little bit.
And seriously, there are, apparently, five different styles of flirting. An ‘inventory’*, if you will. And what, pray (or, possibly, prey) are they? Read on, dear reader!
This is based very much in traditional gender roles. You know, where the men make the first move, and women don’t pursue men. This means that women (who’re more passive) are less flattered by flirting, and also find it more difficult to get men’s attention. Men, on the other hand, tend to know women longer before approaching them. So, basically, all quite introverted.
This is based very much on sexual attraction, and communicating that interest. Relationships formed as a result tend to be formed more quickly, and have greater emotional and sexual chemistry than some others.
This is all about, well, sincerity. So it focuses on the creation of emotional connections, and on demonstrating sincere interest in the other person. Women tend to score higher here, but both men and women think it’s a good way to go about things, and relationships tend to be meaningful,and have good chemistry.
This is mostly flirting for the sake of flirting. People using this style tend not to have any interest in long-term/important relationships (and so tend not to), but do it because they find it fun and it enhances their self-esteem.
This is very much about being proper and polite. While sexual flirting is, obviously, not high on the agenda, and people who use this style tend to approach those they like less often, they also tend to form meaningful relationships with people.
The researchers in question looked at over 5,000 people, and were able to discern these five primary categories. They also found that the physical, sincere and playful styles tended to have more success date-wise, and the physical and sincere styles “correlated with rapid relational escalation of important relationships with more emotional connection and greater physical chemistry” (i.e. they tended to get more serious, faster).
Further, the idea is something like this - your flirting style will probably be influenced by previous relationships of yours. Being aware of your style could, potentially, help you avoid some of the pitfalls inherent in what the paper so charmingly calls ‘courtship initiation’. Which can only be a good thing, right?
And in case you’re curious, you can go here to find out what your style is. I did (although I’m a little unconvinced of the results)…
* Their word. Not mine :)
Jeffrey A. Hall, Steve Carter, Michael J. Cody, & Julie M. Albright (2010). Individual Differences in the Communication of Romantic Interest: Development of the Flirting Styles Inventory Communication Quarterly : 10.1080/01463373.2010.524874