On a mission to stop us swiping and get us talking, 'flirtologist' Jean Smith shares her top tips for how to tell if someone is flirting with you
As a 'Flirtologist' – a social anthropologist who helps people learn how to flirt and find love – I often hear the same problems when it comes to dating:
"It's too difficult."
"I'm not good at it."
And one of my personal favourites: "How do I know when someone is flirting with me?"
Too often, people turn to the internet, hoping it will be easier there. Besides, a screen can save you from rejection, right? While it might be easier to flirt from behind a screen in some ways, let me ask you this: is it giving you what you want?
Let's face it, your phone should be used to watch funny cat videos, not to flirt. So let's take flirting back to where it belongs – in the real world.
Imagine this scenario. You're in a bar and you go to order a drink. First, you look at who is standing at the bar. Who looks nice, open, approachable? Notice I didn't ask who looks 'hot, hot and hotter'. At this point we are simply choosing an approachable-looking human to stand next to whilst we order our drink.
After you've made your choice you ask them a question, paying close attention to how they respond, thereby determining if they are happy to talk. Most of the time they are, but by taking this moment to assess you're ensuring that you are not intruding. This removes any wariness around not wanting to appear creepy. Let's say, in this scenario, they are open to talking to you and the questions go back and forth - great!
But how can you tell if they're actually flirting with you, or just being nice?
Six signs that someone is flirting with you
From my research I have found that there are six ways that people can tell when someone is flirting with them, and many admit to using these signs to signal interest in others too.
I've created the acronym H.O.T.A.P.E. to help you remember:
H is for Humour.
Yes, they might have great hair and share your passion for ping-pong, but if you have to say 'only joking' after each wry comment, can you imagine doing it for the next 20 years? The more you bounce off each other naturally, the more likely it is that you're flirting.
O is for Open Body Language.
If they're squared up, facing you, with their feet pointed in your direct, it's all looking good. If their feet are angled away, simulating a quick exit, or their arms are folded, forget it.
T is for Touch.
Once you touch, you're definitely flirting. It should be used as an addition to an interaction that is already sizzling. Best stick to a light touch on the arm and then gauge their reaction.
A is for Attention.
Are they paying you more attention than anyone else? This moves us to...
P is for Proximity.
If they're moving in closer, it's a good sign that they are getting ready to flirt.
E is for Eye Contact.
This is the most powerful giveaway. Three or more seconds of eye contact takes you into flirty territory.
So, there you have it; the more H.O.T.A.P.E. signals are being displayed, the greater the likelihood that you are being flirted with. Remember these when you're next having a conversation with someone and see what happens.
More about the author
. How can I tell when someone is flirting with me?
. How can I be a more confident flirt?
. How do I avoid rejection?
. Where are all the good men and women hiding?
Flirtology is THE dating guide for the 21st century. In an age of swiping left and right, and hiding behind online profiles, this book shows you how to replace connectivity with connection.
Flirtology debunks the myths that surround flirting in order to help you find love. It helps you to analyse what you are looking for in a potential partner, shows you how to practise your interaction skills and how to unlock your inner flirt. It will give you the confidence to speak to anyone, anywhere and get results - without every compromising who you are. It's not about games, rules and tricks - it's about presenting your real self so that you will attract the right people for you.
Jean Smith is a social and cultural anthropologist who specialises in the science of flirting. For over a decade she has been helping countless clients build their confidence and find love. Her Fearless Flirting tours and Guardian Masterclasses are hugely popular and regularly sell out. In Flirtology she brings you a fun, efficient and scientifically researched guide to finding your own perfect match.
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