Ever wonder what the most effective flirting technique would be for you? A study published in Evolutionary Psychology suggests that they may differ between men and women but laughing at someone else’s jokes is an effective technique for both genders.
Flirting is an important tool for connecting with a potential romantic or sexual partner. Flirting is perceived as being effective based on sex, attractivity, personality traits, and more. Flirtation tactics can be verbal, such as saying a compliment, or nonverbal, such as body language. Researchers in this study sought to measure effectiveness of flirting between genders and between people who live in Norway, a very gender egalitarian society, and the United States, which is more religious.
Study author Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair and his colleagues utilized two samples: one in Norway and one in the United States. Their Norway sample consisted of students at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The United States sample was comprised of 1st to 4th year university students in the Northeastern US.
Researchers developed four versions of the questionnaire: a woman flirting for short-term sex with a man, a woman flirting for a long-term relationship with a man, a man flirting for short-term sex with a woman, and a man flirting for a long-term relationship with a woman. Participants completed measures about the different flirtation tactics used, sociosexuality, extraversion, mate value, and religiosity.
Results showed that for long-term dating contexts, men and women employed mostly similar flirting tactics. Men differed more in the strategies they used between short and long-term than women did. Generosity and seeking attention were more effective in the US sample than the Norwegian sample. Humor production and response were both rated higher in women. The United States sample showed higher levels of religious beliefs, while the Norwegian sample scored higher on the sociosexual measure.
Dressing sexy or showing off body assets was rated more favorably when done by women, while tactics involving generosity were more effective when done by men, due to the fact that it cues investment. For both genders, laughing at other’s jokes was effective as a flirting tool.
This study took strides into understanding gender differences in flirting tactics in two nations. Despite this, it has limitations. One such limitation is that both countries used were Western countries. Future research may want to employ countries with more stark contrast to see how results would differ. Another limitation is that this study was limited to heterosexual participants and may not generalize to same-sex relationships.