How can you tell if someone is interested and flirting with you? Look at what they say and do – but look carefully because the signs are subtle and maybe different than what you expect. Researcher Jeffrey Hall at the University of Kansas has identified 36 verbal and nonverbal actions that show whether you’re interested in another person… and whether they’re interested in you, the results being published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior. These flirting behaviors vary from person to person and include: leaning forward, making compliments, asking questions, crossing and uncrossing legs, nodding, smiling, laughing, teasing, touching, playing with objects, revealing information, coy gazing, etc. Professor Hall breaks flirting behavior into five categories that depend on the individual’s style: physical, traditional, sincere, polite and playful. Mostly, it’s pretty subtle, low-keyed and varied, things you might not notice unless you’re looking for the signs, especially since the other person might have a different style from your own, so their means of communicating interest might be different from what you expect to see and hear. Hall is the author of “The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want” (2013) based on this research.

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