Whether you’re on the lookout for love or just want to avoid giving the wrong impression, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of flirting.
We all like to like others or to know if we like someone in particular. Here are a few subtle clues that someone might actually be flirting with you and not just being friendly.
They make prolonged eye contact.
Eye contact can be a powerful flirting technique. In a study published in the Journal of Research in Personality, researchers found that participants who gazed into each other’s eyes for prolonged periods were more likely to report feelings of affection for the other person.
Though someone may not be consciously trying to woo you with endless gazes, eye contact is a good indicator that someone finds you interesting and potentially attractive.
They shoot you a lot of brief glances.
It’s not just prolonged eye contact that can give away someone’s romantic interest. According to Pamela Regan’s book “Close Relationships,” men, in particular, tend to direct many brief glances at the intended target of their flirtation.
This might mean that constantly catching the eye of someone across the room might be subtle flirtation rather than pure coincidence
They play with their clothing.
According to research on nonverbal signs of romantic interest, toying with a sleeve or fidgeting with a button could actually be flirting.
The study recorded the interactions of unacquainted participants and then asked them about their level of romantic interest in each other. Female participants were noted to be more likely to play with their clothing if they were interested in another participant.
They tease you or give you awkward compliments.
Though there are definitely better ways to express attraction, being jokingly picked on might be a subtle sign that someone is into you.
“Backhanded compliments allow someone to test the waters and see if you respond in a favorable manner,” life coach Jaya Jaya Myra told Bustle.
Of course, there’s a difference between light teasing and being made to feel uncomfortable or bullied. Someone who repeatedly puts you down or makes you unhappy isn’t worth your time, even if they are trying to flirt.
They touch you while you talk.
Being on the receiving end of an “accidental” arm graze or food bump might mean you’re being flirted with.
“Often the person will touch your arm or try to brush hands or feet if you are seated at a table or bar,” dating and communication coach Sarah Curnoles told Bustle.
Curnoles also revealed that a light touch on these areas actually sends signals to the brain about attraction.
Their eyebrows raise up when they see you.
Though you probably wouldn’t think to track someone’s eyebrows for hints of attraction, sex expert and author of “Superflirt” Tracy Cox revealed to TODAY that a slight lifting of the brows is an unconscious way that people signal romantic interest.
This brow lifting can last less than a second, so keep your eyes peeled for this subtle flirtation clue.
They let you catch them checking you out.
Have you ever caught someone checking out your body during a conversation? According to Cox, this is a pretty big indicator that someone is into you and wants you to know it.
Though there are usually plenty of low-key opportunities to size up a potential mate, allowing themselves to be caught in the act might mean that they’re trying to send a flirty message.
They have open body language.
In an article for Penguin, social anthropologist Jean Smith encouraged readers to take note of a potential flirter’s body language.
“If they’re squared up, facing you, with their feet pointed in your direction, it’s all looking good. If their feet are angled away, simulating a quick exit, or their arms are folded, forget it,” she wrote.
Paying attention to how open and relaxed someone’s body language can help you decipher their intentions.
They’re always the first one to react to your social media posts.
Digital flirting can be just as revealing as the in-person variety. If someone is constantly commenting or liking your social media posts, it’s safe to say you’re on their mind.
“With all the content flying around nowadays, if someone takes the time to check out everything you post, you know there is more to it than meets the eye,” Myra told Bustle.
Though liking a post could just be a friendly move rather than a declaration of love, reacting to everything you post online might indicate attraction.
They move their body closer to yours.
When you like someone, it’s natural to want to be near them. Close physical proximity is a good indicator of romantic intention, according to Smith.
“If they’re moving in closer, it’s a good sign that they are getting ready to flirt,” Smith wrote.
There are some situations in which being physically close to someone can’t be helped (e.g. a full subway car), but if someone scoots their chair closer to yours and leans in, there’s a good chance they’re trying to be flirty.