The 5 Flirting Styles And What Each One Says About You

Not all flirting is created equal — or, at least, creates equal outcomes.

By Keelia Clarkson2 min read
Shutterstock/Olena Yakobchuk

Ah, flirting — many women will remember a time when our first impression of flirting was when a boy at school was particularly mean to us, leading every adult in our life to proclaim, “Aw, he likes you!” much to our confusion (or was it just me?). Or maybe we remember our first time trying to flirt and cringe just a little bit.

We all have our own ways of letting someone know we fancy them. Some of us clam up while we awkwardly attempt to profess our undying love, and others stay cool and suave, sliding into DMs like it’s no big deal. Our personal style of flirting with someone can actually teach us a lot about ourselves, the way we’re perceived by others, and the upsides and downsides of our style of flirtation.

And according to Jeffrey Hall, a professor of communications studies at University of Kansas, there are only five types of flirting, as outlined in his book, The Five Flirting Styles: Use the Science of Flirting to Attract the Love You Really Want

So, which type of flirt do you think you are?

The Physical Flirt

This probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but the physical flirt uses a good deal of body language and physical touch to show attraction. But more than simply touching a guy’s arm when he tells a funny joke, a physical flirt will maintain confident, open body language, their energy pointing directly towards the object of their affection. 

Physical flirting can feel exciting and good, but it comes with drawbacks: connections made through physical flirtation may be fleeting, being too heavily based on initial chemistry.

The Polite Flirt

Perhaps the opposite in many ways, the polite flirt stays away from utilizing unsolicited compliments and physical touch to show interest, instead opting for cultivating a friendship with their crush rather than expressing sexual interest. 

Though the polite flirt seeks out meaningful relationships, they might have trouble actually getting into one because they’re prone to taking too long on their quest to respectfully and subtly woo someone, leaving their crush wondering if they like them or are just really sweet and friendly.

The Playful Flirt

We all enjoy flirting, but not like the playful flirt does. For this type, flirting is basically a sport. As one of their favorite pastimes, playful flirts very much enjoy the novelty of coquetry, often engaging in it for a self-esteem boost, and not necessarily to develop a lasting relationship. And unfortunately, they also tend to struggle with staying invested in long-term relationships once the initial thrill of the chase has passed, instead having a few exciting, short-term flings in a row.

The Sincere Flirt

Exactly as it sounds, sincere flirting is the most genuine form of flirtation. Those who practice this style of pursuit desire a serious, committed relationship and a long-lasting emotional connection with their partner. They’re upfront with their intentions while remaining sensitive to their crush’s wishes. They invest their time and energy into fully getting to know a person, building a friendship in the process, and they don’t play games. Due to its honest, open, and mature nature, sincere flirting doesn’t really have a drawback, instead often leading to successful relationships.

The Traditional Flirt

If you’re a traditional flirt, chances are you prefer to be pursued, allowing the man to express his interest before showing your hand. Traditional flirts tend to value a more old-fashioned approach to dating. They love a guy who opens the door and pays the bill, let the man initiate each advancement before reciprocating, and want to feel taken care of by their partner. Fortunately for the traditional flirt, their criteria for becoming involved make it much easier to weed out suitors who aren’t their style, saving themselves heartache while looking for someone who shares their values.

Closing Thoughts

While none of these styles of flirting are necessarily correct or incorrect, understanding our personal style could help shine some light on our patterns of success, or lack thereof, how we’re coming across to those we seek to charm, and how our flirting style ties in to our innermost desires.