Polls on sex and flirt

polls on sex and flirt

And for the last several decades, in matters of sex, it has been more or Most men, I hope (and I bet most women hope), still know how to flirt. Yes, according to this survey I am a flirting disaster. Not only do my results say you are not "competent in expressing sexual interest to potential. Are you having more sex nowadays because of the bad economy? Are you Two more flirty questions: How many people have you slept with?.

Alamy "Equality means never paying a woman a compliment" … said no feminist ever. Amid the exciting recent surge of feminist activism and energy in the UK, a slight confusion seems to have crept in around the idea of battling sexual harassment. The general concern seems to be that by condemning sexual harassment and discriminatory behaviour, we will somehow accidentally sweep up well-meaning compliments and flirting in the melee and inadvertently do away with all sexual interaction.

Well, there's no need to panic! Feminism simply means wanting everybody to be treated equally regardless of their sex. It's as simple as that. And no part of that definition maligns or "bans" flirting, telling somebody they look nice, or going at it like joyfully consenting rabbits in whatever style, location, position or combination of partners your heart desires. What it does mean is that women shouldn't be scared to walk down the street; shouldn't be faced with intimidating and aggressive sexual shouts from cars and vans; shouldn't be treated as dehumanised sex objects; shouldn't be made to feel that men have an inherent entitlement to their bodies in public spaces.

Strange though it seems to have to keep reiterating it, the difference between sexual harassment and flirting is really fairly clear. It's actually quite insulting to the vast majority of men to suggest that they aren't perfectly capable of knowing the difference between complimenting someone, starting a flirty conversation, and harassing them.

The clue is in the name: And if you're hoping to end up in bed with someone, of whatever gender, it's really in your interests to steer clear of harassing them, as it's likely to be fairly unhelpful to proceedings.

SIRC Guide to flirting

I think very few men would be concerned, upon reading through the page after page of stories we have collected from women screamed at, pursued, groped, licked, touched, appraised, scared and frustrated by street harassers, that combating these things might somehow interfere with their personal pickup style. But for those still in doubt, you could always run through this handy checklist of questions: So it makes sense to approach people who are likely to see you as at least a possible partner, rather than those likely to dismiss you as unsuitable.

Evolution has favoured males who select young, attractive mates and females who select partners with power, wealth and status. Men therefore naturally tend to seek women who are younger than them and place greater emphasis on physical beauty, while women are more likely to favour older males with higher status and earning potential. Women also tend to prefer men who are taller than them. Analysis of thousands of personal ads — where people are more explicit about their requirements, and more obviously conscious of the requirements of others — shows that these are the qualities most frequently demanded and offered by mate-seekers.

Short, low-status males and older, less attractive females may therefore be a bit more restricted in their choice of potential partners, although there are many exceptions to this rule, and confidence and charm can outweigh apparent disadvantages.

In the How to Flirt section, you will find tips on how to tell immediately, even from across a crowded room, whether someone is likely to return your interest or not. How to flirt The first key to successful flirting is not an ability to show off and impress, but the knack of conveying that you like someone.

If your 'target' knows that you find him or her interesting and attractive, he or she will be more inclined to like you. Although this simple fact has been demonstrated in countless studies and experiments, you don't really need scientists to prove it. You already know that when you are told someone fancies you, or hear that someone has praised or admired you, your interest in that person automatically increases — even if it is someone you have never met!

Conveying that you like someone, and judging whether or not the attraction is mutual, clearly involves a combination of verbal and non-verbal communication skills. When asked about flirting, most people — particularly men — focus on the verbal element: In fact, the non-verbal element — body-language, tone of voice, etc. Also, their non-verbal signals will tell you much more about their feelings towards you than the words they use.

We show attitudes such as liking and disliking not by what we say but by the way we say it and the posture, gestures and expressions that accompany our speech. The customary polite greeting "pleased to meet you", for example, can convey anything from 'I find you really attractive' to 'I am not the slightest bit interested in you', depending on the tone of voice, facial expression, position and posture of the speaker. Non-verbal flirting When a man and a woman meet for the first time, both are in a difficult, ambiguous and potentially risky situation.

Neither person knows what the other's intentions and feelings are. Because stating intentions and feelings verbally involves a high risk of embarrassment or possible rejection, non-verbal behaviour becomes the main channel of communication.

Unlike the spoken word, body language can signal invitation, acceptance or refusal without being too obvious, without causing offence or making binding commitments. Women should be particularly careful when using signals of interest and attraction.

Men already tend to mistake friendliness for flirting; if your signals of interest are too direct and obvious, they will mistake them for sexual availability. Eye contact Your eyes are probably your most important flirting tool. We tend to think of our eyes mainly as a means of receiving information, but they are also extremely high-powered transmitters of vital social signals. How you look at another person, meet his or her gaze and look away can make all the difference between a successful, enjoyable flirtation and an embarrassing or hurtful encounter.

Eye contact — looking directly into the eyes of another person — is such a powerful, emotionally loaded act of communication that we normally restrict it to very brief glances. Prolonged eye contact between two people indicates intense emotion, and is either an act of love or an act of hostility. It is so disturbing that in normal social encounters, we avoid eye contacts of more than one second. Among a crowd of strangers in a public setting, eye contacts will generally last only a fraction of second, and most people will avoid making any eye contact at all.

This is very good news for anyone wishing to initiate a flirtation with an attractive stranger. Even from across a crowded room at a party, you can signal your interest in someone merely by making eye contact and attempting to hold your target's gaze for more than one second not too much more, though, or you will seem threatening.

If these eye contacts trigger a smile, you can approach your target with some confidence. If, on the other hand, your target avoids making eye contact with you, or looks away after a fraction of a second and does not look back again, you should probably assume that your interest is not returned.

There is still the possibility that your target is just a very shy person — and some females may be understandably wary of signalling any interest in male strangers. The only way to find out is by close observation of your target's behaviour towards others. Does she consistently avoid direct eye-contact with men?

Does he seem nervous, anxious or aloof in his interactions with other women? If so, your target's reluctance to meet your gaze may be nothing personal, and it might be worth approaching, but only with considerable caution. Once you have approached your target, you will need to make eye contact again in order to strike up a conversation.

As soon as your eyes meet, you may begin to speak. Once a conversation begins, it is normal for eye contact to be broken as the speaker looks away. In conversations, the person who is speaking looks away more than the person who is listening, and turn-taking is governed by a characteristic pattern of looking, eye contact and looking away.

So, to signal that you have finished speaking and invite a response, you then look back at your target again. The person speaking will normally look at you for less than half this time, and direct eye contact will be intermittent, rarely lasting more than one second. When your target has finished speaking, and expects a response, he or she will look at you and make brief eye contact again to indicate that it is your turn.

The basic rules for pleasant conversation are: The key words here are 'glance' and 'brief': The most common mistake people make when flirting is to overdo the eye contact in a premature attempt to increase intimacy. This only makes the other person feel uncomfortable, and may send misleading signals. Some men also blow their chances by carrying on a conversation with a woman's breasts, rather than looking at her face.

Interpersonal distance The distance you keep from the other person when flirting is important, because it will affect his or her impression of you, and the quality of your interaction.

When you first approach an attractive stranger, having established at least an indication of mutual interest through eye contact, try to make eye contact again at about 4ft away, before moving any closer. At 4 ft about two small steps awayyou are on the borderline between what are known as the 'social zone' 4 to 12 ft and the 'personal zone' 18in to 4ft. If you receive a positive response at 4ft, move in to 'arm's length' about 2ft 6in. The 'intimate zone' less than 18in is reserved for lovers, family and very close friends.

If you are close enough to whisper and be heard, you are probably too close for comfort. These distance rules apply particularly in face-to-face encounters. We will tolerate reduced interpersonal distances when we are side by side with someone. This is because when you are alongside someone, it is easier to use other aspects of body language, such as turning away or avoiding eye contact, to 'limit' your level of involvement with the other person.

You can therefore approach a bit closer than 'arm's length' if you are alongside your target — at the bar counter of a pub, for example — rather than face-to-face.

But be careful to avoid 'intrusive' body-language such as prolonged eye contact or touching. You may also see 'barrier signals' such as folded or tightly crossed legs, or rubbing the neck with the elbow pointed towards you. If you see any of these signs, back off! Finally, remember that different people have different reactions to distance. If your target is from a Mediterranean or Latin American country known as the 'contact cultures'he or she may be comfortable with closer distances than a British or Northern European person.

North Americans fall somewhere between these two extremes. Different personality-types may also react differently to your approach: Even the same person may vary in tolerance from day to day, according to mood: Posture Most of us are quite good at controlling our faces — maintaining an expression of polite interest, for example, when we are really bored to tears, or even nodding when we really disagree!

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But we tend to be less conscious of what the rest of our body is doing. We may be smiling and nodding, but unconsciously revealing our disagreement by a tense posture with tightly folded arms. This is known as 'non-verbal leakage': When flirting, you should therefore watch out for signs of this 'non-verbal leakage' in your partner's posture — and try to send the right signals with your own posture. Your partner's 'non-verbal leakage' can give you advance warning that your chat-up isn't working.

Leaning backwards and supporting the head on one hand are signs of boredom. These are signs of attentiveness and interest or liking. Experiments have also shown that females are more likely to tilt their heads to one side when they are interested in the person they are talking to. Men should beware, however, of automatically assuming that these signs indicate sexual interest.

Women should be aware of men's tendency to make such assumptions, and avoid signalling interest too obviously. Another positive sign is what psychologists call 'postural congruence' or 'postural echo': Mirror-image postural echoes — where one person's left side 'matches' the other person's right side — are the strongest indication of harmony and rapport between the pair. When flirting, you can also use postural echo to create a feeling of togetherness and harmony.

Experiments have shown that although people are not consciously aware of someone deliberately 'echoing' their postures, they will evaluate a person who does this more favourably. This technique obviously has its limits. We would not suggest, for example, that a woman in a mini-skirt should 'echo' the open-legged sitting posture of her male companion. But if he is leaning forward with his left forearm resting on the table, she could create a sense of common identity by 'mirroring' this aspect of his posture — leaning forward with her right forearm on the table.

In addition to these 'generic' signals of interest, there are specifically male and female posture signals which are often seen in flirtatious encounters.

These tend to be postures which enhance the masculine or dominant appearance of the male, and the femininity of the female. Males may adopt postures which make them appear taller, larger and more impressive, such as placing hands in pockets with elbows out to enlarge the chest, or leaning one hand at above shoulder height on a wall to appear taller and more imposing.

Females either adopt postures which make them look smaller, such as drawing the knees towards the body when seated, or postures which draw attention to physical attributes attractive to males, such as arching the back to display the breasts, or crossing and re-crossing the legs to draw attention to them. Gestures As well as overall body posture, the gestures we use can signal interest, attraction and invitation — or discomfort, dislike and rejection.

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When flirting, it is important to be aware of these non-verbal cues, both in 'reading' your partner's body-language and in controlling the messages you are sending with your own gestures. In conversation, gestures are mainly used to enliven, clarify and 'punctuate' our speech, or to show responsiveness to what the other person is saying.

In a flirtatious encounter, the amount of gesticulation, the directions of the gestures and the co-ordination of gestures can indicate the degree of interest and involvement your partner feels towards you.

Different cultures vary widely in the amount of gesticulation that accompanies their speech Italians say that you can silence an Italian by tying his hands behind his backand even within a single culture, some people naturally express themselves more through gestures than others. Generally, however, someone who is interested in you will be more lively and animated in conversation, using more gestures when speaking in order to keep your attention, and more responsive gestures to show interest when you are speaking.

When your partner is speaking, you can show responsiveness by nodding in agreement, throwing up your hands in surprise, bringing them together in a 'silent clap' of appreciation, etc. Researchers have found that nodding can be used to 'regulate' conversations.

If you make single, brief nods while your partner is speaking, these act as simple signs of attentiveness, which will maintain the flow of communication from the speaker. Double nods will change the rate at which the other person speaks, usually speeding up the flow, while triple nods or single, slow nods often interrupt the flow altogether, confusing speakers so much that they stop in their tracks.

So, if you want to express interest and keep your partner chatting with you, stick to brief single nods. You can also watch for gestures which indicate anxiety and nervousness, such as hand-clasping movements and palm-rubbing. As a general rule, anxious gestures are directed towards the anxious person's own body known as 'proximal' movementswhile 'distal' movements, directed away from the body, are a sign of confidence. As well as watching for these signals in your partner, you can control the impression you are making by using more confident, 'distal' gestures.

As with posture, the greatest involvement and harmony is achieved when gestures are synchronised — when the movements of one person are echoed or reflected by the other. You may have noticed that this tends to happen naturally between people who like each other and get on well together. Watch pairs of lovers in a bar or pub, and you will see that they often tend to lift their drinks and take a sip at the same time, and that many of their other body movements and gestures will be similarly synchronised.

Psychologists call this 'interactional synchrony' or 'gestural dance', and some of their research findings indicate that the timing of matched gestures may be accurate down to fractions of a second. Although this synchronisation normally happens without conscious effort, you can use it as a highly effective flirting technique.

Men should not assume that it necessarily indicates sexual interest, however. Women can avoid creating this impression by reducing synchronisation, adopting a more 'closed' posture and avoiding the use of gestures which are specifically associated with flirtatious behaviour.

In experiments, female hair-flipping and head-tossing were among the non-contact gestures most often regarded as sexually flirtatious, along with repeated leg-crossing and movements designed to draw attention to the breasts. Facial expression An ability to 'read' and interpret the facial expressions of your partner will improve your chances of successful flirting, as will awareness of what you are signalling with your own expressions.

Some expressions can be effective even from a distance, as in the 'across a crowded room' encounter with a stranger. The 'eyebrow-flash', for example, which involves raising the eyebrows very briefly — for about one-sixth of a second — is used almost universally as a long-distance greeting signal. When you see someone you know, but are not near enough to speak, the eyebrow-flash shows that you have noticed and recognised them.

We all use this non-verbal "Hello! Watch a video of Andrew and Fergie's wedding, for example, and you will see that Fergie performs frequent eyebrow-flashes as she walks down the aisle. Social etiquette does not allow a bride to call out cheery greetings to her friends and relations during the ceremony, but the highly sociable Fergie is clearly unable to refrain from signalling the same greetings with her eyebrows.

If you are desperate to attract the attention of an attractive stranger across a crowded party, you could try an eyebrow-flash. This should make your target think that you must be a friend or acquaintance, even though he or she does not recognise you. When you approach, your target may thus already be wondering who you are.

You can, if you are skilful, use this confusion to initiate a lively discussion about where you might have met before. Such conversations inevitably centre on possible shared interests or friends or habits, and invariably involve mutual disclosure of at least some personal information.

As you will learn from the 'Verbal flirting' sections of this Guide, these are essential ingredients of successful flirting. So, assuming your target finds you attractive, an eyebrow-flash with appropriate follow-up could leapfrog you into instant intimacy.

Two warnings are necessary here: If your target is attracted to you, this may be more evident in facial expressions than in words. Studies have found that women are generally better than men at reading these expressions, but that both sexes have equal difficulty in seeing through people's expressions when they are controlling their faces to hide their real feelings.

The problem is that although faces do express genuine feelings, any facial expression that occurs naturally can also be produced artificially for a social purpose.

Smiles and frowns, to take the most obvious examples, can be spontaneous expressions of happiness or anger, but they can also be manufactured as deliberate signals, such as frowning to indicate doubt or displeasure, smiling to signal approval or agreement, etc. Feelings can also be hidden under a 'social' smile, a 'stiff upper lip' or a blank, 'inscrutable' expression.

Despite this potential for 'deceit', we rely more on facial expressions than on any other aspect of body language. In conversation, we watch our companions' faces rather than their hands or feet, and rely on their facial signals to tell us what effect we are having, and how to interpret what they say. Although people are better at controlling their facial expressions than other aspects of body language, there is still some 'leakage', and the following clues will help you to detect insincerity.

Let's say your target smiles at you.

polls on sex and flirt

How do you know whether this smile is spontaneous or manufactured? There are four ways of telling the difference. First, spontaneous smiles produce characteristic wrinkles around the eyes, which will not appear if your target is 'forcing' a smile out of politeness. Second, 'forced' or 'social' smiles tend to be asymmetrical stronger on the left side of the face in right-handed people and on the right side of the face in left-handed people. The third clue to insincerity is in the timing of the smile: Finally, there is a clue in the duration of the smile, as a manufactured smile tends to be held for longer what is often called a 'fixed' smile and then to fade in an irregular way.

When observing your target's facial expressions, it is important to remember that although an expressive face — showing amusement, surprise, agreement etc. Women naturally tend to smile more than men, for example, and to show emotions more clearly in their facial expressions. You are also likely to interpret expressions differently depending on who is making them. Experiments have shown that people may read the same expression as 'fear' when they see it on a female face, but as 'anger' when it appears on male face.

There are also cultural and even regional differences in the amount of emotion people express with their faces. Oriental people are more likely than Westerners to hide their emotions under a 'blank' expression or a smile, for example, and American researchers have found that in the US, Notherners smile less than people from the South.

If an attractive stranger smiles at you, it could be that he or she finds you attractive, but he or she could also be an outgoing, sociable person from a culture or region in which smiling is commonplace and not particularly meaningful. These factors must also be taken into account when considering the effect of your own facial expressions.

People tend to be put off by levels of expressiveness that are considerably higher or lower than what they are used to, so it could help to try to 'match' the amount of emotion you express with your face to that of your target. As a general rule, however, your face should be constantly informative during a flirtatious conversation. Unexpressiveness — a blank, unchanging face — will be interpreted as lack of interest when you are listening and an absence of facial emphasis when you are speaking will be disturbing and off-putting.

You need to show interest and comprehension when listening, and to promote interest and comprehension when speaking, through facial signals such as eyebrows raised to display surprise, as a question mark or for emphasis; the corners of the mouth turning up in amusement; nodding to indicate agreement; frowning in puzzlement; smiling to show approval, or to indicate that what you are saying should not be taken too seriously, and so on.

Fortunately, most of these facial signals are habitual, and do not have to be consciously manufactured, but some awareness of your facial expressions can help you to monitor their effect and make minor adjustments to put your target more at ease, for example, or hold his or her attention, or increase the level of intimacy. Finally, remember that your target is unlikely to be scrutinising you for tiny signs of insincerity, so a 'social' smile will be infinitely more attractive than no smile at all.

Touch Touching is a powerful, subtle and complex form of communication. In social situations, the language of touch can be used to convey a surprising variety of messages. Different touches can be used to express agreement, affection, affiliation or attraction; to offer support; to emphasise a point; to call for attention or participation; to guide and direct; to greet; to congratulate; to establish or reinforce power-relations and to negotiate levels of intimacy.

Even the most fleeting touch can have a dramatic influence on our perceptions and relationships. Experiments have shown that even a light, brief touch on the arm during a brief social encounter between strangers has both immediate and lasting positive effects. Polite requests for help or directions, for example, produced much more positive results when accompanied by a light touch on the arm.

Flirtation or sexual harassment? Here's how to tell the difference | Life and style | The Guardian

When flirting, it is therefore important to remember that the language of touch, if used correctly, can help to advance the relationship, but that inappropriate use of this powerful tool could ruin your chances forever.

Although there are considerable differences between cultures in the levels of touching that are socially acceptable, and different personalities welcome different levels of touching, we can provide a few basic rules-of-thumb for first encounters with strangers of the opposite sex.

The first rule, for both sexes, is: Women are much less comfortable about being touched by an opposite-sex stranger than men, so men should take care to avoid any touches which may seem threatening or over-familiar.

Men are inclined to interpret women's friendly gestures as sexual invitations, so women should be equally careful to avoid giving misleading signals with over-familiar touches. This does not mean 'don't touch', as appropriate touching will have positive benefits, but touching should initially be restricted to universally acceptable areas and levels. As a general rule, the arm is the safest place to touch an opposite-sex stranger. Back pats are equally non-sexual, but are often perceived as patronising or overbearing.

A brief, light touch on the arm, to draw attention, express support or emphasise a point, is likely to be acceptable and to enhance your companion's positive feelings towards you. If even this most innocuous of touches produces a negative reaction — such as pulling the arm away, increasing distance, frowning, turning away or other expressions of displeasure or anxiety — you might as well give up now.

Unless your companion is exceptionally shy and reserved, negative reactions to a simple arm-touch probably indicate dislike or distrust. If your companion finds you likeable or attractive, a brief arm-touch should prompt some reciprocal increase in intimacy.

This may not be as obvious as a return of your arm-touch, but watch for other positive body-language signals, such as increased eye-contact, moving closer to you, more open posture or postural echo, more smiling, etc.

Your arm-touch may even prompt an increase in verbal intimacy, so listen for any disclosure of personal information, or more personal questions. If you see or hear signs of a positive reaction to your arm-touch, you can, after a reasonable interval, try another arm-touch, this time slightly less fleeting. If this results in a further escalation of verbal or non-verbal intimacy from your companion, you might consider moving to the next stage: Remember that a hand-touch, unless it is the conventional handshake of greeting or parting, is much more personal than an arm-touch.

By touching your companion's hand, you are opening negotiations towards a higher degree of intimacy, so keep it light and brief: A negative reaction to your hand-touch, such as the non-verbal signals of displeasure or anxiety mentioned above, does not necessarily mean that your companion dislikes you, but it is a clear indication that your attempt to advance to the next level of intimacy is either premature or unwelcome.

A very positive reaction, involving a significant increase in verbal or non-verbal intimacy, can be taken as permission to try another hand-touch at an appropriate moment.

Highly positive reactions to a second hand-touch — such as a definite and unambiguous attempt to move closer to you, reciprocal arm- and hand-touching, along with significantly more personal questions, more disclosure of personal information and more expression of emotion — can be taken as permission to proceed, with caution, to a higher level of intimacy.

The next stages might involve a hand-squeeze or hand-hold, repeated twice before moving on to an arm over the shoulders, or perhaps a brief knee-touch.

Males should note, however, that positive reactions to any of these touches can not be taken as permission to grope. You will have noticed that we advise performing each touch two times before progressing to the next level.

This is because repeating the same touch, perhaps with a slightly longer duration, allows you to check that reactions are still positive, that you were not mistaken in your judgement that the touch was acceptable. The repetition also tells your companion that the first touch was not accidental or unconscious, that you are consciously negotiating for an increase in intimacy. Repeating the same touch before moving to the next level is a non-verbal way of saying "Are you sure? Vocal signals You may be surprised to see this heading in the 'Non-verbal flirting' section, but 'verbal' means 'words' and vocal signals such as tone of voice, pitch, volume, speed of speech, etc.

In other words, body-language may be your most important 'flirting tool', but vocal signals come a very close second. An ability to 'read' the vocal signals of the person you are flirting with will also help you to find out how he or she really feels about you. Attraction and interest, for example, are communicated much more by the tone of voice than by what is actually said.

Depending on the tone, volume, speed and pitch, even a simple phrase such as "Good evening" can convey anything from "Wow, you're gorgeous" to "I find you totally uninteresting and I'm looking for an excuse to get away from you as quickly as possible". If your target gives you a deep-toned, low pitched, slow, drawn-out "Good evening", with a slight rising intonation at the end, as though asking a question, this is probably an indication of attraction or at least interest.

If you get a short, high-pitched, clipped "Good evening", or a monotone, expressionless version, your target is probably not interested in you. Once you are in conversation, remember that the intonation of even a single word can communicate an immense variety of emotions and meanings. As an experiment, try practising variations in your intonation of the one-word response "Yeah", and you will find that you can communicate anything from enthusiastic agreement to grudging acceptance to varying degrees of scepticism to total disbelief.

If you speak in a monotone, with little variation in pitch, pace or tone of voice, you will be perceived as boring and dull, even if what you are saying is truly fascinating or exceptionally amusing. Loud volume, a booming tone and too much variation in pitch will make you seem overbearing. Speak too quietly or too slowly and you will seem submissive or even depressed.

polls on sex and flirt

Aim for moderation in volume and tone, with enough variation in pitch and pace to hold your companion's interest. Also remember that a rising or falling intonation, especially when accompanied by a drop in volume, is a 'turn-yielding cue', whereby speakers signal that they have finished what they are saying and are ready to listen to the other person.

When you hear these vocal signals, your companion is probably indicating that it is your turn to speak. When your companion hears these signals, he or she may well assume that you are 'yielding' the floor. If you frequently end sentences on a rising or falling intonation, with a drop in volume, and then carry on without allowing your companion to speak, he or she will become frustrated.

Taking your turn when your companion has not given any vocal 'turn-yielding cues', even if he or she has finished a sentence, will be perceived as interruption, and is equally irritating.

Verbal flirting Although your target's initial impressions of you will depend more on your appearance, body language and voice than on what you actually say, successful flirting also requires good conversation skills. The 'art' of verbal flirting is really just a matter of knowing the rules of conversation, the unwritten laws of etiquette governing talking and listening.

The best and most enjoyable conversations may seem entirely spontaneous, but the people involved are still obeying rules. The difference is that they are following the rules automatically, without consciously trying, just as skilled, experienced drivers do not have think about changing gears.

But understanding how the rules of conversation work — like learning how and when to change gears — will help you to converse more fluently, and flirt more successfully. Men make up for this with superior visual-spatial abilities, but these are not much help in verbal flirting.

SIRC Guide to Flirting

Men can, of course, easily learn to be as skilled in the art of conversation as women — it is only a matter of following a few simple rules — but some do not take the trouble to learn, or may be unaware of their deficiencies in this area. Those males who do take the trouble to improve their conversation skills perhaps by reading this Guide have a definite advantage in the flirting stakes.

Opening lines When the subject of flirting comes up, most people seem to be obsessed with the issue of 'opening lines' or 'chat-up lines'. Men talk about lines that work and lines that have failed; women laugh about men's use of hackneyed or awkward opening lines, and all of us, whether we admit it or not, would like to find the perfect, original, creative way to strike up a conversation with someone we find attractive.

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is that your opening line is really not very important, and all this striving for originality and wit is a wasted effort. The fact is that conversational 'openers' are rarely original, witty or elegant, and no-one expects them to be so. The best 'openers' are, quite simply, those which can easily be recognised as 'openers' — as attempts to start a conversation.

The traditional British comment on the weather "Nice day, isn't it?