Why Do We Flirt?

Heather Long
Flirty couple

Have you ever wondered, "Why do we flirt?" Flirting is a fun activity, but when your boyfriend or girlfriend flirts with someone else, that can hurt. So why do people flirt and why is it such a double-edged sword?

Discovering Why Do We Flirt

Everyone flirts -from the youngest person to the oldest- because flirting is a form of human communication that is very visual and fun to engage in between people whether they are genuinely attracted to each other or not. This is the key to flirting: it is a way to communicate, tease and generally engage another person, but it does not have to indicate physical or emotional interest.

Some psychologists refer to flirting as human self-promotion. Flirting announces to the world that someone is available, interested and fit for a relationship. That relationship does not have to be a love match. In fact, friends are just as likely to flirt with each other as two romantically interested partners.

Flirting is also a risk free way of exploring your relationships with other people. For example, does he respond to your jokes? Do her eyes light up when you smile? Does his teasing making your tummy tingle?

Primal Reaction

Some scientists and psychologists believe that flirting is a primal, instinctual reaction that comes from deep within the brain. This emotional reaction is a demonstrable part of human social nature. Flirting allows for the forming of bonds between disparate members of the community. The stronger those bonds are, the more likely people are to look out for each other. Flirting also opens a door to communication between two people that may not have been present otherwise.

Whether you accept that flirting is a primal part of being human or whether it is just another facet of human communication, most people flirt because it is fun.

Flirting is Fun

When someone smiles at you, chances are you smile back. Even if you are shy and uncertain, that smile will make you feel good on the inside. When you smile at someone, your eyes light up, your expression becomes more open and you make someone else feel good. It is not unusual to crave that "good feeling" associated with how someone else flirts with you.

What other forms of flirting make you feel good?

  • Compliments
  • Eye Contact
  • Casual physical contact
  • Physical gestures (thumbs up, winks)
  • Being included

Flirting includes you and brings you into situations to which you might not otherwise have access. Imagine, walking into a room and one of the guys grins at you, and asks a question loud enough that you hear it while he is looking at you. The combination of eye contact and verbal gesture is inclusive and that inclusion makes you feel good not only about him, but also about yourself.

Flirting is About Attitude

If you are not sure if you're a good flirt, you can learn a lot of tips and tricks but you need to remember that flirting is about attitude. It is about being playful, light-hearted, spontaneous and self-confident. If you don't feel those things, you can pretend to and let that help you break the ice to start new conversations, meet new people and get to know your friends and acquaintances better.

Still not sure you can do the flirting thing? Consider taking a prop like a dog, a cat, some jewelry, a favorite magazine, a book or even a funky hat. Props can invite others to ask you questions and give you something to respond to.

So why do we flirt? The best answer is to be open to new experiences, people and conversation. Think about that the next time you worry that you have nothing to say, because a question is a great conversation starter and it advertises that you are open and ready to chat.

Why Do We Flirt?