Body language gestures and postures pdf
SIRC Guide to Flirting What Social Science can body language gestures and postures pdf you about flirting and how to do it Why do we flirt? Flirting is much more than just a bit of fun: it is a universal and essential aspect of human interaction. Anthropological research shows that flirting is to be found, in some form, in all cultures and societies around the world. Flirting is a basic instinct, part of human nature.
This is not surprising: if we did not initiate contact and express interest in members of the opposite sex, we would not progress to reproduction, and the human species would become extinct. According to some evolutionary psychologists, flirting may even be the foundation of civilisation as we know it. Our achievements in everything from art to rocket science may be merely a side-effect of the essential ability to charm. If flirting is instinctive, why do we need this Guide?
Like every other human activity, flirting is governed by a complex set of unwritten laws of etiquette. These rules dictate where, when, with whom and in what manner we flirt. We generally obey these unofficial laws instinctively, without being conscious of doing so. Chatting up a widow at her husband’s funeral, for example, would at the very least incur disapproval, if not serious distress or anger. Research shows that men find it particularly difficult to interpret the more subtle cues in women’s body-language, and tend to mistake friendliness for sexual interest. Another problem is that in some rather Puritanical cultures, such as Britain and North America, flirting has acquired a bad name.
Some of us have become so worried about causing offence or sending the wrong signals that we are in danger of losing our natural talent for playful, harmless flirtation. So, to save the human race from extinction, and preserve the foundations of civilisation, Martini commissioned Kate Fox at the Social Issues Research Centre to review and analyse all the scientific research material on interaction between the sexes, and produce a definitive guide to the art and etiquette of enjoyable flirting. Psychologists and social scientists have spent many years studying every detail of social intercourse between men and women. Until now, their fascinating findings have been buried in obscure academic journals and heavy tomes full of jargon and footnotes.
This Guide is the first to reveal this important information to a popular audience, providing expert advice on where to flirt, who to flirt with and how to do it. This might just sound like a fancy way of saying ‘letting your hair down’, but it isn’t. Cultural remission’ does not mean abandoning all your inhibitions, letting rip and behaving exactly as you please. Flirtatious behaviour which is normally frowned upon may be actively required, and prissy refusal to participate may incur disapproval. British couples first met their current partner in a pub, and alcohol was voted the most effective aid to flirting by respondents in the Martini Flirting Survey. Flirting in drinking-places is, however, subject to more conditions and restrictions than at parties.
In pubs, for example, the area around the bar counter is universally understood to be the ‘public zone’, where initiating conversation with a stranger is acceptable, whereas sitting at a table usually indicates a greater desire for privacy. Tables furthest from the bar counter are the most ‘private’ zones. As a rule-of-thumb, the more food-oriented establishments or ‘zones’ tend to discourage flirting between strangers, while those dedicated to drinking or dancing offer more socially sanctioned flirting opportunities. Restaurants and food-oriented or ‘private’ zones within drinking-places are more conducive to flirting between established partners. Schools, colleges, universities and other educational establishments are hot-beds of flirting.
This is largely because they are full of young single people making their first attempts at mate selection. Learning-places are also particularly conducive to flirting because the shared lifestyle and concerns of students, and the informal atmosphere, make it easy for them to initiate conversation with each other. Simply by being students, flirting partners automatically have a great deal in common, and do not need to struggle to find topics of mutual interest. Flirting is officially somewhat more restricted in learning-places than in drinking-places, as education is supposed to take priority over purely social concerns, but in many cases the difference is not very noticeable. Taking a course or evening class may in fact provide more opportunities for relaxed, enjoyable flirting than frequenting bars and night-clubs. At work, flirting is usually acceptable only in certain areas, with certain people and at specific times or occasions.
There are no universal laws: each workplace or working environment has its own unwritten etiquette governing flirtatious behaviour. In some companies, the coffee machine or cafeteria may be the unofficial ‘designated flirting zones’, other companies may frown on any flirting during office hours, or between managers and staff, while some may have a long-standing tradition of jokingly flirtatious morning greetings. Almost any participant sport or hobby can involve flirting. The level of flirtatious behaviour, however, often tends to be inversely related to the standards achieved by participants and their enthusiasm for the activity.
You will generally find a lot of flirting among incompetent tennis players, unfit swimmers, cack-handed potters, etc. There are of course exceptions to this rule, but before joining a team or club, it is worth trying to find out if the members have burning ambitions to play in the national championships or win prestigious awards for their handiwork. Although they have the advantage of providing conversation topics of mutual interest, most sporting events and other spectator pastimes such as theatre or cinema are not particularly conducive to flirting, as social interaction is not the primary purpose of the occasion, and social contact may limited to a short interval or require ‘missing the action’. The most striking exception to this rule is horseracing, where all the ‘action’ takes place in just a few minutes, the half-hour interval between races is dedicated to sociability, and friendly interaction between strangers is actively encouraged by racecourse etiquette. In fact, our own recent research on the behaviour of racegoers indicates that the ‘social micro-climate’ of the racecourse makes it one of the best flirting environments in Britain.
At one level, you can flirt with more or less anyone. An exchange of admiring glances or a bit of light-hearted flirtatious banter can brighten the day, raise self-esteem and strengthen social bonds. Flirtation at this level is harmless fun, and only the stuffiest killjoys could possibly have any objections. Clearly, it makes sense to exercise a degree of caution with people who are married or attached.
Most people in long-term relationships can cope with a bit of admiration, and may even benefit from knowing that others find them or their partners attractive, but couples differ in their tolerance of flirtatious behaviour, and it is important to be alert to signs of discomfort or distress. Research has also shown that men have a tendency to mistake friendly behaviour for sexual flirting. This is not because they are stupid or deluded, but because they tend to see the world in more sexual terms than women. There is also evidence to suggest that women are naturally more socially skilled than men, better at interpreting people’s behaviour and responding appropriately. Indeed, scientists have recently claimed that women have a special ‘diplomacy gene’ which men lack. Otherwise, light-hearted flirtation is both harmless and enjoyable. But flirting is also an essential element of the mate-selection process, and when you are ‘flirting with intent’, rather than just ‘flirting for fun’, you need to be a bit more selective about your choice of target.