Flirting is one of those things that, much like everything else in the world, I find to be moderately-to-severely stressful. I mean, just look at the the whole premise of the thing: when one flirts, it is basically a means of implying that you like someone, or find them attractive, or whatever. But finding the right balance of implication is tough–if you’re too subtle, your subject will be like, “oh, you were flirting with me?” But if you go too heavy on the implication, you’re a “creep” or a “stalker.” And all of this, of course, relies heavily on how attractive and likeable your subject finds you, which is something that, for the most part, is totally beyond your control. The system is rigged!! And, yeah, there are those people who are “naturally flirtatious” and “good” with “other people,” but, as everyone knows, they are actually just human-like robots who were implemented into our society by government scientists as an experiment gauge the limits of human emotion.
Anyway. What is the point of all this? The point is that, since flirting is so very stressful, some totally weird things actually happen to your body when you’re doing it, just like when you’re kissing and having sex. Well, it does if you aren’t a robot, that is. (I’m onto you, robots!!) Check ’em out:
Your Body RelaxesWhen you meet a stranger, your amygalda (the section of your brain that alerts you to danger) becomes activated, and makes your whole body tense up. This is called fight-or-flight, and it's basically just an old biological response to perceived danger. But, when you flirt, your limbic reward system--the part of your brain that tells you what you like, essentially--gets triggered, and gives your whole body a sense of deep, intrinsic pleasure that, overall makes your whole body become more relaxed. Image Source: iStock
You Move Without Meaning ToDavid Givens, an anthropologist who studies human connection, found that people give off nonverbal cues unconsciously when they flirt. So, you've probably noticed the movements and signs that your partner gives off when you're flirting with them, but you probably aren't aware of how you're moving--for example, you'll mimic your partner's movements without realizing it, liking taking a sip of water right after them, moving your hand after they move theirs, or resting your chin in your palm after they do. Image Source: iStock
You Give Off Submissive SignalsIt's interesting to note, too, that most of the signals that people respond to positively when flirting are pretty submissive. They include shrugging, talking with your palms up, touching your hair, leaning towards your partner, mirroring their gestures, and looking into their eyes. This behavior is both a response to your own nerves (even when you hit the pleasure center portion of flirting, your heart is probably still pounding), and an unconcious means of showing your partner that you're decidedly not a threat, since you're picking up on their own nerves, too. Image Source: iStock
You Send Attraction Hormones To Your PartnerYou know when you're talking with someone, and you're really just, like, vibing? And you think they're really cute, and you're pretty sure they're into you too, but you can't pinpoint how you know that, exactly? Well, this is because, in a (successful) flirting situation, attraction hormones like dopamine are triggered in your own body, which helps trigger them with person you're flirting with, too. Image Source: iStock
Your Body Protects YouFeeling like flirting leaves you a little too...vulnerable? Don't worry. Your body's there for you. If you put yourself out there and receive some not-so-positive singals, the anterior cingulate cortex (the part of your brain that refulate blood pressure and heart rate) in your brain puts up a sort of barrier, and lets you know that your body a cautionary message of the possibility of rejection. This helps you get out of the situation ASAP. Image Source: iStock
You Might Underestimate Your Partner's InterestFeeling a little insecure about flirting? You might not have to. David Henningson, a professor at Northern Illinois University, has done a number of studies on how and why humans flirt. Most of these studies rely on findings from another study that says men tend to overestimate the interest of their partner. In response, women might underestimate the interest of theirs. So, if you're not sure how to tell exactly how interested your partner is, just focus on the cues from the other person, and see what they're telling you. Image Source: iStock
You Get Addicted To FlirtingWell, sort of. Since flirting turns on your brain's pleasure center, you might find that you crave the specific sense of pleasure you get from flirting. And, since there's a boost of fear that comes from flirting, too--remember that fight-or-flight thing?--adrenaline junkies might want to adopt flirting as a new pursuit, too. You can fool yourself into thinking flirting is successful, since people who experience feelings of mild fear on a date (like riding a roller coaster or going bungee jumping) are more likely to respond positively to it afterwards. Image Source: iStock
Were you surprised by any of these facts? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!
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