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5 Types of Flirtation: Part Art Form, Part Science

As college women, it goes without saying; flirting is our lifeline. We flirt our way through times of desperation (exhibit A: getting into that listed party after having to make the walk in unforgiving heels), times of trouble (“Dancing on sinks is my go-to party move. I’m not sure what to tell you about the breaking-off-the-wall part.”), and times of pure bliss (the typical “hello there handsome” scenario).

There’s a method to the madness however, and studies show that flirting and being able to do it well, is more effective than excessive good looks. According to psychologist Dr. Monica Moore, studies show “it’s not the most physically appealing people who get approached, but the ones who signal their availability and confidence through basic flirting technique like eye contact and smiles.” Psychologists categorize the basic flirt in 5 different ways:


1.     The Traditional Tanya

This flirt dabbles on the coy side, usually signaling responsiveness but allowing the men to initiate the first verbal move (such as a date request or an offer to buy a drink). Once the conversation is flowing, Tanyas expect the guy to lead the interaction and make requests for future encounters. Typically this flirt is more introverted and waits for him to come to her.


2.     The Physical Patricia

This flirt hints at sexual contact through verbal messages. Usually an exchange of suggestive banter will take place, as Patricas are comfortable discussing their sexual interest to potential partners. The interaction instigated by a Patricia is characterized by more sexual chemistry and emotional connection than the other styles of flirtation.


3.     The Sincere Sally

This flirt seeks an emotional connection with her potential partners. Typically the flirtation will range from eliciting self-disclose and conveying personal interest in a partner, although this kind of flirtation is not as effective in terms of communicating sexual interest.


4.     The Playful Paige


This flirt knows how to play the game and is purely in it for the fun. Paiges find flirting flattering and use it as a self-esteem booster with no strings attached. Plainly stated: they flirt for the sake of flirting.


5.     The Polite Polly

This flirt practices a cautious approach, tiptoeing verbally in pursuit of an emotional and sincere connection rather than a playful one. Pollys’ only downfall is her flirtation often being interpreted as disinterest. Pollys value respect and loyalty over sexual come-ons and tend to believe friendship is the basis of true love.


And for everyone else, where the flirtation fails….


I'm an aspiring journalist and brunch enthusiast here at UW-Madison. My boyfriend's name is sleep and I get some every night. I once showed ankle for Wi-Fi access and hope to one day love something the way women in commercials love yogurt. I'm good at mermaid dancing and prefer my puns intended--that is all.
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