Flirting guru lacks tips, talks flirting styles


Patrick Schmidt/Iowa State Daily

Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas, introduces the five styles of flirting to an audience Thursday at the Memorial Union. “When we don’t know what to do we call on scripts,” Hall said to illustrate the potential reason why so many young adults use the traditional approach when flirting.

Jessica Kindschi

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas Jeffrey Hall discussed the science behind flirting.

Hall, the author of “The Five Flirting Styles,” shaped his lecture like his book by diving into the five major styles men and women use to flirt with the opposite sex.

Hall clarified right away this lecture does not give tips and tricks on how to flirt, but instead discusses the ways in which people flirt. This statement caused slight commotion in the crowd. Some students just realized they may not be in for what they thought they would be.

“When [Hall] said he was not here to give tips and tricks to flirting, I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed,” said Andrew Yadlosky, senior in mechanical engineering.

Hall provided statistics on how often men and women notice that flirting is taking place. He said flirting is not like it is in the movies, with obvious pick-up line after pick-up line.

“I am going to make you think about flirting in a new way…there is nothing good or bad about it,” Hall said. He made it clear there is no right or wrong way to flirt, just different ways.

Both men and women are poor judges at telling whether or not the other partner is flirting, according to Hall’s research. Hall also stated that bringing in a wingman/woman will not make it any easier to identify flirting.

Hall spent the night diving into what the five flirting styles are. There is the physical flirting style, the polite flirting style, the playful flirting style, the sincere flirting style and the traditional flirting style.

The physical flirting style is the flirting style that is what comes to mind when someone says “flirt”. This includes pickup lines, confidence, and the possible end goal of hooking up, Hall said.

“The big picture of this flirting style is that these are people who are very confident that other people want to be seen flirting one way,” Hall said. The polite flirting style is all about respect, Hall said. This kind of flirting style can lack energy, though, Hall said.

The playful flirting style is one that is more used as a tool than a means to get somewhere romantically with the partner, Hall said. It is used to “make someone do something”. This is the kind of flirting style that leads to friends with benefits or a free drink at the bar.

The sincere flirting style is just like it sounds; sincere. The person is genuinely interested in getting to know this person and spending time with them. In this way, the person is flirting.

In the way they ask about your life goals and what you care about, they are flirting, Hall said. It is in this way they let someone know they are interested in them and also get to know them as a person.

The last flirting style is the traditional flirting style. This style uses the traditional gender roles culturally known as the man approaches and the woman follows. The men initiate and the women yield, Hall said.

Those with this style are known to hold more conservative values, Hall said.

“The highest rates of reporting in the traditional flirting style is women between the ages of 18 to 24”, Hall said.

Hall attributed this shocking statistic as coming from an idea called a traditional sexual script which states ‘this is what man’s job is, this is what woman’s job is.’

“We use scripts to make sense of what we’re supposed to do in uncertain environments. When we don’t know what to do we call on scripts,” Hall said.

In the future Hall wants to include more members of the gay and lesbian community into his research to understand the similarities and differences in flirting styles for those communities.

“It was cool to learn the different styles and where I fell. It made me more self aware,” Yadlosky said. “[I learned that] I am terrible at picking up the ladies.”

In the end, Hall reminded the audience that everyone is different, and the way people communicate romantic interest will be different.

“Don’t feel bad about the way you communicate,” Hall said.