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Common Flirting Signals

Updated on May 3, 2010


This is the sequel to Attraction, in the first article of this series (2) we discussed what men and women are attracted to. In this article we will discover what some flirtation maneuvers are. First let us discover what flirtation is. Daniel Webster defines flirtation as, “1. A transient, not serious, love affair. 2. Brief encounter.” Taking this in context flirtation is the purposeful sending of sexual signals to the opposite sex, usually a person the flirter is interested in.

There are two types of flirtation signals in the dating arena. They are Female signals to Males, and Male signals to Females. For the sake of future arguments I can only discuss heterosexual signals, I’m not trying to outcast anyone but it is all I know and I would be doing you an injustice if I told you something incorrect.

It’s a woman’s world out there

Women initiate up to 90% of all social meetings. Anytime a man walks up to a woman it is usually at her request. Not verbal requests mind you, but a nonverbal body signal, that the man finally picked up on. The infamous come on line, is not intended to impress women but to simply break the ice and start the conversation. I would still recommend you use a good one just to be sure. Some surefire ones to use are, “Hi can I get you drink?” if at a bar, or “I don’t mean to be too forward but I saw you from across the room and wanted to meet you.” Whatever line you choose to use, make sure you use it with confidence. Women can tell if you are nervous or unsure of yourself. Just make sure you aren’t overconfident as that is a definite turn off as well.

Women will tend to use a lot of subtle cues to entice you over but you have to be absolutely sure you understand what she is saying with her body, no need to worry—that’s why you’re here reading this.

Several flirting signals shown here.
Several flirting signals shown here.

The Process


Courtship is a five stage process that everyone goes through when we meet an attractive person.  The steps are eye contact, smiling, preening, talk, and finally touch.

Eye Contact

Should be self explanatory but surprisingly is not.  A woman will look across the room to find a man she might be interested in.  Once he notices, she will hold his gaze for about three to seven seconds and turns away.  The man will watch patiently to see if she does it again.  This process usually has to be repeated an average of three times before the man will get what she wants.  Once he figures it out the flirting process can begin.


In this stage she delivers a couple of fleeting smiles solely intended to give the man the green light to make his approach.  Sometimes this stage is ineffective and makes the woman feel like the man is not interested.


Preening is known to enhance or make someone notice assets.  For women it can be as simple as sitting up straighter to emphasize their breasts or leg or ankle crossing to show off her legs.  If she is standing she may tilt her hips and head to expose her neck.  She may play with her hair for a couple of seconds or lick her lips.  She may straighten her clothes or jewelry.  The man may stand up straighter, puff out his chest, or suck in his gut.  He may straighten his clothes or hook his thumbs into his belt.  Male or female, they both point their bodies toward each other.


This is where the infamous pick up lines come from.  “Haven’t I seen you here before?” is a lame and worn out pick up line that is intended just to break the ice.  Again use one that is either unique to you or new, or timeless.


The touch is pretty much the deal maker, like a handshake to seal the deal.  Whenever the woman or man initiates a light touch, accidental or otherwise, means the person is ready to move forward.  Without that touch it is hard to tell what is happening.  Most times a second or third touch will be used to ensure that person is comfortable with the level of intimacy.  If she attempts to adjust your clothes men, she is interested.  Although touching is a necessary stage in the flirtation process to complete it, be careful.  You do not want to push too hard, that could be consider sexual assault or even rape if it goes too far.

Gentle touch of the Arm to gauge comfort

Seemingly harmless but is used to gauge comfort levels.
Seemingly harmless but is used to gauge comfort levels.
The females hips
The females hips

Female signals to Males

Females will use about thirteen gestures to show a man that she could be available. In no particular order they are:

The Head Toss and Hair Flick

The hair is generally tossed over her shoulder to expose her face and signals that she cares how she looks to a man. It also gives her a chance to expose her armpit which is the epicenter of her pheromone production. Pheromones are scents picked up by the opposite gender as an attractant.

Wet Lips

When a girl becomes a woman her face stays pretty much the same, in a childlike way. Her lips will puff out a bit to illustrate her femaleness in contrast to male lips. When a woman is sexually aroused her lips, breasts, and genitals will become enlarged and appears redder as they fill with blood. That is why the markets developed lipstick; in fact lip coloring was used by Egyptians 4000 years ago. A woman’s lips naturally self-mimic.


Self touching is self explanatory. Our brains have a way of making our bodies act out what we desire. Women have more sensitivity to touch than men do. When a woman touches or sensually strokes her thighs, neck, or throat she is sending the signal to the guy that if he does it right it may get to touch her in the same way. It is also a method women use to imagine what it would feel like if the guy was touching her.

The Limp Wrist

The limp wrist is the most feminine thing women do. It is a strong attention getter and very attractive to men because it is a submission signal. It lets the man know that he can dominate.

Fondling a Cylindrical Object

Without being too cruel, fondling a cylindrical object only means one thing. It is the unconscious action delivered because of what is on the mind. It is suggestive of things that may yet come to pass. It’s the same thing with taking off and putting back on a ring continuously.

Exposed Wrists

Women that expose their wrist are showing their submission signals in this maneuver. The wrist is thought to be one of the most erotic parts of a woman’s body, mainly because it is so delicate. That is part of the reason perfume is placed on the wrists, to allow a woman to show her wrists.

Looking Over Her Shoulder

In a sideways glance over her raised shoulder she holds a man’s gaze until he notices then quickly looks away. It gives the feeling of peeping, and being peeped at. It’s very seductive.

Rolling Her Hips

Women naturally have wider hips than men and her hips naturally roll when she walks, which highlights her pelvic region. Because men can’t do this it is a powerful signal for men.

Pelvic Tilt

Women that are in excellent health and most capable of successful child bearing have a waist to hip ratio of 70%. That means her waist is 70% the size of her hips. Simpler, her waist is smaller than her hips. This ratio is what gives her an hourglass figure and is the most seductive for men. When the ratio exceeds 80% the man starts to lose interest, and at 100% he completely loses interest. A man will still be attentive if the ratio falls below 70% but 70% is the perfect ratio for reproductive success. Women that highlight this will generally tilt her pelvis while she is standing.

Purse Proximity

A woman’s purse is an extension of her and is considered to be extremely personal. When she places her purse next to a man it becomes a strong signal of intimacy. If she finds the man particularly attractive, she may fondle it. She may ask him to pass it over to her or even retrieve something from it for her.

Pointing the Knee

Again the body goes where the mind is interested. If she is pointing any part of her body at you she is interested. Pointing the knee conveys this message and also allows for slight exposure of her thighs.

Dangling Her Shoe

When she dangles her shoe, she is relaxed with you. Sometimes women will thrust her foot into and out of her shoe. This act is unsettling for many men without us even knowing it.

The Leg Twine

Sitting with her legs twined together is the most appealing sitting position. When one leg is pressed firmly against the other it creates an appearance of high muscle tone which is a signal for sexual readiness. Crossing and uncrossing the legs and gently stroking her thighs also indicated a desire to be touched.

This concludes the signals women send to men during courtship practices. As you may notice there is a lot of them. Men being such simple creatures we can easily become lost or confused in the process. Hopefully this will help alleviate some of those issues.

All guys do it, even famous ones.
All guys do it, even famous ones.

Male Signals to Females


Male courtship signals all revolve around a show of power, wealth, or status.  Unfortunately for women, you don’t get too much from us.  A man trying to pick up women is like trying to catch a fish with a club instead of a lure.  That is if the woman hasn’t given him any indication of interest.  I heard a story the other day that reminds me of this very fact.  A friend of mine took his fiancée to the dance club to have a good time, yatta yatta ya.  A guy immediately stepped up to her and practically took her onto the dance floor thinking he could win her away from my friend.  Needless to say once the fight was over they left the club never to return.  This is a standard attempt at a display of power; the guy had no idea that she was not available.  Again he was fishing with a club instead of a lure.

Here are the male signals sent to women.  Unfortunately there are only three.


Men understand that talking to a woman at length about himself can open a woman’s mind to him.  This is why a man will talk at length at the beginning of the relationship, and why he stops talking after the initial stage of the relationship.  After that he will stick to facts, information, and problem solving when he does talk.

The Crotch

Our toolbox is pretty much empty when it comes to flirting.  We automatically assume that by displaying or emphasizing our crotch it will attract your attention.  Whether it be, wearing clothes to highlight it, or putting our hands near it, it is all about showing you we are male and this is what we’re working with.  A lot of times we will make “adjustments” to our package to create the illusion of sheer size, like “Look I’m making another adjustment.  Can you just imagine how huge it must be if I can’t keep it where I need it.”  Anyway, that is why we make adjustments all the time, size is everything right?

Wearing a Tie to the Side

When a guy is wearing a tie or whatever off center, or has a piece of lint on his shoulder, it is either a test or he is just messy.  The test is the woman that fixes my appearance is interested.  It is a true test of interest as a woman who is not interested won’t bother with fixing him.

In Conclusion


Women have an arsenal of tools to attract the attention of a male she is interested in.  Men will have something about their clothes messed up, will talk at length and play with themselves to try to attract a woman he is interested in.  I wonder why women have all the power in the game of attraction.

Thank you for reading

References: The Definitive Book of Body Language by: Allan and Barbara Pease

© 2010 by Wesley Cox. All rights reserved. Copying without permission is illegal and will be prosecuted.


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    • profile image

      Timmy Thompson 3 years ago

      Total bollocks.

    • profile image

      wesleycox 3 years ago


      In my culture it doesn't mean anything.

    • profile image

      utkarsh 3 years ago

      Hi does bending the knee while standing on a leg count as an explicit signal? Thx

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      That's great to hear kaushal. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      kaushal paliwal 6 years ago

      I am very thank ful to this site because I got my true love from this tips thanks once again !!!!!!

    • profile image

      kaushal paliwal 6 years ago

      I am very thank ful to this site because I got my true love from this tips thanks once again !!!!!!

    • profile image

      James 6 years ago

      This is a great read.

    • profile image

      Gj McArthur 6 years ago

      Be interesting and smile a lot !

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Glen: I can't say or even begin to say, that all women do these or that they do them all the time. I can't even say that when these actions happen that it means the girl doing it means they want you. However, sometimes some of these may or could possibly mean she is interested in more conversation sometimes. I guess we'll never truly know what a woman is thinking.

    • profile image

      Glen 6 years ago

      I agree with the first critique. Some of these are not entirely correct.

      For example, I used to sit next to this girl in one of my classes at college (last year) and she would do several of these things around me. Leg crossing, shoe dangling, On one occasion she even borrowed a pen and then proceeded to casually fondle it or run her fingers along it (like she's stroking it).

      She seemed like she might be flirting, so I asked her out for a date and she declined. I found out later that not only was she not interested in me, but that she wasn't even interested in guys.

      So I hate to say it, but your article has a few flaws.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Well, alone it means nothing, but if a girl is giving you the eyes and flicking her tounge she might be interested in a conversation with you.

    • profile image

      Geroge Wilson 6 years ago

      I as as aman seen many unknown girls/women came across

      at work palce and on shopping mall they all of a sudden

      flash their tounge like a snack while seeing a stranger.

      This happens with me with many times whereas didn't think of them just corssing they way.

      What sign is this flashing tounge on unknown man

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      King Tutt: Good point, perhaps a little misguided by the scorn of lost love but funny nonetheless.

    • profile image

      KING TUTT 6 years ago


    • Stephdiva profile image

      Stephdiva 6 years ago from New york

      Iiits still on the home page.Or go to my page I t shud be there

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Stephdiva, perhaps I could if I knew where to go, unfortunately there is no link therefore I know not where to go.

    • Stephdiva profile image

      Stephdiva 6 years ago from New york

      Great info.Can u read my post & give ur thoughts.tks

    • rosariosblog profile image

      rosariosblog 6 years ago from Adelaide, Australia

      Interesting & informative. Clear & straightforward style of writing which makes great reading.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 6 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Yes it does appear that way, I guess its because women are more complicated than men. Who really knows.

    • emdi profile image

      emdi 6 years ago

      It seems like women give lot more signals than men :-)

    • Nirav Dave profile image

      Nirav Dave 7 years ago from Rajkot

      Good one..

      This will help to find some flirting women....

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you greenatheart, I also highly recommend the book I mentioned in this article as it has so much body language cues in it that it is a great tool for life. Thank you for reading.

    • greenatheart profile image

      greenatheart 8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      There are some things on this hub I noticed about flirting that I have already knew, but there's so much more you pointed out about flirting that i didn't! I'm going to keep these in mind, so I could be on a look out for a prey ;). Im kidding. But I enjoyed your hub. Very observant!

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Soumyasrajan: Thank you for reading this hub and enjoying the topic of it. I don't really know if we can generalize a statement like that because I've seen complete ends of the spectrum in both sexes. Again thanks for visiting.

    • profile image

      soumyasrajan 8 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

      A very good article weseleycox. Very straight forward and matter of fact sentiments. I particularly like the main theme, woman are much more powerful in this sweet game than man. No doubt about it. Let me also add that I find that by and large woman are much more practical about life than man are. For example they balance out professional life with their love life or family life quite well, while man are mostly lost in only one of these.

      But as realflirt says, it is true that a lot of these technicalities may not mean much specially when you do not want to listen to any thing else but your heart.

      Some times women loose a lot also by doing just that (also men do, but perhaps less than women, it may be interesting to find out ratio of difference in these attitudes). At such times technicalities in your article, if they remember, may help.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Ritazruby: This is true, and this is why men are usually slow in picking up the real signals, because when a woman looks at a man, he'll sit there and watch her to see if she does it again. Usually after the third time is when he'll move in. Thanks for your imput, and thanks for reading.

    • ritazruby profile image

      ritazruby 8 years ago

      i still think a girl can unconsciously send all this signals. she might not be thinking of anything in particular and a deperate guy might just misunderstand.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you masona for reading and commenting, these signals are often overlooked because we aren't sure if it means what we think it means, that's why women have to do something an average of three times for us to understand.

    • masona1 profile image

      masona1 8 years ago

      I think that this is pretty damn straight on. The fixing of the clothes is a total classic that I think a lot of guys miss, I know I have before. Great Article

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Hey Ralwus, how've you been? You're right the ole tounge sticking out at you is very seductive and inviting. Thank you for reading.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      I never wear ties. The sure fire signal to me is when she sticks her tongue out at me.

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      The cat and mouse game of flirting has never had any rival, it is the best game to play. Thanks for commenting and reading.

    • copywriter31 profile image

      James Ranka 8 years ago from Port Neches

      Forget every one of these signals. If a woman is interested in me, I will know it immediately. A smile, wink or if she is really interested, she will make a move toward me with a creative opening line. It's happened so often, I can't count. BTW, women in Southern California are VERY transparent. These beautiful women will let me know in a heartbeat that they are interested. Southern girls expect the male to pursue. It's all a crazy game, but can you think of a better one?

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      Thank you Dame I am always pleased to receive your comments. That is also a good point 30 seconds is all you need. Thank you for reading.

    • Dame Scribe profile image

      Dame Scribe 8 years ago from Canada

      Hi WC, another great work and touch of humor too, lol. I think we should include that '30 seconds to make a impression', too, :) Great job!

    • wesleycox profile image

      wesleycox 8 years ago from Back in Texas, at least until August 2012

      I appreciate you comments real flirt, but I think you may misunderstand the meaning of this article. I should have made it more clear and I am sorry for the misunderstanding. Again thanks for commenting and setting it straight.

    • profile image

      real flirt 8 years ago

      I respectfully disagree with quite a few of these. :)

      The fact of the matter is, if someone is flirting with you - you WILL know it! If you don't know it, well the other person isn't THAT into you. There is such a thing as obsessing and over thinking these types of behaviors.

      If I am out somewhere, I occasionally do all of these things and not because I am flirting. If a guy is weird or strange, I might look at him a few times and our eyes may meet for more then a few seconds - doesn't mean I like him. Also, "the crotch" signal is highly disturbing and I HATE it when men do that, even a man I am interested in. It is just way too much. (And, I should add, I am by no means a prude)

      Many of these could happen without the female being interested. i.e. licking lips - this could be done for many reasons; chapped, dry lips? flavored lip balm? Also, fondling a cyclindrical object? I do this all the time to pens and pencils and am not thinking about giving someone a handjob. Guess I'll have to make an effort to stop fiddling with my writing instruments in case an over-analyzing man is looking! ;)


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