This Is How Your Body Reacts When You Flirt

Let's face it, flirting is fun — though not all the time, as our real lives aren't Rom-Coms. Flirting can also be a little daunting, nauseating, and thrilling all at once. Like other animals, we humans have mating rituals, and flirting is one of them. It is a way we show our best sides to current and potential mates. This can be done by being thoughtful, witty, funny, or even just sending a kiss emoji. Flirting means you care, but these simple acts have a complex effect on our brain and body. Here's what's happening while you flirt.

If you are one of the people who finds flirting terrifying, you may be able to blame evolution as the reason. According to Fusion, flirting can be challenging for some because there is a fear of strangers. This stems from a leftover survival intuition from the hunting and gathering days. When we meet other humans, the part of our brain called the amygdala kicks into gear making us on high alert. This is the part of the brain in charge of the "fight-or-flight" response. David Givens, an anthropologist, tells Fusion, "There's a biological distrust that animals have of strange animals." This might explain why some are so great at flirting online, but find it impossible while face to face.

Blushing is not just for feeling embarrassed

This next effect is more of a visual clue. If you have ever been in the situation where someone is talking to you and they start to blush, that could be a biological signal they are flirting. Dawn Maslar, biologist and author of Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind, and Finding True Love, notes, "So when you're talking to them and their face starts getting redder, that's an indication that they're sexually attracted too," she says. So if you have ever been in that red-faced position yourself, know that it is your body's nerves reacting to the adrenaline by increasing blood flow.

If the way you position and use your body while flirting feels natural, that's because it is. Our bodies' expressions have a way of keeping our mates, or potential mates, calm while flirting. "One of my favorite nonverbal cues is shoulder shrugging," Givens tells Fusion, "In courtship, you're showing a submissive stance by shrugging your shoulders — that lets the partner know you're not going to bite." Other non-verbal signs of interest reported by Fusion include the friendly gesture of talking with your palms up, leaning in toward the person of interest, or playing with your hair.

This playground tactic can happen at any age

Another body language signal that someone is flirting is the way they are positioned around you. Social anthropologist Jean Smith claims with Insider, "If they're squared up, facing you, with their feet pointed in your direction, it's all looking good. If their feet are angled away, simulating a quick exit, or their arms are folded, forget it."

If you haven't ventured past the playground version of flirting, then teasing is likely your preferred method of showing interest. It's odd, right? Putting the person you like down. Luckily, there is an explanation. Life coach Jaya Jaya Myra explains on Insider, "Backhanded compliments allow someone to test the waters and see if you respond in a favorable manner." 

So whether you love it or hate it, or you feel you're more of a shoulder shrugger than a wizard with words, flirting is a part of our mating ritual. We hope you have found a way to do it that works best for you.