Doing This One Thing Is the Key to Successful Flirting, New Study Says

Doing This One Thing Is the Key to Successful Flirting, New Study Says

This technique has been proven to work in igniting a new flame. iStock Flirting is often the first step toward a meaningful relationship with someone—but it doesn't always go as planned. We've all tried our hand at flirting and failed miserably, and each rejection makes it harder to shoot your shot the next time. But

This technique has been proven to work in igniting a new flame.

Young couple on vacation, walking through the city and having fun together.
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Flirting is often the first step toward a meaningful relationship with someone—but it doesn’t always go as planned. We’ve all tried our hand at flirting and failed miserably, and each rejection makes it harder to shoot your shot the next time. But even though flirting fails are just a normal part of life, there is one technique that may be more likely to help you nab a number than not. Read on to find out what research and relationships experts say is the key to successful flirting.

READ THIS NEXT: This Is the One Pick-Up Line That Works Every Time, Experts Say.

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There are so many different ways to get your flirt on. You can try complimenting the other person, or throw in non-verbal clues “such as leg-crossing, palming, and nodding,” says Chris Pleines, a dating expert from DatingScout. Smiling, eye contact, and minor incidental touch can also “drive home a point you are expressing” when flirting, according to Kevin Darné, relationship expert and author of Pump Your Brakes! How To Stop Having Bad First Dates.

“If you want to know if your flirting is successful, look for signs that the other person is also interested in you,” says Mike Anderson, a residential dating and relationship expert for OhMy.ca. “They may mirror your body language, laugh at your jokes even when they’re not particularly funny, or make prolonged eye contact. If you’re not sure, just ask them! Flirting should be fun and easy, so don’t be afraid to take a risk.”

But if you want an extra advantage, there’s one thing in particular you should keep in mind—and it’s backed up by research.

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One flirting method may stand out above all the rest. A new study published March 25 in the Evolutionary Psychology journal looked to determine the perceived effectiveness of various flirtation tactics for both sexes. The researchers gathered more than 400 participants from Norway and more than 500 from the U.S. and had them respond to randomized questionnaires. According to the study, “laughing or giggling at someone’s jokes was an effective flirtation tactic for both sexes.”

“Humor production was rated as more effective when used by men and more effective in long-term contexts, and the least effective when used by women in short-term contexts,” the researchers explained in their study. “However, responding to humor through laughing or giggling was considered an equally effective flirtation tactic for both men and women. Laughing at someone’s jokes, regardless of whom they are, is seen as effective flirting.”

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When it comes to courtship, it’s important that the other person realizes you’re flirting with them. April Maccario, relationship expert and founder of AskApril, says giving an animated response to someone’s jokes is usually an easy way to do this. “Responding or showing extra behaviors such as laughing or giggling often implies that you are interested in that certain person,” she explains.

And a flirty laugh is generally quite distinguishable from a laugh out of obligation. “When someone laughs at your jokes, it can be safe to say that they have their attention on you. You can determine whether they’re genuinely interested or just faking it by looking through their eyes,” says Pleines. “If they look directly to your eyes as they laugh, most likely they are flirting. If they look away to their surroundings, they usually feel awkward and looking to get out of the conversation.”

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Laughing or giggling at someone’s jokes is also the “key to successful flirting” because it helps you build a connection with that person, according to Michelle Devani, a relationship expert and the founder of lovedevani.

“If you laugh at another person’s jokes, you make them feel welcome,” Pleines adds. “Making someone feel that their thoughts and ideas are accepted is vital in building a relationship.”

Sandra Meyers, a relationship expert and co-founder of Select Date Society, says sharing laughter early on in the effort to build a connection with someone also provides the perfect base for a good relationship. “It truly lays the foundation for a successful relationship because all relationships will face challenges at some point, and the ability to laugh together through difficult times will often be what it takes for couples to stay together,” she explains.