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KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters Life!) - There is a lot more to flirting than fun, according to a new research study that says finding success in romance depends in part on understanding your own personal "flirting style."
Whether or not you prefer sidling up to a stranger in a bar or you'd rather sit back and wait for an object of attraction to approach are distinctions that once recognized can help people navigate the rocky seas of relationships, according to Jeffrey Hall, assistant professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas.
Hall recently completed a study into styles of flirting among dating adults, surveying more than 5,100 people regarding their methods of communicating romantic interest.
"Knowing something about the way you communicate attraction says something about challenges you might have had in your past dating life," Hall said. "Hopefully, this awareness can help people avoid those mistakes and succeed in courtship."
Hall said there are essentially five styles of flirting: physical, traditional, polite, sincere and playful.
In physical flirting, people express their sexual interest in a potential partner and, he says, often quickly can develop the relationships, have more sexual chemistry and have a greater emotional connection to their partners.
Traditional flirts tend to believe that men should make the first moves, with women assuming more passive roles. Both sexes comfortable with this style seem to prefer more "intimate" dating scenes,, he said.
There are many people whose flirting styles fall into the category of "playful" and are aimed largely at enhancing their own self-esteem, Hall said. These people are less likely to have lasting and meaningful relationships, he added.
"In some ways, the very early part of developing relationships is important to the success of long-term relationships, including marriages," he said.
Hall co-authored the article with Steve Carter, senior director of research and product development at online dating site eHarmony.com; and other researchers.
Take the quiz: connect.ku.edu/tests/flirt/. (Reporting by Carey Gillam)