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The science of flirting

We all loooove love – from Romeo and Juliet to rom-coms to Taylor Swift songs.  So much so, that researchers have taken to the subject.  Sure, some of it is pure magic – like the sparks you feel for a special someone.  But there are a few key concepts about how attraction works and what draws us to others.  And once you understand them, you can use them to your advantage in getting to know that cutie you’ve had your eyes on.

There really is something about the boy next door.  Although you wouldn’t guess it, physical proximity – or seeing someone frequently, like at school or around the neighborhood – is one of the most important factors in attraction.  Partially, we just like things that we encounter more often – whether it’s that new song on the radio 24/7 or the peeps who are your locker neighbors.  But also, seeing someone more gives you the opportunity to really get to know each other (or for them to fall head-over-heels for you!).  So if you’ve only been scoping on your crush from afar, now’s the time to break the distance!
    •    Squeeze into his routine.  Nah, you don’t need to trail him in the hallway or memorize his class sched.  But find a way to chat with your cutie on a regular basis, whether that’s after youth group or while walking between classes.
    •    Not many face-to-face opportunities?  Send a quick IM or text every now and then.  In person communication is better, but when your chances are limited, screen time works too.

Opposites attract?  You might be surprised.  While it’s fun to daydream about a mysterious bf totally different from you (werewolves and vampires, anyone?), in reality, it doesn’t hold up.  The best matches are those made between two peas in a pod – people with similar interests, attitudes, and personalities.  For one, it makes us feel good about ourselves to be with people who are like us (you know that awesome feeling when you totally click with someone over your fave movie?).  Another benefit?  Communication is usually easier – majorly important when you’re trying to start a relationship.
    •    Seek out activities.  Join clubs or other activities where you can meet guys.  You’re more likely to meet someone with a few things in common from the start.
    •    Find common ground.  Do a little sleuthin’ to find out a thing or two you and your crush have in common – like a love for basketball or horror movies.  It will give you something to gab about in the beginning, and may lead to natural date opportunities in the future!

Reciprocity/Mutual Liking
We like people who like us – and show it.  It’s just that simple.  Natch, it makes us feel awesome – think about that warm-and-fuzzy feeling you get when someone does something nice for you or compliments your outfit.  But what’s more, it can have a back-and-forth affect – when someone is nice to us, we are nice back, and they in turn like us even more.  A little sugar can go a long way.
    •    Throw him a compliment.  One sure-fire way to put this principle to work is to dish out flattery.  It doesn’t have to be major – simply telling him “great job” after a big game or that you dig his new kicks will get the job done.
    •    Smile!  If you’re feelin’ a little shy or tongue-tied, that’s okay.  Flashing a smile will do the trick of showing your crush you’re happy to see him.

Sure, looks play a factor in attraction, like when you get lost in your crush’s baby blues or melt at his smile.  But when it comes down to it, personality is more important.  What kind of personalities do we find most attractive?  Of course, we have our different preferences.  But for the most part, we’re all drawn to people who are friendly, open, and have a sense of humor.  So perfect – you don’t have to change who you are, you just gotta let your crush see the lovely, sunny you!
    •    Relax!  If you’re distracted by the butterflies in your stomach when trying to approach your crush, it’s easy to get too caught up to let the real you show.  If it helps, take a few deep breaths, or imagine talking to a friend to calm your nerves.
    •    Be playful.  As you feel more comfortable chatting with guys, it will naturally be easier to let loose.  Share a funny story, tease him a little, or even just giggle at a joke of his to show your fun side.

BY MARIE HANSEN ON 5/17/2011 9:00:00 AM


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