While some people out there are natural flirts, a lot of us could do with a helping hand - or risk turning people away with our god awful one-liners.
But fret not, as a group of researchers have identified a key flirting technique that works nearly every time. And thankfully, it's totally free.
Researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), as well as Bucknell University and State University of New York, studied flirting in Norway and the US.
Using the sexual strategies theory as its framework, which suggests that humans have evolved a complex menu of mating strategies, the survey asked 1000 students from both countries and sexes to rate the effectiveness of 40 different types of flirting for both long and short term relationships.
One of the professors involved in the research, Mons Bendixen, explained: "Individual differences in age, religiosity, extroversion, personal attractiveness and preferences for short-term sexual relationships had little or no effect on how effective respondents considered the various flirting tactics to be."
Now, before we get into the techniques, Leif Edward Ottesen Kennair – a professor at NTNU’s Department of Psychology – described what flirting actually is.
In a press release, he explained: "Flirting involves different signals that people send to each other. It’s done to attract potential partners.
"Men and women both flirt to get the attention of a desired partner, and perhaps to achieve a sexual or romantic result from it."
Kennair continued: "What’s most effective depends on your gender and whether the purpose of the flirtation is a long-term or short-term relationship."
For example, the study found that people consider signals that you're sexually available to be the most effective for women who are looking for a short-term fling.
But a friendly hug or kiss on the cheek won't cut it in this context – women looking to seal the deal will need to signal to the potential partner that they're available either by moving closer or making body and eye contact.
Without overstepping any boundaries, of course.
On the flipside of this, men looking for long-term relationships will need to show 'signs of generosity and a willingness to commit'.
But there's one weapon that works across the board to some extent and that tactic is humour.
Kennair explained: "People think that humour, or being able to make another person laugh, is most effective for men who are looking for a long-term relationship.
"It’s least effective for women who are looking for a one-night stand. But laughing or giggling at the other person’s jokes is an effective flirtation tactic for both sexes."
Rebecca Burch, a co-author from SUNY Oswego, added: "It is not only effective to be funny, but for women it is very important that you show your potential partner that you think they are funny."
So there you have it – if you want to bag a date and you're not sure about your flirting skills, try channelling your inner comedian.
Just don't go telling any dad jokes or it might have the opposite effect.Featured Image Credit: Cultura Creative RF/Antonio Guillem/Alamy Stock Photo