This type of flirting sometimes faces disapproval from others because it can be deemed as leading someone on if the person being flirted with misinterprets it as something more serious.
Flirting can involve non-verbal signs, such as an exchange of glances, hand-touching, and hair-touching; or verbal signs, such as chatting, giving flattering comments, and exchanging telephone numbers in order to initiate further contact.She wrote of the Americans, "The boy learns to make advances and rely upon the girl to repulse them whenever they are inappropriate to the state of feeling between the pair", as contrasted to the British, where "the girl is reared to depend upon a slight barrier of chilliness...which the boys learn to respect, and for the rest to rely upon the men to approach or advance, as warranted by the situation." This resulted, for example, in British women interpreting an American soldier's gregariousness as something more intimate or serious than he had intended.Challenges (teasing, questions, qualifying, feigned disinterest) serve to increase tension and test intention and congruity.Flirting behavior varies across cultures due to different modes of social etiquette, such as how closely people should stand (proxemics), how long to hold eye contact, how much touching is appropriate and so forth. For example, ethologist Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt found that in places as different as Africa and North America, women exhibit similar flirting behavior, such as a prolonged stare followed by a head tilt away with a little smile. The Oxford English Dictionary (first edition) associates it with such onomatopoeic words as flit and flick, emphasizing a lack of seriousness; on the other hand, it has been attributed to the old French conter fleurette, which means "to (try to) seduce" by the dropping of flower petals, that is, "to speak sweet nothings".
The fan was extensively used as a means of communication and therefore a way of flirting from the 16th century onwards in some European societies, especially England and Spain.A whole sign language was developed with the use of the fan, and even etiquette books and magazines were published.Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, proximity, etc.Verbal communication of interest can include alterations in vocal tone, such as pace, volume, and intonation.This may be accomplished by communicating a sense of playfulness or irony.
Double entendres, with one meaning more formally appropriate and another more suggestive, may be used.According to social anthropologist Kate Fox, there are two main types of flirting: flirting just for fun and flirting with further intent.Flirting for fun can take place between friends, co-workers, or total strangers that wish to get to know each other.This use was highly popular during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Flirting can indicate an interest in a deeper personal relationship with another person.Some people flirt simply for amusement, with no intention of developing any further relationship.