Flirting is much more than fun banter at parties and bars. It is an instinctive and essential human activity.

Getting to know someone and their interests is an important part of flirting. You can start by asking them questions like where they’re from, or their opinion on a piece of art.

1. It’s an instinct

Flirting is a social behavior that involves body language and tone of voice. It’s also something that’s rooted in instinct. When someone you like shows interest in you, your brain sends a signal to your body to respond. For example, if a man shows interest in you, his chest might puff out or he might sway his hips differently when he walks.

Eye contact is another big sign of flirting. If a guy holds your gaze in a room full of people, it’s likely he is interested in you. He might also tease you or play with your hair. This can be a great way to build trust and show your playful side. It also creates a sense of intimacy and excitement that makes you feel good.

2. It’s a social activity

One of the reasons why flirting is difficult to pin down is because it can be interpreted differently across contexts. A lingering glance, a smile, or a casual move can mean different things depending on the situation and the participants’ intentions.

Flirting is also a social activity, and can help people build trust in new relationships. It can be a way to show that you’re interested in someone by asking them questions about their hobbies or interests. For example, if you see them wearing a certain band’s T-shirt, you can ask them about it to start a conversation.

But you should be careful not to use flirting as a tool for manipulation. Flirting can be misconstrued and can cause problems in existing relationships. So it’s important to know how to read the cues.

3. It’s a way to express interest

Flirting is a way to show someone you’re interested in them, and it can include non-verbal signals. For example, a woman might run her fingers through her hair or put her hands near her mouth, while men might lean in or touch their necks or faces.

In addition to indicating interest, flirting can also be used to communicate a sense of humor. One study found that people like others who make them laugh, and it’s a great way to establish a playful dynamic.

Of course, not everyone is into being played or wants to be flirted with. But if you know you’re being flirted with for the wrong reasons, don’t take it personally. It’s not your fault, and there are a lot of other ways to express interest that aren’t creepy or corny.

4. It’s a way to build trust

Flirting can help build trust in your relationship. It is a way of showing your partner that you are interested in them, whether it be through playful text messages or by making them laugh at your inside jokes.

Often, people flirt to see if there is potential for romance or sex, but it can also be done to show interest in a friend, or to boost a person’s self-esteem. Some flirting techniques may seem creepy or creepy, but if used with the right intention, it can be fun and lead to more intimacy in your relationship.

Jayda Shuavarnnasri, a sexuality and relationship educator, has seen many people try to use flirting as a tool for getting something, such as their number or a drink. This goal-oriented approach to flirting doesn’t work so well, however, as it can create an air of insincerity in the interaction.

5. It’s a way to escape

It’s important to know when flirting crosses the line into cheating. Even if you have good intentions, flirting can lead to emotional or sexual cheating. Emotional cheating is when you develop a deep emotional connection with someone outside your relationship, and it can be just as harmful as physical cheating. Signs of emotional cheating include hiding messages, turning off notifications, or deleting your chat apps.

Flirting is often seen as a way to achieve a goal, like getting a date or sex. Removing that goal can help people see that flirting is about connecting and having fun. And when it’s used as a way to escape, that can be hurtful to the other person.