Flirting has been with us for ages and we've probably experienced it in one form or another. These non-verbal cues of attraction are some times clear and most other times very subtle. It can be a friendly glance, an inviting smile, or an innocent touch. If you are on the receiving end of one of these visual cues and the attraction is mutual, feel free to return the favor and enjoy the moment.
Now that we have a feel for some of the signs of flirting, can these same messages be conveyed when we are online? Match.com seems to think so. Here's a Match.com article about flirting online and how it can free the mind and expand the horizon. Remember, flirting is a universal language that can be expressed in many ways and in any forum. Online dating just so happens to be a forum where flirting is an everyday occurrence.
Flirting Online: The Freedom of Anonymity
By Brian Zelnicker
We all know better than to judge a book by its cover, but can we really ignore the dust jacket? Packaging is hard to overlook. A multi-billion dollar advertising industry banks on the notion that, like magpies, we will be instinctively drawn to all baubles bright and shiny. Anyone who has paid good money to see a film that couldn't live up to its promotional trailer knows what I mean.
People are too often judged on appearances, and yet people have a lot more to offer than looks alone. While there will always be those for whom "seeing is believing," many online flirts find that anonymity provides an escape from superficiality. Free from the social pressures dictated by looks and fashion, hordes of Internet users are feeling braver these days.
"Are you kidding," exclaims Candice, a film programmer from England, "there's no way I'd ever come out with some of the stuff I say online if I was face to face with any of these guys." Candice says she feels freer to take risks online than she does in a bar, where her self-consciousness makes her tense. "I can't edit myself at a bar, or say what I truly feel. I don't know, I like going out and all, but sometimes it just seems like a big show." With less social pressure online, Candice can relax and remain truer to herself.
Others see anonymity as a major hurdle. "Who knows who you've got on the other end," says Boris, another online flirt. "It's all good fun and my curiosity can be aroused, but it's (chat rooms) not an honest indication of what a person is truly like." Boris believes that body language is key to forming impressions. "You need to see the eyes to tell if someone is being truthful. You need to hear it in the voice, read it from physical clues, you know, twitches, nervous tics."
Contrary to Boris' fears of misrepresentation, Ramona's interactions with the opposite sex have been transformed through her emails. "I catch them with my wit," she says. "It's all about your brain online." Ramona considers herself "beyond jinxed" when it comes to flirting in person. She feels that her body language can be her very undoing. "I can be bolder online," says the 30-something office worker. "It's a rush because it's brain-based. I've never had much faith in my looks."
Though Ramona agrees that anonymity can provide an opportunity to lie about oneself, she counters that it offers a chance to be completely honest without worrying about "radioactive" social fallout. "You're making impressions that you don't even realize and getting reactions you wouldn't be expecting. It can be a total ego boost. It so makes the day more bearable." Ramona stresses that flirting is not necessarily sexual and can often be about sharing a skewed sense of humor. "Some of the stuff I've sent out there, who knows what they might be thinking of me, but I feel like it expands my horizons."
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