Learning The ‘Science Of Flirting’

By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On this Valentine’s Day, some lessons in flirting, and not just for single people.

Experts say flirting can be fun, and helpful, even for people who’ve been in long relationships.

For some it comes naturally. Others struggle with flirting.

There’s a researcher in London who’s a self-described “flirtologist.” She says she’s helped both men and women become “flirting ninjas.”

48-year-old Diane Ebden is getting a lesson on flirting, and needs a confidence boost when it comes to dating.

“I’m single and I would like to meet somebody, and I think it’s quite hard these days,” said Diane.

So she hired a flirt coach.

Social anthropologist Jean Smith has been tracking flirting and dating habits for almost two decades. She says anxiety and fear of rejection stop many people from finding love.

“The flirting tours are more about people getting out of their minds and the scenarios that they’ve made up. ‘You know, if I go talk to that person, they’re going to think I’m weird,’ all these things that we make up, and then, inevitably, stops us from going,” Smith explained.

Smith guides nervous singles through everyday places – like art galleries, grocery stores, and busy streets.

On this tour, the flirt students ask strangers for directions.

“What I’ve noticed is: people are trying to go around getting other people to make them feel special. In fact, the best flirts actually make other people feel special and then they get it back that way,” said Smith.

“Oh, I had it all going on. I had a whole conversation for about 5 minutes!” Diane said.

Diane is feeling more confident and says if you don’t try, you’ll never know.

Smith, who’s had thousands of flirting clients, says it’s important to be open to meeting new people, not just those you’re initially attracted to, and be “in the moment” while you’re talking to that person.

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