How to flirt nonverbally and verbally

How to Nonverbally Flirt with a Girl: 13 Steps (with Pictures)

Science continues to look out for us mere mortals trying to figure out if our date is flirting — or not. A new study published in the Journal of. Reading nonverbal cues is an important part of knowing how to flirt and be flirted with. These signs of flirting will help you see who is attracted to you and who. How to Nonverbally Flirt with a Girl. While you might think flirting is all in what you say, you can capture someone's interest largely by your actions. Start by.

Next was offering flirtatious glances and laughing or smiling. The rarest was offering compliments or teasing. Perhaps this might be due to the fact that they are more risky and high stakes nonverbal courtship rituals. The negative cues signaling dislike included leg crossing. If the legs were crossed at any point, then it was a clear signal that someone was not attracted to the other person. If men were seen crossing their arms, this was a solid signal of disinterest.

Self-touching of the arm, chest or hair was also a signal of disinterest. The Five Flirtatious styles The study also outlined five main ways that people tend to flirt with another person based on their personality.

Flirting styles are broken down into five main categories: Tend to use touch more often and nonverbal communication generally. These did not do as well in a face-to-face sitting style get-to-meet-you. They excel in more open environments. Traditional male flirts tend to believe that they should take the first step.

These women also tended to gently tease their partners. They, were also less likely to self-touch or be fidgety. This was even more evident in the men. For most people, it signals a lack of closeness, but polite flirts do it more the more attracted they become.

They also tended to ask fewer questions in the first half which was especially so in females in first part of the interaction. Men also teased their partner less even if they were physically attracted to her.

The polite flirt tends to create more space as a way to encourage trust, however, this means that it is more difficult for them to demonstrate their interest. Playful flirts who were attracted to their partner tended to protrude their chest especially in the minute interval during the conversation. Eye contact Your eyes are probably your most important flirting tool.

We tend to think of our eyes mainly as a means of receiving information, but they are also extremely high-powered transmitters of vital social signals. How you look at another person, meet his or her gaze and look away can make all the difference between a successful, enjoyable flirtation and an embarrassing or hurtful encounter. Eye contact — looking directly into the eyes of another person — is such a powerful, emotionally loaded act of communication that we normally restrict it to very brief glances.

Prolonged eye contact between two people indicates intense emotion, and is either an act of love or an act of hostility. It is so disturbing that in normal social encounters, we avoid eye contacts of more than one second. Among a crowd of strangers in a public setting, eye contacts will generally last only a fraction of second, and most people will avoid making any eye contact at all.

This is very good news for anyone wishing to initiate a flirtation with an attractive stranger. Even from across a crowded room at a party, you can signal your interest in someone merely by making eye contact and attempting to hold your target's gaze for more than one second not too much more, though, or you will seem threatening.

If these eye contacts trigger a smile, you can approach your target with some confidence. If, on the other hand, your target avoids making eye contact with you, or looks away after a fraction of a second and does not look back again, you should probably assume that your interest is not returned.

There is still the possibility that your target is just a very shy person — and some females may be understandably wary of signalling any interest in male strangers. The only way to find out is by close observation of your target's behaviour towards others.

Does she consistently avoid direct eye-contact with men? Does he seem nervous, anxious or aloof in his interactions with other women? If so, your target's reluctance to meet your gaze may be nothing personal, and it might be worth approaching, but only with considerable caution.

Once you have approached your target, you will need to make eye contact again in order to strike up a conversation. As soon as your eyes meet, you may begin to speak.

Once a conversation begins, it is normal for eye contact to be broken as the speaker looks away. In conversations, the person who is speaking looks away more than the person who is listening, and turn-taking is governed by a characteristic pattern of looking, eye contact and looking away.

So, to signal that you have finished speaking and invite a response, you then look back at your target again. The person speaking will normally look at you for less than half this time, and direct eye contact will be intermittent, rarely lasting more than one second.

When your target has finished speaking, and expects a response, he or she will look at you and make brief eye contact again to indicate that it is your turn.

The basic rules for pleasant conversation are: The key words here are 'glance' and 'brief': The most common mistake people make when flirting is to overdo the eye contact in a premature attempt to increase intimacy.

This only makes the other person feel uncomfortable, and may send misleading signals. Some men also blow their chances by carrying on a conversation with a woman's breasts, rather than looking at her face. Interpersonal distance The distance you keep from the other person when flirting is important, because it will affect his or her impression of you, and the quality of your interaction.

When you first approach an attractive stranger, having established at least an indication of mutual interest through eye contact, try to make eye contact again at about 4ft away, before moving any closer.

At 4 ft about two small steps awayyou are on the borderline between what are known as the 'social zone' 4 to 12 ft and the 'personal zone' 18in to 4ft. If you receive a positive response at 4ft, move in to 'arm's length' about 2ft 6in. The 'intimate zone' less than 18in is reserved for lovers, family and very close friends. If you are close enough to whisper and be heard, you are probably too close for comfort. These distance rules apply particularly in face-to-face encounters. We will tolerate reduced interpersonal distances when we are side by side with someone.

This is because when you are alongside someone, it is easier to use other aspects of body language, such as turning away or avoiding eye contact, to 'limit' your level of involvement with the other person. You can therefore approach a bit closer than 'arm's length' if you are alongside your target — at the bar counter of a pub, for example — rather than face-to-face.

But be careful to avoid 'intrusive' body-language such as prolonged eye contact or touching. You may also see 'barrier signals' such as folded or tightly crossed legs, or rubbing the neck with the elbow pointed towards you. If you see any of these signs, back off! Finally, remember that different people have different reactions to distance. If your target is from a Mediterranean or Latin American country known as the 'contact cultures'he or she may be comfortable with closer distances than a British or Northern European person.

North Americans fall somewhere between these two extremes. Different personality-types may also react differently to your approach: Even the same person may vary in tolerance from day to day, according to mood: Posture Most of us are quite good at controlling our faces — maintaining an expression of polite interest, for example, when we are really bored to tears, or even nodding when we really disagree!

But we tend to be less conscious of what the rest of our body is doing. We may be smiling and nodding, but unconsciously revealing our disagreement by a tense posture with tightly folded arms.

This is known as 'non-verbal leakage': When flirting, you should therefore watch out for signs of this 'non-verbal leakage' in your partner's posture — and try to send the right signals with your own posture. Your partner's 'non-verbal leakage' can give you advance warning that your chat-up isn't working. Leaning backwards and supporting the head on one hand are signs of boredom. These are signs of attentiveness and interest or liking.

SIRC Guide to Flirting

Experiments have also shown that females are more likely to tilt their heads to one side when they are interested in the person they are talking to. Men should beware, however, of automatically assuming that these signs indicate sexual interest. Women should be aware of men's tendency to make such assumptions, and avoid signalling interest too obviously. Another positive sign is what psychologists call 'postural congruence' or 'postural echo': Mirror-image postural echoes — where one person's left side 'matches' the other person's right side — are the strongest indication of harmony and rapport between the pair.

When flirting, you can also use postural echo to create a feeling of togetherness and harmony. Experiments have shown that although people are not consciously aware of someone deliberately 'echoing' their postures, they will evaluate a person who does this more favourably.

This technique obviously has its limits. We would not suggest, for example, that a woman in a mini-skirt should 'echo' the open-legged sitting posture of her male companion.

But if he is leaning forward with his left forearm resting on the table, she could create a sense of common identity by 'mirroring' this aspect of his posture — leaning forward with her right forearm on the table. In addition to these 'generic' signals of interest, there are specifically male and female posture signals which are often seen in flirtatious encounters.

These tend to be postures which enhance the masculine or dominant appearance of the male, and the femininity of the female. Males may adopt postures which make them appear taller, larger and more impressive, such as placing hands in pockets with elbows out to enlarge the chest, or leaning one hand at above shoulder height on a wall to appear taller and more imposing.

Females either adopt postures which make them look smaller, such as drawing the knees towards the body when seated, or postures which draw attention to physical attributes attractive to males, such as arching the back to display the breasts, or crossing and re-crossing the legs to draw attention to them. Gestures As well as overall body posture, the gestures we use can signal interest, attraction and invitation — or discomfort, dislike and rejection.

When flirting, it is important to be aware of these non-verbal cues, both in 'reading' your partner's body-language and in controlling the messages you are sending with your own gestures. In conversation, gestures are mainly used to enliven, clarify and 'punctuate' our speech, or to show responsiveness to what the other person is saying. In a flirtatious encounter, the amount of gesticulation, the directions of the gestures and the co-ordination of gestures can indicate the degree of interest and involvement your partner feels towards you.

Different cultures vary widely in the amount of gesticulation that accompanies their speech Italians say that you can silence an Italian by tying his hands behind his backand even within a single culture, some people naturally express themselves more through gestures than others.

Generally, however, someone who is interested in you will be more lively and animated in conversation, using more gestures when speaking in order to keep your attention, and more responsive gestures to show interest when you are speaking. When your partner is speaking, you can show responsiveness by nodding in agreement, throwing up your hands in surprise, bringing them together in a 'silent clap' of appreciation, etc. Researchers have found that nodding can be used to 'regulate' conversations.

If you make single, brief nods while your partner is speaking, these act as simple signs of attentiveness, which will maintain the flow of communication from the speaker. Double nods will change the rate at which the other person speaks, usually speeding up the flow, while triple nods or single, slow nods often interrupt the flow altogether, confusing speakers so much that they stop in their tracks.

So, if you want to express interest and keep your partner chatting with you, stick to brief single nods. You can also watch for gestures which indicate anxiety and nervousness, such as hand-clasping movements and palm-rubbing. As a general rule, anxious gestures are directed towards the anxious person's own body known as 'proximal' movementswhile 'distal' movements, directed away from the body, are a sign of confidence.

As well as watching for these signals in your partner, you can control the impression you are making by using more confident, 'distal' gestures. As with posture, the greatest involvement and harmony is achieved when gestures are synchronised — when the movements of one person are echoed or reflected by the other.

You may have noticed that this tends to happen naturally between people who like each other and get on well together. Watch pairs of lovers in a bar or pub, and you will see that they often tend to lift their drinks and take a sip at the same time, and that many of their other body movements and gestures will be similarly synchronised.

Psychologists call this 'interactional synchrony' or 'gestural dance', and some of their research findings indicate that the timing of matched gestures may be accurate down to fractions of a second.

Although this synchronisation normally happens without conscious effort, you can use it as a highly effective flirting technique.

Men should not assume that it necessarily indicates sexual interest, however. Women can avoid creating this impression by reducing synchronisation, adopting a more 'closed' posture and avoiding the use of gestures which are specifically associated with flirtatious behaviour.

how to flirt nonverbally and verbally

In experiments, female hair-flipping and head-tossing were among the non-contact gestures most often regarded as sexually flirtatious, along with repeated leg-crossing and movements designed to draw attention to the breasts. Facial expression An ability to 'read' and interpret the facial expressions of your partner will improve your chances of successful flirting, as will awareness of what you are signalling with your own expressions.

Some expressions can be effective even from a distance, as in the 'across a crowded room' encounter with a stranger. The 'eyebrow-flash', for example, which involves raising the eyebrows very briefly — for about one-sixth of a second — is used almost universally as a long-distance greeting signal. When you see someone you know, but are not near enough to speak, the eyebrow-flash shows that you have noticed and recognised them.

We all use this non-verbal "Hello! Watch a video of Andrew and Fergie's wedding, for example, and you will see that Fergie performs frequent eyebrow-flashes as she walks down the aisle.

Social etiquette does not allow a bride to call out cheery greetings to her friends and relations during the ceremony, but the highly sociable Fergie is clearly unable to refrain from signalling the same greetings with her eyebrows. If you are desperate to attract the attention of an attractive stranger across a crowded party, you could try an eyebrow-flash. This should make your target think that you must be a friend or acquaintance, even though he or she does not recognise you.

When you approach, your target may thus already be wondering who you are. You can, if you are skilful, use this confusion to initiate a lively discussion about where you might have met before. Such conversations inevitably centre on possible shared interests or friends or habits, and invariably involve mutual disclosure of at least some personal information.

As you will learn from the 'Verbal flirting' sections of this Guide, these are essential ingredients of successful flirting. So, assuming your target finds you attractive, an eyebrow-flash with appropriate follow-up could leapfrog you into instant intimacy. Two warnings are necessary here: If your target is attracted to you, this may be more evident in facial expressions than in words. Studies have found that women are generally better than men at reading these expressions, but that both sexes have equal difficulty in seeing through people's expressions when they are controlling their faces to hide their real feelings.

The problem is that although faces do express genuine feelings, any facial expression that occurs naturally can also be produced artificially for a social purpose. Smiles and frowns, to take the most obvious examples, can be spontaneous expressions of happiness or anger, but they can also be manufactured as deliberate signals, such as frowning to indicate doubt or displeasure, smiling to signal approval or agreement, etc.

Feelings can also be hidden under a 'social' smile, a 'stiff upper lip' or a blank, 'inscrutable' expression. Despite this potential for 'deceit', we rely more on facial expressions than on any other aspect of body language. In conversation, we watch our companions' faces rather than their hands or feet, and rely on their facial signals to tell us what effect we are having, and how to interpret what they say.

Although people are better at controlling their facial expressions than other aspects of body language, there is still some 'leakage', and the following clues will help you to detect insincerity. Let's say your target smiles at you. How do you know whether this smile is spontaneous or manufactured? There are four ways of telling the difference. First, spontaneous smiles produce characteristic wrinkles around the eyes, which will not appear if your target is 'forcing' a smile out of politeness.

Second, 'forced' or 'social' smiles tend to be asymmetrical stronger on the left side of the face in right-handed people and on the right side of the face in left-handed people.

The third clue to insincerity is in the timing of the smile: Finally, there is a clue in the duration of the smile, as a manufactured smile tends to be held for longer what is often called a 'fixed' smile and then to fade in an irregular way. When observing your target's facial expressions, it is important to remember that although an expressive face — showing amusement, surprise, agreement etc.

Women naturally tend to smile more than men, for example, and to show emotions more clearly in their facial expressions. You are also likely to interpret expressions differently depending on who is making them. Experiments have shown that people may read the same expression as 'fear' when they see it on a female face, but as 'anger' when it appears on male face. There are also cultural and even regional differences in the amount of emotion people express with their faces.

Oriental people are more likely than Westerners to hide their emotions under a 'blank' expression or a smile, for example, and American researchers have found that in the US, Notherners smile less than people from the South. If an attractive stranger smiles at you, it could be that he or she finds you attractive, but he or she could also be an outgoing, sociable person from a culture or region in which smiling is commonplace and not particularly meaningful. These factors must also be taken into account when considering the effect of your own facial expressions.

People tend to be put off by levels of expressiveness that are considerably higher or lower than what they are used to, so it could help to try to 'match' the amount of emotion you express with your face to that of your target.

As a general rule, however, your face should be constantly informative during a flirtatious conversation. Unexpressiveness — a blank, unchanging face — will be interpreted as lack of interest when you are listening and an absence of facial emphasis when you are speaking will be disturbing and off-putting. You need to show interest and comprehension when listening, and to promote interest and comprehension when speaking, through facial signals such as eyebrows raised to display surprise, as a question mark or for emphasis; the corners of the mouth turning up in amusement; nodding to indicate agreement; frowning in puzzlement; smiling to show approval, or to indicate that what you are saying should not be taken too seriously, and so on.

Fortunately, most of these facial signals are habitual, and do not have to be consciously manufactured, but some awareness of your facial expressions can help you to monitor their effect and make minor adjustments to put your target more at ease, for example, or hold his or her attention, or increase the level of intimacy.

Finally, remember that your target is unlikely to be scrutinising you for tiny signs of insincerity, so a 'social' smile will be infinitely more attractive than no smile at all. Touch Touching is a powerful, subtle and complex form of communication. In social situations, the language of touch can be used to convey a surprising variety of messages.

Different touches can be used to express agreement, affection, affiliation or attraction; to offer support; to emphasise a point; to call for attention or participation; to guide and direct; to greet; to congratulate; to establish or reinforce power-relations and to negotiate levels of intimacy.

Even the most fleeting touch can have a dramatic influence on our perceptions and relationships. Experiments have shown that even a light, brief touch on the arm during a brief social encounter between strangers has both immediate and lasting positive effects.

Polite requests for help or directions, for example, produced much more positive results when accompanied by a light touch on the arm. When flirting, it is therefore important to remember that the language of touch, if used correctly, can help to advance the relationship, but that inappropriate use of this powerful tool could ruin your chances forever.

Although there are considerable differences between cultures in the levels of touching that are socially acceptable, and different personalities welcome different levels of touching, we can provide a few basic rules-of-thumb for first encounters with strangers of the opposite sex. The first rule, for both sexes, is: Women are much less comfortable about being touched by an opposite-sex stranger than men, so men should take care to avoid any touches which may seem threatening or over-familiar.

Men are inclined to interpret women's friendly gestures as sexual invitations, so women should be equally careful to avoid giving misleading signals with over-familiar touches. This does not mean 'don't touch', as appropriate touching will have positive benefits, but touching should initially be restricted to universally acceptable areas and levels. As a general rule, the arm is the safest place to touch an opposite-sex stranger. Back pats are equally non-sexual, but are often perceived as patronising or overbearing.

A brief, light touch on the arm, to draw attention, express support or emphasise a point, is likely to be acceptable and to enhance your companion's positive feelings towards you. If even this most innocuous of touches produces a negative reaction — such as pulling the arm away, increasing distance, frowning, turning away or other expressions of displeasure or anxiety — you might as well give up now.

Unless your companion is exceptionally shy and reserved, negative reactions to a simple arm-touch probably indicate dislike or distrust. If your companion finds you likeable or attractive, a brief arm-touch should prompt some reciprocal increase in intimacy.

How to Flirt with Women Through Verbal & Nonverbal Means | Our Everyday Life

This may not be as obvious as a return of your arm-touch, but watch for other positive body-language signals, such as increased eye-contact, moving closer to you, more open posture or postural echo, more smiling, etc.

Your arm-touch may even prompt an increase in verbal intimacy, so listen for any disclosure of personal information, or more personal questions. If you see or hear signs of a positive reaction to your arm-touch, you can, after a reasonable interval, try another arm-touch, this time slightly less fleeting.

If this results in a further escalation of verbal or non-verbal intimacy from your companion, you might consider moving to the next stage: Remember that a hand-touch, unless it is the conventional handshake of greeting or parting, is much more personal than an arm-touch.

By touching your companion's hand, you are opening negotiations towards a higher degree of intimacy, so keep it light and brief: A negative reaction to your hand-touch, such as the non-verbal signals of displeasure or anxiety mentioned above, does not necessarily mean that your companion dislikes you, but it is a clear indication that your attempt to advance to the next level of intimacy is either premature or unwelcome.

A very positive reaction, involving a significant increase in verbal or non-verbal intimacy, can be taken as permission to try another hand-touch at an appropriate moment. Highly positive reactions to a second hand-touch — such as a definite and unambiguous attempt to move closer to you, reciprocal arm- and hand-touching, along with significantly more personal questions, more disclosure of personal information and more expression of emotion — can be taken as permission to proceed, with caution, to a higher level of intimacy.

The next stages might involve a hand-squeeze or hand-hold, repeated twice before moving on to an arm over the shoulders, or perhaps a brief knee-touch. Males should note, however, that positive reactions to any of these touches can not be taken as permission to grope. You will have noticed that we advise performing each touch two times before progressing to the next level. This is because repeating the same touch, perhaps with a slightly longer duration, allows you to check that reactions are still positive, that you were not mistaken in your judgement that the touch was acceptable.

The repetition also tells your companion that the first touch was not accidental or unconscious, that you are consciously negotiating for an increase in intimacy.

How to Flirt with Women Through Verbal & Nonverbal Means

Repeating the same touch before moving to the next level is a non-verbal way of saying "Are you sure? Vocal signals You may be surprised to see this heading in the 'Non-verbal flirting' section, but 'verbal' means 'words' and vocal signals such as tone of voice, pitch, volume, speed of speech, etc.

In other words, body-language may be your most important 'flirting tool', but vocal signals come a very close second. An ability to 'read' the vocal signals of the person you are flirting with will also help you to find out how he or she really feels about you. Attraction and interest, for example, are communicated much more by the tone of voice than by what is actually said. Depending on the tone, volume, speed and pitch, even a simple phrase such as "Good evening" can convey anything from "Wow, you're gorgeous" to "I find you totally uninteresting and I'm looking for an excuse to get away from you as quickly as possible".

If your target gives you a deep-toned, low pitched, slow, drawn-out "Good evening", with a slight rising intonation at the end, as though asking a question, this is probably an indication of attraction or at least interest.

If you get a short, high-pitched, clipped "Good evening", or a monotone, expressionless version, your target is probably not interested in you.

Once you are in conversation, remember that the intonation of even a single word can communicate an immense variety of emotions and meanings. As an experiment, try practising variations in your intonation of the one-word response "Yeah", and you will find that you can communicate anything from enthusiastic agreement to grudging acceptance to varying degrees of scepticism to total disbelief.

If you speak in a monotone, with little variation in pitch, pace or tone of voice, you will be perceived as boring and dull, even if what you are saying is truly fascinating or exceptionally amusing. Loud volume, a booming tone and too much variation in pitch will make you seem overbearing.

Speak too quietly or too slowly and you will seem submissive or even depressed. Aim for moderation in volume and tone, with enough variation in pitch and pace to hold your companion's interest. Also remember that a rising or falling intonation, especially when accompanied by a drop in volume, is a 'turn-yielding cue', whereby speakers signal that they have finished what they are saying and are ready to listen to the other person.

When you hear these vocal signals, your companion is probably indicating that it is your turn to speak. When your companion hears these signals, he or she may well assume that you are 'yielding' the floor. If you frequently end sentences on a rising or falling intonation, with a drop in volume, and then carry on without allowing your companion to speak, he or she will become frustrated.

Taking your turn when your companion has not given any vocal 'turn-yielding cues', even if he or she has finished a sentence, will be perceived as interruption, and is equally irritating. Verbal flirting Although your target's initial impressions of you will depend more on your appearance, body language and voice than on what you actually say, successful flirting also requires good conversation skills. The 'art' of verbal flirting is really just a matter of knowing the rules of conversation, the unwritten laws of etiquette governing talking and listening.

The best and most enjoyable conversations may seem entirely spontaneous, but the people involved are still obeying rules. The difference is that they are following the rules automatically, without consciously trying, just as skilled, experienced drivers do not have think about changing gears. But understanding how the rules of conversation work — like learning how and when to change gears — will help you to converse more fluently, and flirt more successfully.

Men make up for this with superior visual-spatial abilities, but these are not much help in verbal flirting. Men can, of course, easily learn to be as skilled in the art of conversation as women — it is only a matter of following a few simple rules — but some do not take the trouble to learn, or may be unaware of their deficiencies in this area.

12 Signs A Girl Is Flirting With You - How To Read Her Body Language Cues To Know If She Is Into You

Those males who do take the trouble to improve their conversation skills perhaps by reading this Guide have a definite advantage in the flirting stakes. Opening lines When the subject of flirting comes up, most people seem to be obsessed with the issue of 'opening lines' or 'chat-up lines'. Men talk about lines that work and lines that have failed; women laugh about men's use of hackneyed or awkward opening lines, and all of us, whether we admit it or not, would like to find the perfect, original, creative way to strike up a conversation with someone we find attractive.

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is that your opening line is really not very important, and all this striving for originality and wit is a wasted effort.

how to flirt nonverbally and verbally

The fact is that conversational 'openers' are rarely original, witty or elegant, and no-one expects them to be so. The best 'openers' are, quite simply, those which can easily be recognised as 'openers' — as attempts to start a conversation. The traditional British comment on the weather "Nice day, isn't it?

3 Ways to Nonverbally Flirt with a Guy - wikiHow

The fact that these comments are phrased as questions, or with a rising 'interrogative' intonation, does not mean that the speaker is unsure about the quality of the weather and requires confirmation: In Britain, it is universally understood that such weather-comments have nothing to do with the weather, and they are universally accepted as conversation-starters.

Saying "Lovely day, isn't it? If you are indoors — say at a party or in a bar — and nowhere near a window, some equally innocuous general comment on your surroundings "Bit crowded, isn't it? The words are really quite unimportant, and there is no point in striving to be witty or amusing: This formula — the impersonal interrogative comment — has evolved as the standard method of initiating conversation with strangers because it is extremely effective.

The non-personal nature of the comment makes it unthreatening and non-intrusive; the interrogative questioning tone or 'isn't it? There is a big difference between an interrogative comment such as "Terrible weather, eh? The direct question demands and requires a reply, the interrogative comment allows the other person to respond minimally, or not respond at all, if he or she does not wish to talk to you.

In some social contexts — such as those involving sports, hobbies, learning, business or other specific activities — the assumption of shared interests makes initiating conversation much easier, as your opening line can refer to some aspect of the activity in question.

In some such contexts, there may even be a ritual procedure to follow for initiating conversation with a stranger.

At the races, for example, anyone can ask anyone "What's your tip for the next? Unless the context you are in provides such a convenient ritual, use the IIC Impersonal Interrogative Comment formula. This formula can be adapted to almost any situation or occasion. Just make a general, impersonal comment on some aspect of the event, activity, circumstances or surroundings, with a rising intonation or 'isn't it? Your target will recognise this as a conversation-starter, and his or her response will tell you immediately whether or not it is welcomed.

There are of course degrees of positive and negative response to an IIC. The elements you need to listen for are length, personalising and questioning.

As a general rule, the longer the response, the better. If your target responds to your comment with a reply of the same length or longer, this is a good sign. A personalised response, i. A personalised response ending in a question or interrogative rising intonation as in "I thought it was supposed to clear up by this afternoon? So, if you say "Nice day, isn't it?

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