For example, for many western cultures one very common flirting strategy includes eye contact.However, eye contact can have a very different meaning in some Asian countries, where women might get in trouble if they return a glance to men who stare at them.
Charles Francis Badini created the Original Fanology or Ladies' Conversation Fan which was published by William Cock in London in 1797.The use of the fan was not limited to women, as men also carried fans and learned how to convey messages with them.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.
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".
In the 21st century flirting is increasingly taking place in instant messaging and other social media.
Flirting varies a great deal from culture to culture.
For example, kissing might be an early step in the American pattern but a relatively intimate act in the English pattern.