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 Nonverbal Behavior figured out how the way we communicate indicates the way we flirt.

"Researchers have long known that many verbal and nonverbal behaviors are linked to underlying attraction, but this is the first study to show that different ways of communicating attraction reveal a person's flirting style," Jeffrey Hall, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and author The Five Flirting Styles, said in a press release. These styles include the physical, traditional, sincere, polite, and playful. And to arrive at their conclusion, Hall and his team videotaped strangers interacting for 10-12 minutes.

The short conversation participants had was prompted by questions designed to help them learn about one another. Afterward, they reported how attracted they were to their partner before Hall and his team played back their interactions. When watching the tape back, researchers identified 36 verbal flirting behaviors, including making compliments and revealing information. Non-verbal flirting behaviors were identified too, including leaning forward and playing with objects.

"We found that as people became more attracted to their conversation partner, they showed that attraction in ways that revealed their flirting style," Hall said. Additionally, researchers found people with a sincere flirting style (self-disclosure and focused attention) were attentive and less fidgety with one another. Sincere females in particular laughed and smiled more, as well as gave their partner a coy gaze to indicate their interest.

On the other hand, males with a traditional flirting style (men should make the first move, women should be passive) were more likely to lean into their partner and “adopt an open body posture.” Females with the same style acted more demure, showing their wrists and hands while gently teasing their partner. Polite flirters were a little harder to understand.

"A polite flirt tends to be very hands-off and respectful, but as you can imagine, this type of flirting isn't obvious to the people they're attracted to," Hall said. "They lean back, create even more space and are more even in verbal tone. For most people, it signals a lack of closeness, but polite flirts do it more the more attracted they become."

This isn’t to say a physical style of flirting (expressing sexual interest) is exactly easier to understand. These participants actually offered fewer compliments when they were attracted to their partner. Yet, while styles varied, Hall found most participants flirt in a subtle way.

"We're really bad at detecting if people are flirting with us," Hall said. "We're great at knowing when they're not interested. But the reason we're bad at seeing when they are interested is people show it in such a variety of ways."

The idea, of course, is if you better understand hallmark signs of a particular flirting style, even if it's different from your own, you'll be better able to discern if you'll be going on that second date. For more on the do's and dont's of flirting (mostly the dont's), click here.

Source: Hall J.A. and Xing C. The Verbal and Nonverbal Correlates of the Five Flirting Styles. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 2015.