Time for a crash course in flirting! A lot of us think nothing of bantering with the opposite sex. But every time you flirt – whether it’s with the Starbucks barista or your partner – you subconsciously want something. Experts define flirting as “ambiguous behavior with romantic overtones that is goal-oriented.” In other words, we flirt with a purpose. That’s according to Dr. Dave Henningsen, a communication professor at Northern Illinois University. So, here are the 5 reasons why we flirt:

  • It makes you feel better about yourself in seconds! For example, exchanging flirty smiles with a stranger on the subway can give you a quick self-esteem boost.

  • It’s fun - period! Our expert says that “fun flirting” is usually zero percent sexual – it’s playful banter that often happens at work. When you exchange teasing emails or witty chit-chat with a certain coworker to make the workday more enjoyable.

  • Some of us do it to get what we want! Like admiring the flight attendant’s watch - hoping they’ll trade your middle seat for an aisle seat.

  • We’re looking for a mate! Our expert says that cute banter lets you quickly evaluate whether someone’s compatible and potential partner status.

  • And do you flirt with your spouse? You’re boosting your bond! In fact, a University of Kentucky study found that couples who regularly flirt with each other experience less conflict and are happier in their marriage than couples that don’t flirt.