I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore in college at an older senior's house party and I was madly in love with him. He was the guy that people on campus just knew and he was smart and gorgeous and talented and interesting and... okay, you get the picture.
I thought attending his party would be my big break into a long-term relationship with him.
We started talking (or rather, I nervously blabbered away) and as time progressed, I could feel my opportunity waning.
This guy wasn't into me, he was just being polite by patiently waiting for me to finish my rambling. Walk away, Laura. Save yourself before you dig even further into your grave. So I did.
Actually, I ended up leaving the party prematurely because I was horrified at my incessant drunk chatter.
Later the next day, my friend, who stayed until the party's end, informed me that this guy had been looking for me for the rest of the night.
He kept asking where you were and why you left. He was totally into you!
Greaaaaat. I blew the chance that I didn't even know I had.
This happens quite often. Not just to me, but to many of us. Why? Because according to researchers from the University of Kansas, humans are really, really bad at detecting when someone is flirting with us.
So maybe he isn't just being polite, he's genuinely interested in what you have to say...
After observing 52 strangers flirt with each other for 10 minutes, the study found that the men and women could only tell if someone was admiring them 36 and 18 percent of the time, respectively. AKA more often than not, you've probably missed out on a chance to close at the bar.
Interestingly, though, we are much better at determining if someone isn't flirting with us. AKA, we pretty much know when we're being friend-zoned.
About 80 percent of the time we can accurately identify the other person's lack of romantic interest.
Trust me, I know when I'm being shot down. It's not hard to recognize and it usually involves me buying my own drink.
For the second part of the study, 250 separate men and women had to watch the tapes of the couples and assess whether or not they were flirting. The results were surprisingly not much better.
Men had a 38 percent success rate at picking up on flirtation cues, while women could determine flirting 22 percent of the time.
So what does this tell us? Stick to Tinder. There's zero guesswork.