Flirting for fun can take place between friends, co-workers, or total strangers that wish to get to know each other.This type of flirting does not intend to lead to sexual intercourse or a romantic relationship, but increases the bonds between two people.Flirting with intent plays a role in the mate-selection process.
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".
Japanese courtesans had another form of flirting, emphasizing non-verbal relationships by hiding the lips and showing the eyes, as depicted in much Shunga art, the most popular print media at the time, until the late 19th century.
The fan was extensively used as a means of communication and therefore a way of flirting from the 16th century onwards in some European societies, especially England and Spain.
Body language can include flicking the hair, eye contact, brief touching, open stances, proximity, etc.
Verbal communication of interest can include alterations in vocal tone, such as pace, volume, and intonation.
Anyway, the association of flowers, spring, youngth, and women is not modern and were yet considered in anciant culture, such as the Chloris in anciant Greece, or Flora (deity) in anciant Roman empire, including Floralia festival, and in older poems: “Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.” — NIV “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come away, for behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone.
In Spain, where the use of fans (called "abanicos") is still very popular in modern times, ladies used them to communicate with suitors or prospective suitors without their family or chaperon finding out.