Single adults often seek successful flirtatious encounters; yet these encounters can sometimes be considered failures. However, little research has identified flirtation rejection strategies enacted by those not interested in reciprocal flirting. The purpose of this study was to examine behavioral and verbal flirtation rejection strategies among college students. Stemming from a grounded theory methodology and a focus group method, 21 college students shared their experiences in focus group discussions. Thematic analysis yielded five behavioral rejection strategies (i.e., departure, friendship networks, cell-phone usage, ignoring, facial expressions) and four verbal rejection strategies (i.e., significant others, brief responses, politeness, insults) and sex differences in their usage. Results suggest that both men and women possess a predictable arsenal of available rejection strategies.


Flirting, Courtship, Rejection, Focus Groups, and Grounded Theory

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.




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