TikTok has found a new flirting technique to pine over, the so-called “Triangle Method". Videos about the technique have wrapped up millions of views so far and many commenters appear to be happy with the results. While you’ll be hard-pushed to find any clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of the method, there are a handful of studies that suggest it might not purely be a trending gimmick.
The “Triangle Method" simply involves imagining the shape of an upside triangle on the face of the desired subject. Make eye contact with the left eye for a maximum of three seconds, then slowly cast your eye downwards in a diagonal direction towards their mouth. Hold the gaze here for a second or two, then go back up to the right eye.
The crux of the technique appears to lay in the power of the gaze. Many bits of research have indicated how looking into the eyes of another can have a significant effect on our working memory, our imagination, and our mental control.
Studies have shown how prolonged eye contact is generally perceived as highly arousing. Of course, you can always have too much of a good thing. Research on almost 500 people visiting the London Science Museum suggested that the optimal time for arousing eye contact is just over three seconds. However, eye contact that lingers for too long can actually have a negative effect (ie, seem a bit creepy).
Lips are another evocative facial feature linked with arousal, for both obvious and less obvious reasons. Obviously, lips are associated with kissing (among other things), but they might also serve as an indicator of being turned on.
A study in 2010 suggested that men (all of whom, in this study, were straight and white) had a preference for women with redder lips and tended to stare longer if rouge lipstick was applied. The researchers suggest this might be because the rosy lips “mimic vasodilation associated with sexual arousal”.
Altogether, it looks like the “Triangle Method” is just basic body language sprinkled with a bit of social media sensationalism and cheesy Tik-Tok tropes.