to flirt or not to flirt
Posted by inzomaniac on June 24, 2008
Flirting is, at its most basic, a way to meet potential mates and see if they are compatible. In some situations, such as at a dance or a party, flirting is the only way to open the door to a romantic relationship with someone you don’t know and might not otherwise ever see again. Because of all of this, flirting is a very important skill, and it’s one that makes a lot of people nervous. There is an art to flirting, though, and it’s an art that can be learned. Here are some pointers.
- Lower your expectations. Flirting is fun, but only if you don’t take it too seriously. Most of the time, you’ll just flirt with someone for a short time and then maybe never talk to them again. If you always go in to flirting expecting to date or even marry the person you’re flirting with, you’re going to be very disappointed–and you’ll probably seem a little desperate. Remember, you’re just flirting.
Look approachable. Relax and smile. Use your body language to give signals that you are the fun person that you are, and to show that you’re comfortable and confident. There’s nothing to be nervous about.
- Read body language. Does the person look approachable? Do they appear interested in you? From the moment you see someone with whom you might want to flirt, you should read his or her body language. Once you’re actually flirting with the person, body language is often the only way to tell if the person is actually interested in you . We all have a natural ability to read body language, but it’s easy to misread signals, so be careful and take it slow. If you see one signal that indicates the person is interested in you, watch for other signals that might confirm that.
- Make eye contact, but not for more than a moment or two. Do not stare. Just shoot the person a quick gaze, smile with your eyes, and then slowly look away. If you look back and notice the person looking back to meet your eyes, they’re likely interested in flirting a bit.
- Initiate a conversation with the person you’re interested in. If you don’t already know them simply make small talk. Perhaps the best way to strike up a conversation is to start with a simple observation which ends with a question: “Nice day, isn’t it?” or “This place sure is packed, eh?” are just a couple examples. What you say isn’t important. You don’t really need an answer to the question; you are simply inviting the person to talk with you. If the person responds pleasantly, continue the conversation. If the person doesn’t respond or seems preoccupied or disinterested, he or she probably isn’t interested in flirting with you. At the beginning of the conversation, you don’t want to talk about anything personal. Talk about the environment around you, the show you just saw, etc., but don’t talk much about yourself and don’t ask the other person personal questions.
Gradually share information about yourself in a reciprocal manner. If this small talk goes well, proceed to share a little information about yourself–just something small like what you do for a living or how you liked the show you just saw, for example. At some point, of course, you’ll want to introduce yourself and, hopefully, get the other person’s name. The key to sharing information is that you both gradually open up. Take turns talking, and each time the other person gives you some information about himself or herself, give similar information about yourself, and maybe give slightly more personal information than that person gave. For example, if you’re talking to a girl who says she’s taking summer classes, you might disclose that you are also taking summer classes, and then proceed to tell her which class you are most excited about. This invites her to disclose more information about herself. In this manner, the intimacy of the conversation increases over time. You don’t want to share too much about yourself too quickly, and you shouldn’t try to get the other person to do so either.
- Give the person your complete attention. Laugh at their jokes, listen to their stories, and don’t get distracted by what’s going on around you. It’s more important to seem interested than to seem interesting, and you don’t want to hog the conversation. Being a good listener is far more important to successful flirting than being witty.
- Use body language to hint at your romantic intentions. If things are going really well, you might want to try to break the touch barrier. Touch his or her arm briefly and gently as you talk. Or be more assertive and hold the person’s hand when you cross the street, or if walking to a seat or a table, lead them by gently holding their arm. Touching in this manner helps break a “personal space” barrier. Pay attention to red flags, because some people have “personal space” issues and you don’t want to make them uncomfortable. In general, women can get away with touching much earlier in a conversation than men can. Many women feel a little threatened when a man they just met enters their personal space, while most men are more open to being touched. In any case, proceed with caution, and back off if you get negative or mixed signals from the person.
- Close the deal. Most flirting is just harmless fun, and nothing will ever come of it. Every now and then, though, you’ll meet someone who you’d like to see again and who you think would also like to see you again. Flirting is, after all, a type of courting ritual, a way to meet potential boyfriends or girlfriends, maybe even your future spouse. Don’t worry about wedding plans just yet, though; start by getting the person’s phone number. For most people, this is the hard part, because you have to actually make your intentions known, and in doing so you risk rejection. Be brave. Tell the person you’d like to see him or her again, and just ask for their phone number or, if it feels right, try to set up a date for some future time. If the person isn’t interested, don’t sweat it. There’ll always be another guy or girl to flirt with.
- What you say is not particularly important(as long as it’s not completely idiotic), but whatever you say, try to keep your conversation positive. Don’t be negative, arrogant, or pushy; just be friendly.
- When you first start talking with someone, don’t aim to flirt. Just aim to have a conversation. This takes a lot of pressure off both of you.
- Do not pursue anyone if they do not reciprocate. Walk away if the person doesn’t seem interested. Don’t presume they’re playing “hard to get” because they might interpret any pushiness in a negative light.
- Compliments can go a long way. It’s a great idea to compliment the person during your conversation, but don’t try to pass off a compliment that you don’t really mean, and be careful about compliments that might be embarrassing or offensive (compliments about a woman’s figure, for example).
- If you don’t feel comfortable asking for their number, try giving them your number. If they are truly interested in you they will give you a call. You could also pass them your email address that way the conversation could continue without any pressure.
- Don’t flirt with someone who you are sure that you’re not romantically interested in, period. Otherwise, you risk accidentally leading them on, which can lead to an embarrassing moment and uncomfortable interactions afterwards. But still remember that you are not getting married, yet. Flirting is like compliments, in that it should have a kind of sincerity attached to it. Flirt with people who seem different than you or who you do not know much about, and they could surprise you.
- Use flirting that is appropriate for the setting. Meeting at a library or loud dance hall, for example, might not be conducive to talking too much. In this case, smile, act interested, and wait for a spontaneous opportunity to meet at the punch bowl or in the lobby. Do not however, appear to be a stalker or you will scare them away.
- Flirting is not appropriate everywhere. Funerals, for example, are generally not good places to flirt. Flirting in the workplace is also generally a no-no. If you happen to flirt at work, be on your best behavior, and don’t press the issue if the other person isn’t interested.
- Though humor is often a good way to flirt with people, try not to make any jokes that might make your flirting recipient uncomfortable. Though dirty jokes often come to mind when flirting with someone, they often have little or no place in a conversation and can result in the person being turned off or an awkward silence, killing the mood and making you feel embarrassed. Think before you speak, and remember, you don’t have to be funny all the time.