No matter what you think, to be a great flirt it’s not necessary to be devastatingly attractive, rich, smooth, or good at batting your eyelashes. To master the fine art of flirting, you must decide you want to be a flirt.
And because flirting requires a carefree heart, it is essential that you begin with reasonable expectations. This has multiple benefits: You are more likely to have small triumphs at the beginning, which will encourage you to continue. You have less invested in flirting, thereby making you more discriminating about when and with whom you flirt. And you’ll have fewer initial mistakes, particularly the most common error, that of overdoing.
Think of flirting as exercise. Like exercising, it is always tough to do at the beginning. You may be out of shape after being out of the dating game for a while. Or maybe you were never in prime flirting shape. Read on for 20 tips that will help you become a great flirt and spice up your love life.
1. Use Flattery
Flattery is to flirting what a match is to dynamite. Explosive. So to refine the power of flattery, you must be sincere. Expert, mutually rewarding flattery is harder to pull off than most people think. Here are some guidelines:
- Figure out what strikes you about this person.
- What potentially flattering statements would he or she most like to hear from someone else? What area of his or her person, accomplishments, or activities have not been totally confirmed by society?
- Once you determine this, use it.
Flattery is most effective when there is an element of surprise. When someone doesn’t expect the compliment. Telling a CEO that he is “doing great things for his company” is nice. But saying that you “love his sense of humor and his smile” will make his day. The first compliment he knows himself, the second he may suspect, but the fact that you mentioned this is delightful and surprising
2. Say Hello With Energy
When you say hello, pretend that there is an electrical current pulsating through your body. It is brief–like turning on a light bulb just for a second. Remember that what follows from an introduction or meeting depends on how your new acquaintance perceives your hello.
Practice it. Listen to your voice on a tape recorder. Does it sound like you are happy to see them? Or does the tone project boredom, lack of interest, low energy, anxiety, or fear? Put a little sparkle in your voice, a lilt; but keep the overall pitch low.
3. Shake Hands
Handshakes are too formal for people interested in flirting, you think? Think again. Reaching out, touching a hand, holding it, squeezing it, and letting go are all very sensual, tactile, personal activities. When else, unless you make it to the hand-holding stage, will you hold this person’s hand again? So make your first handshake count.
As in saying hello, a handshake needs special energy. Before you shake hands, mentally dwell on the sensations you expect to feel and receive in your right hand and arm. Focus attention to that spot, put energy into it, but not strength. Try these:
Flirtatious Handshake #1: The Politician
In this handshake you reach out with your right hand. If you are a woman, you should then reach out and slightly brush the fingers of his right hand with your left hand. This must be done quickly, so it’s barely noticed. If you are man, with your left hand touch either her wrist, the top of her right hand, or the fingers on her right hand.
Flirtatious Handshake #2: The Squeeze
At the end of this shake, you finish with a tiny, extra squeeze. This should not be tight but merely a surge of energy. Then let go. Doing this signals that you are warm, confident, and that there is a definite attraction.
4. Make Immediate, Direct Eye Contact
If coordinated with what you are saying, this is the most effective and direct flirting technique. And even when not coordinated, it can be dazzling.
Eye contact establishes intimacy: it can be either intrusive or caring. So the power with which you lock eyes for the first time will determine the starting level of the conversation. If you lock eyes in a tentative fashion, expect a tentative conversation. If you feel a thunderbolt, fantastic! But watch out–overly sexual or inviting eye invitations are the main cause of misinterpretations of motives between two people.
5. Repeat the Person’s Name
Follow the three-times rule regarding names. Repeat the name when you are introduced. “John?!? Great to meet you.” Do it again when talking to your flirting partner or when referring to her in a three-way conversation. And mention it a third time when saying goodbye.
You can increase your chances of flirting success by doing your new companion a favor. Remind him or her of your name. Include it in an anecdote you are telling. Remember, if someone doesn’t know your name, they have nothing to attach to the phone number you may have given them.
6. Ask “No One Ever Asked Me That Before” Questions
People are always interested in themselves. In fact, one definition of love is “What another person feels toward you when you reflect for them a view of what they’d like to think they are.”
The same holds true in flirting, only on a more fundamental level. Each person loves to have someone as interested in them as they are in themselves. One way to satisfy that common desire is to ask questions. Not overly personal questions, but questions that are uncommon.
7. Do a Double Take
Have you noticed that people can tell when you are staring at them even in a car? How they turn and stare back? A double take has the effect of staring, but is 100 percent better. In effect, you are saying that something (another person, object, or activity) caught your attention. Since humans are by nature curious, this person will want to know what you see. He or she will meet your gaze, and–Eureka!–from across a crowded room something will have begun.
8. Ask for Your New Friend’s Life Story
Everyone loves to talk about themselves–and after they’ve revealed some of their inner thoughts and ambitions, they feel so close to you. A magical bond has been established. But the trick here is to go first. If you ask a person out of the blue to tell you about themselves, it amounts to a demand to perform and puts them on the defensive. But if you go first, they’ll feel much more open and will reveal more.
Carefully choose the place for all this. If there are people around who can hear, then don’t exchange life stories.
9. Have Something to Say by Keeping Up to Date
One of the plusses of being with another person is that you are stimulated intellectually. Another person makes you think of things, do things, try things, and vicariously experience things you normally wouldn’t. So, make sure you are a good partner when you flirt.
The easiest, fastest, and best way to keep up to date is to familiarize yourself with the news of the day; best-selling books, records, videos; top-grossing movies; etc. One really great way to do this, of course, is to read about what interests you online.
10. Play with a Piece of Clothing
For women: Dangle a shoe in a rhythmic way, play with an earring. Applying a tiny bit of lip gloss from a pot can be very flirtatious, but avoid powdering your nose, it makes you look old. The secret here is not in what you are doing, but in the rhythmic movements you are making. Rhythm is both sexual and comforting.
For men: Adjust your tie, your cuffs, your hair. Twirl your drink. Pacing is very masculine, and if done in a steady tempo can be somewhat appealing. It also allows a woman to ask why you are doing it.
11. To Get Subtle Attention–Whisper
Should you want to get the attention of someone across the room, try whispering into someone else’s ear close to you. It will make others wonder, “Why is she excluding me?” or think, “What is that man saying about me to his friend?” Whispers invoke fear and intrigue, and make people want to be included.
You do need a partner for this technique, preferably one of the same sex, if you have your eye on another person. Now face in his or her direction but whisper in the ear of a friend. Now smile at the recipient of your flirtation–you’ll certainly get his or her attention. If they’re close, they may even approach you.
Once you have started a conversation with your intended, you can still use this potent force. When talking to them, whisper. Now, try whispering (it doesn’t matter what) in their ear. This has very potent sexual overtones. Don’t do it unless you are sure you like them, as it is easy to lead someone on by doing this.
12. Help Someone Get Out of an Old Routine, and Into a New One
We are all creatures of habit. Some of them are good, some bad, but most of them are just routines that make life simpler. And boring. If you can help someone out of an old routine and into a new one, you automatically become an integral part of the new ritual in that person’s mind.
One of the pleasures of flirting or responding to flirting is in the new adventure that awaits you. Whether for a moment, or an evening, or a lifetime. (What, you’ve never been on a roller coaster?) And as a flirt who becomes ingrained in someone’s daily routine, you have something else going for you: your flirting power carries over to the activity itself.
13. Leave Them Wanting More
When you flirt, you are giving someone your undivided attention. There is nothing more flattering. However, people want what it appears they cannot have. An expert flirt will emote until the woman he is trying to attract responds. Then he will back off. When things are going well, a good flirt won’t wait around until the conversation hits a bump. He will leave.
So, follow the successful flirts. Leave the second you know you’re hitting it off fabulously with someone and you’re sure you’ll see or hear from her again. Or you’re sure you can make this chance encounter recur.
14. Create and Use Nicknames
When you observe happy couples, you’ll notice that they call each other by special pet names–reserved for them alone. The use and creation of nicknames can precede or follow new relationships, but it is a very important stepping-stone to intimacy.
So as soon as you can find a clever nickname to call someone, do. It can be a short phrase, but one or two short words is best. And make sure the other person creates one for you. Normally this will happen as a basic outgrowth of fumbling around to get to know each other. An effective nickname must not be too common or too flattering, and it should never be mean.
15. Drop Names
When you are flirting, names give you cachet and credibility, and add to your social profile. Plus, people like to feel connected to you in some way. If the gorgeous brunette just happens to work with your friend Jennifer, tell her so. This is the connective tissue of social interchange.
For male flirts, dropping names of local heroes, dignitaries, or well-known people in the community can be quite helpful. It gives a woman her proof of your stability, which enhances your attractiveness.
16. Wear, Bring, or Carry Something Unusual
In decorating, this would be called the conversation piece. It can be a piece of clothing, jewelry that is more outrageous than pretty, a book you carry, or any personal quirk. Once you have this invaluable item, if people don’t ask you questions about it, you can use the object to begin conversations. The fact that you are discussing not you or them, but your object, makes the flirting so much more discreet, and effective.
17. Use the Old 1-2-3 Routine
Picture a moth flirting with a flame; there’s a dance in and out. Duplicate this for the 1-2-3 flirting technique. Your boldest move is the first one. It is the time you are as assertive as you are ever going to be.
The “1? is your approach. It is dazzling, outrageous, flirtatious, bold, appealing, overly forward, and spontaneous.
The “2? is a complete back-off. After two or three minutes of displaying your delightful personality, back off. Distance yourself from your flirting companion. This gives your partner a chance to assess you. Not to scrutinize, but to take in your presence. If there is too much of a rush about you, it not only seems too forward, but also threatening and undesirable.
The “3? is a renewal of flirting. But not to the degree of the initial flirtation. The best guideline is about 80 percent of your original intensity. Continue between 60 and 80 percent for the rest of the time you are with someone. By this time, your flirting partner will be contributing to some of the flirting, and if they’re not, it’s time to move on.
18. Try Intermittent Reinforcement
Studies have shown that the most effective way to get someone to do something consistently is not to give them constant praise or constant criticism, but to intermittently give rewards.
This is equally effective when flirting. For example, consider the man who flirts with a woman for a while then pays no attention to her at all. Did she do something wrong?
Or the woman who tells a man, “Call me sometime,” but never answers her phone and never returns any messages, until she’s good and ready.
This is intermittent reinforcement working overtime. And this is a fabulous–albeit a bit calculating–technique for making someone start worrying about your opinion.
A word of warning: Don’t do this more than once. The intermittent reinforcement tactic should only be used when you are close to desperate. It is not necessarily nice, but it does work.
19. Limit the Amount of Time You Flirt
If you are afraid of flirting, but would really like to give it a try, help yourself out by limiting the amount of time you flirt in any one day. Give yourself a limit to the amount of time you’ll devote to the opposite sex. Say, “I’ll flirt for only 30 minutes on weekdays.” Or flirt only on Thursday nights. At a party where you are trying out your flirting wings, make up your mind to flirt during the first 20 minutes of the party, and then relax.
20. Set a Numerical Goal
Tell yourself you’re going to flirt until three men comment on how well your gorgeous blue dress matches your eyes. Or until three women agree to have coffee with you. Or five customers smile at you.
One benefit of having a number in mind is that it disassociates you from a person (which is good for beginning flirts, although this eventually could harm intimacy), so you are not as threatened by the flirting encounter. For example: If you think of Judy as the most desirable woman in your neighborhood, you put yourself under needless pressure. Lift this burden by thinking of Judy as the fourth woman who commented on how cute your dog is.
Last But Not Least
Now that you’ve read our 20 tips for being a great flirt, check out The Five Don’ts of Flirting.
The Five Don’ts of Flirting
1. Don’t depend on others to make things happen.
If you could depend on them to get things started, you wouldn’t need to flirt.
2. Don’t tease.
Offering others more than you intend to give always backfires.
3. Don’t cling.
Don’t monopolize one person all night long. Wait for them to indicate their desire to continue being with you.
4. Don’t dwell on flirting.
Do it and forget it. Keep your playful tone at all times.
5. Don’t fidget.
It’s annoying. You are fidgeting when you let your nervous tension out in unintentional ways. You are not fidgeting if you are tapping your fingers to Stevie Wonder. You are fidgeting if you tap them throughout a supposedly flirtatious conversation.