Pity the guy with the cheesy opening line and the leering grin, the one who talks to a woman's breasts instead of her face. Coming on too strong can send a woman running off in disgust or amusement. Master the art of subtle flirting, though, and you can be a winner in the dating and mating game.
Flirting is partially hard-wired, determined by biology; partially cultural, something that is learned; and partially a consciously chosen act. Flirting sends a signal that you are sexually interested in someone. At the same time, flirting lets you test the other person to see if the interest is mutual. When two people flirt, they begin to get to know each other, revealing things about themselves while finding out more about each other. Subtle flirting keeps the getting-to-know-you process moving at a comfortable pace, not too fast.
Show You Mean No Harm
Many instinctive flirtatious movements and postures convey the message that you are not going to harm the other person. This is a subtle, non-verbal type of communication that is attractive on a deep, instinctive level. A body posture that is open and unguarded sends the message that you are neither going to attack nor flee. Placing your hands palms up on your knees, thighs or on a table sends the same message.
Show You Are Dominant
Lean back in a chair and put your hands behind your head. This posture puffs up your chest. Thrusting out the chest works for pigeons and baboons -- and it works for human males, too. When you mix non-verbal cues of dominance with non-verbal cues that show you mean no harm, you have a potent combination that sends the message that you are strong but safe. Large, look-at-me gestures convey dominance as well. The trick for keeping it subtle is not to overdo the gestures.
Look, but Don't Stare
You can attract someone's attention across a room by catching her eye and holding the gaze for about a second. That's longer than a normal glance, so she will notice it, but it's not so long that it will make her uncomfortable. When you are up close and talking, glance briefly at her face, and then look away. Don't stare. You should be looking at her face, in brief glances, about half the time while you are talking, and about three-quarters of the time while you are listening.
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