Tips on Flirting

by Robert Vaux

Flirting is a great way to get to know people better. It can lead to a deeper and more lasting romance. Even if it doesn't, it can be great fun. It can enliven parties and help those around you to open up. People have different styles of flirting which match their personality, and shy people may find it harder to flirt than more open or gregarious people. There are a few concrete tips on the subject which will help anyone, however, and let you interact in a social situation much more readily.

Radiate confidence. It's impossible to flirt successfully if you're nervous or uncomfortable. You're trying to get the other person to relax, which means being open and friendly. Smile a lot and maintain an upbeat tone to your voice. Good self-esteem can help a great deal here: with a strong belief in yourself, you can more easily show confidence in speaking to other people.

Use open-ended conversation topics. When flirting, try to ask questions that lead to more questions that will facilitate deeper conversations with the person you're talking to and get him to open up. Family, jobs, schools and pieces of pop culture such as books or movies are excellent open-ended topics that can lead in any number of directions. Conversely, try to stay away from blank statements or questions that can be answered by a simple "yes" or "no."

Compliment the other person, but do so sparingly. Saying nice things about another person is a good way to get him or her to relax, but they need to be genuine. Indiscriminate praise will feel phony, and most people will notice when you're feeding them a line. Instead, choose your flattery carefully and select aspects of the other person that genuinely impress you.

Stay aware of the ebb and flow of the conversation. Once you get chatting, there will be a natural sense of give and take, as the other person asks about you and lets you speak before the conversation moves back to him or her. When you talk about yourself, be positive and upbeat, and always fill your answers with plenty of detail. At the same time, take care not to go on about yourself too much, and use appropriate points in the conversation to turn the subject back to the other person. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to flirt with just about anyone.

Pay careful attention to body language while you are speaking. This goes both for the person you are speaking with and yourself. There are countless different movements and emotions that convey meaning while we are speaking to each other. Learn to pick them up when you talk. Always make eye contact and don't be afraid to touch his or her arm lightly when flirting. Watch how close the other person stands to you: the closer he or she is, the more he or she is inserted in you. The other person may also begin mirroring your actions, or maintaining eye contact for longer and longer periods of time. Both are extremely positive signs. On the other hand, you should also watch for signs of nervousness, such as an inability to look you in the eye or a constant fidgeting of the hands. It might mean that they aren't interested in you, in which case you should wrap things up cordially and move on. But it might also mean that they are simply shy, in which case further efforts may be rewarded.

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Tip

  • Be genuinely interested in whoever you're flirting with. Flirting casually or with someone you're not attracted to can send the wrong impression and may lead to complications. While flirting involves a bit of a show, it should come from an honest place and reflect real emotions.