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The other day one of my love-coaching clients was telling me how much she struggled with the whole dating game.
She thinks she’s a terrible flirt.
To show my support, I decided to make my latest piece for E-Harmony all about this topic and give her some simple, practical tips on how to be a better flirt - fast.
The truth is, I believe anyone can be a good flirt, it’s just that some of us might need to put in a little extra footwork, that’s all.
According to the Oxford dictionary, the primary definition of ‘flirt’ is to “behave as though sexually attracted to someone, but playfully rather than with serious intentions”.
Over the years, countless articles, books and blog posts have been written about the art of flirting.
Well, quite simply because being a good flirt tends to be the first step towards attracting the partner and relationship you really want.
But, do the old clichés such as maintaining eye contact, giggling like a schoolgirl and playing with your hair actually work?
In my humble opinion, clichés tend to be clichés because they hold a fair degree of validity (except, perhaps in the case of cheesy pick up lines…)
However, there are other lesser-known tricks of the trade that I’ve found to be far more effective in helping you become a successful flirt and bag the object of your affections.
The below suggestions have been tried and tested by myself and numerous friends of mine – I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone and give them a go yourself:
1) The Forearm Touch
This little gem was passed on to me by a guy friend from university who used it as his go-to trick to get women to fall for him.
Having put it into practice myself, I can attest that it works just as well the other way around, too.
When on a date or chatting to someone you like at a bar, briefly rest your hand on their forearm at an appropriate time in the conversation to indicate that you feel safe and connected with them.
The gesture generates a sense of intimacy and sensuality – without being too overtly sensual.
Seriously, try it out on a friend, you’ll be surprised by how well it works!
2) Ask Questions
We live in a world that’s increasingly focused on the individual – which is probably why Time magazine in the US aptly dubbed millennials the ‘me me me generation’.
A few years ago, the National Institute of Health reported that the incidence of narcissistic personality disorder is nearly three times as high for people in their 20s as for the generation that's now 65 or older.
It doesn’t come as all that much of a shock – just look around in your average coffee shop and you’ll see a dozen or so young people uploading pouty selfies or snaps of their matcha lattes to Instagram.
As technology has encouraged us to become the stars and celebrities of our own lives, we seem to have grown less generous in our interactions with others.
I, for one, have been guilty of talking about myself far too much in conversations – and I’ve certainly been on dates where the person opposite me exhibited the same unpleasant trait.
In order to flirt successfully, a sense of flow needs to be established within the dynamic to keep each party engaged in the conversation.
In other words, make it your priority to ask your date interesting questions (beyond where they live/ how many siblings they have/ what their favourite food is).
The more interesting the question, the more compelling and memorable the experience of the date will be.
3) Actually Listen To The Answers
This follows on logically from the last point – and yet it’s something many of us (myself included) still struggle with.
There is probably nothing more irritating than when the person you’re talking to isn’t really listening to what you have to say, but simply looking for a cue to start talking about themselves again.
When you ask your date a question, actually listen to their answer – perhaps even ask another question to get them to expand more.
This demonstrates that you’re an interested and generous person to converse with, and these days that’s a pretty radical statement.
4) Share Something Vulnerable
If you want to establish an intimate, memorable connection with your date, then you have to be brave and move beyond surface and superficial dialogue.
The best way to do this is to take the lead and share something (appropriately) vulnerable with them, which serves as an invitation for them to do the same with you.
Don’t force this or it will come off as too much or too contrived – just listen out for cues in the conversation that provide an organic and natural bridge for you to open up a bit more.
Honesty and vulnerability is incredibly sexy because it shows you to be an empowered person who is not afraid to share the truth of who you really are, rather than simply presenting an idealized, ‘perfect’ version of yourself.
5) Don’t Endgame
This one is absolutely key in helping you flirt successfully.
Too many of us make the mistake of projecting what we want to happen as a result of our flirting efforts, rather than just staying open and present to the experience itself.
For example, we flirt in order to get the other person in to bed, or to be our boyfriend, or we imagine ourselves walking down the aisle with them and popping out some sprogletts.
The problem is it’s just so damn obvious when our mind runs away with us like this – not to mention unattractive.
And it makes our date feel backed in to a corner, rather than complicit in the interaction.
Whenever you start future-tripping in this way, gently bring yourself back to the present by taking a few deep breaths and focusing all your attention on what the other person is saying.
Ironically, being 100% available to the moment is far more likely to help you achieve your intentions than obsessing over what your future children might look like will.
6) Leave Them Wanting More
Finally, the best way to maintain (and increase) your date’s interest in you is to cut off contact before conversation gets stale – in other words, leave them wanting more by being the first one to bow out of the exchange.
If you’re at a social event, use going to the bathroom as an excuse – and afterwards, make a point of going and speaking to other friends (while casting the occasional glance or smile in the direction of your paramour).
Same goes for if you’re chatting online or over text: always endeavour to be the one to exit the conversation first - at least in the early days.
If they ask you out on a date, you don’t need to lie and pretend you’re not free, but at the same time don’t do what I used to do and cancel other commitments to make space for this person.
Show yourself to be the interesting, busy and vibrant person that you are and they’ll be far more likely to initiate contact next, trust me.
After all, we always desire the people, places and things that are that little bit more unattainable.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Ever struggled with the whole flirting thing?
Brave enough to share some serious #flirtfailures – or better yet, any other tips that actually work?!
I’m all ears ;)