Flirting – A Lost Art?
I remember when I was in high school and would hear someone say, “Oh, she’s such a flirt.” Hopefully they were saying it about someone else and not me! It was usually meant as a negative comment. Borderline trashy, certainly inferring promiscuous potential. They could have said, “Oh, she’s such a hussy” and it would have meant the same thing.
How sad. Flirting is wonderfully adventurous, seductive, and creates intrigue and excitement in getting to know someone and in keeping the love fires burning. Done correctly and with intent, it adds mystery and romance to any interaction. Done incorrectly or inappropriately, it makes you wish you could press “rewind.”
A Forgotten Art?
Perhaps flirting has become a lost art due to technology and our increasing dependance on email, instant messaging, texting, and other forms of electronic communication. Perhaps we’ve become less creative in the human communication arena. Perhaps we avoid it because we never learned how, or we feel it carries the “hussy” stigma. (Good girls don’t flirt!) And sadly, for those who do know how to flirt, flirting often stops when the relationship becomes steady and routine.
So, what is flirting? Webster’s describes flirting as, “To behave amorously without serious intent,” or “To show superficial or casual interest or liking.” I beg to differ. Flirting should be intentional. It should send a signal, more subtle than overt, that you have an interest in someone, that you notice them, you like them. Done correctly, it is a series of mutual exchanges in which both parties are having fun and anticipating what’s next.
Flirting for Dummies
Don’t know how to flirt? Watch a 5-year old. They are masters at flirting. But don’t worry, you, too, can be an effective flirt. Flirting can be learned, and it needs to be practiced to be effective. It is one of the elusive forms of communication and can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Thus, it must be planful and targeted. Otherwise, it comes across as insincere or superficial.
Most agree that communication is 55% body language, 38% tonality or speaking style, and 7% spoken word. That means 93% of all communication occurs through techniques other than our choice of words. It is not what you say, but how you say it!
• Eye Contact – The first step in flirting is to establish good eye contact. You can hold the gaze just a few seconds longer, blink once slowly, and allow your eyes to say, “You have my attention.” Combine with a smile for best results!
• Smile! – This shows warmth, friendliness and approachability. Allow your whole body to smile, not just your face. Practice in front of a mirror.
• Listen Actively – When speaking with someone, give them your full attention. Do NOT answer your cell phone or look at other people around you. Maintain eye contact, ask questions, and show interest.
• Personal Space – If you’re talking with someone and want to show extra interest, move a little closer. Lean toward them. You will know you’re too close if they back up. If this occurs, do not keep moving forward!
• Touching – A sure sign of interest is to touch – subtly of course. A slight touch to the arm or hand shows active engagement and interest! If you receive this from someone it is a 100% sign you have their attention.
• The Wink – Winking is an amazing art form all of its own. There is the full wink, in which you completely close and even squint one eye. A much more effective wink is the ever-so-slight wink. Barely perceptible. Combined with a smile, it gets killer results! If you don’t know how, learn!
• Surprise! – The little unexpected things you do to let someone know you’re thinking about them are a great way to keep romance alive! A note in his briefcase, a “just because” card, a chocolate anything … think of ways to surprise him with the little things.
• Humor – Keep it light, have fun. Without being too aggressive, humorous teasing is a great way to flirt. A little silliness and humor go a long way!
• Keep flirting out of the workplace – While you may think flattery will get you everywhere, do not mix business with flirtatious behavior. It is inappropriate and can be misinterpreted, regardless of how harmless your intentions. And worst case, it can be viewed as harassment.
• Do not to be too obvious or pushy – Flirting is typically used to help create a positive outcome … you want to send an, “I like you” signal to someone.
• No means No – If it is not well received – stop!
Keep it light, enjoy yourself, and allow others to enjoy you. The more you practice the more natural it will become. If you make it a fun game it will add mystery, excitement, romance and anticipation to your relationships!
Be gracious, kind, subtle, sweet, nice, approachable, and have fun! You will find the long lost art of flirting a most effective way to create and keep romance in your life!