With small glimmers of hope that we may one day soon interact with anyone outside of our “Covid bubble” (can you even imagine?!) it’s finally time to think about dating again. I, for one, cannot wait to dust off my flirting skills, along with those jeans that I haven’t worn in almost a year!
You might be thinking, “Why should I take flirting advice from you, a single person?” FAIR POINT. I don’t really have a retort to that. In retrospect, this may be terrible advice. You should proceed with caution.
My credentials include what feels like hundreds of first dates, about half as many second dates, and a smattering of “relationships” that eventually dissolved. But because I’ve been
a commitment-phobe single for so long, I have loads of experience flirting! Obviously, I don’t have any wisdom about what actually works, but that’s okay — I compensate with unjustified confidence. Follow my lead and you’ll pick up so many phone numbers, your biceps will be sore. Or not.
Prepare a canned response to the question, “How are you?”
This is an actual response I heard on a TV show when a character was asked, “How are you?” — and I give you full permission to use it as often as you’d like: “Blessed and highly favored.”
Other responses to “How are you?” that will undoubtedly reel them into your intoxicating presence:
- “I’m reading, please don’t interrupt me.”
- “Here with my friends and not interested in meeting anyone else!”
- “Wanna see pictures of my cats?”
If these don’t feel like your style, go with the very vague and predictable, “Good,” and then look away. That should really kickstart the conversation!
Zero eye contact
They say that the eyes are the window to the soul, and because you presumably just met this person, do you really want them to see what’s in the depths of your soul? Right, me neither. So do your best to set your eyes upon a captivating piece of art on the wall or to fixate on the garnish in your mojito. Watch that mint move! Wow!
Strong eye contact gives too much away — it could reveal to someone that you actually find them interesting or attractive, especially if you meet their gaze from across the room and hold that eye contact for just a second longer than feels comfortable. Add a wry smile and you may have the permission you need to go up and talk to them, or give them permission to come talk to you later — don’t give them those kinds of signals! Every good relationship starts with neither person having any clue whether they’re attracted to one another. Don’t just play hard to get, play impossible to get.
Try not to smile
If there’s one thing that flirting should do, it’s confuse the person you’re flirting with so much that they have no idea whether you’re having a nice time or not. Mystery — to the point of conveying utter disinterest — is magical! Smiling, along with eye contact, takes away that mystery.
Laughter takes it one step further and shows that you enjoy life — that you’re someone other people want to hang out with. Laughing and having a good time could express to that handsome guy playing darts that you already have enough friends. It could reveal to the lovely lady in the coffee shop that life is good as-is, and that you don’t need or want to add any more joy to it.
So trade that smile for a snarl to show the world that you need someone else to come in and brighten up your life! After all, every princess who found her prince charming began in desperation and despair.
Be prepared to review your ‘life resume’
If you end up getting a chance to talk a little more with this new person, inevitably you’ll wander into the topic of all the places you’ve lived. I call this your “life resume,” and anyone who had a complicated childhood knows that can feel a little daunting. Because flirting is meant to be lighthearted and fun, here are some options for this stage of the conversation:
- Make something up! If you go out with them later, it will be simple to explain why you lied about where you were born: It’s not like you’re a liar, you just felt like the timing for being honest wasn’t right (because, really, when does honesty work in a relationship?).
- Gloss over your history by saying something like, “I’m a child of the world, dahling!” Try doing this in an accent to show the person how worldly you are.
- Give a cheeky grin and say, “It’s a long story, and I’d love to tell you over coffee sometime wink-wink, nudge-nudge.”
Touching is a… touchy subject. It can be challenging to get an idea of whether this new person whom you find attractive would be interested in breaking that touch barrier with you. The best way to gauge whether a gentle touch on the arm or brush of the knees under the table is welcome is to lean backward. It may seem counterintuitive, but the farther away you lean from someone, the more you’re telling them that you have tremendous respect for their physical boundaries. Lean so far back the people around you will presume you’re doing your own limbo without the stick.
One of the many good things that came from 2020 is that we all learned how to effectively social distance — don’t forget this skill while flirting. Stay six feet apart (at least!) and watch the sparks fly. The good news is that you’ll be so far away from the sparks that you won’t even feel a speck of heat. Stay cold, everyone!
Does anyone actually like to be complimented? Does anyone really know how to respond when someone says something nice about them? Why tell someone they have great hair when you could talk about the weather instead? Would you like to be told you have an infectious laugh, or have someone regale you with the details of their most recent tax-filing experience? If I’m out with someone and we talk exclusively about the weather and taxes, I’m definitely going to want to go out again. And if he also brings up how watching the grass grow is a hobby, stand back because I will propose marriage on the spot!
A genuine compliment is one of the best ways to draw someone into you, especially if it’s a compliment on a particular aspect of that person’s personality or a value they embody that you admire. This could make the person feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I don’t know about you, but “fuzzy” is not an adjective I want to use when discussing my intestines! Please do NOT tell me I’m funny and let’s talk about the humidity again — thanks!
Privately dwell on how much you like someone, but don’t make those feelings public
When I’m around someone I’m attracted to, I clam up and hide in a corner. But all is revealed to “the producers” — that’s the nickname I gave to my journal so that I always have someone around who is dying to know my innermost thoughts and feelings. (Also, maybe I watch too much reality TV.)
Tell “the producers” everything you notice about this person — how cute he or she is, how much you admire their faith, how you love the twinkle in their eye when they talk about their dog. Whatever you do, though, do NOT reveal these feelings to the person you’re attracted to!
Vulnerability and honesty are never to be conveyed at any point in time. Those “feelings” come from the heart, and when dealing with romance (or any form of connection), it’s important to only focus on what thoughts are stirring up in your head. Your heart can’t be trusted when those butterflies in your stomach are so close by! It’s like a jungle on your insides. Stick with the ol’ noggin noodle, friends.
I hope these tried-and-true flirting tips will bring you as much success as I’ve found — your trusty, fun, and still-single friend. You’re welcome.