“Flirting is truly about bringing positivity to yourself and others, and it can be used in nearly any situation,” says life coach Rachel DeAlto, the author of Flirt Fearlessly. “You may not realize it, and you may not have ever thought about it, but people flirt in business, in platonic relationships and in almost every situation in which people are thrown together.” So whether you’re looking to score a date or simply would like be more charming, heed this expert advice.
Don’t Focus on the End Result
Confidence is key to flirting and nothing kills your confidence like becoming too fixated on the end result of this new interaction. You can easily freak yourself out by constantly wondering if by approaching this person, you’ll end up in bed or in a relationship. Just enjoy the conversation for its own sake. It takes the pressure off of both of you.
Smirk, Don’t Smile
In 2011 a sexual attraction study (PDF) published by psychologists at the University of British Columbia showed that men were perceived as less sexually attractive when they smile. A big, wide smile can come off at times as disingenuous or even needy. Something that Okcupid discovered as well. The dating app found that men with profile pictures that featured a big smile aimed right at the camera were rated as significantly less attractive than those with a sly smile pointed a little bit to the side.
Start With Light Banter
Remember that flirting is a dance, and you need to set a good pace. Banter is key to breaking the ice with a playful exchange of observations that are akin to teasing. Some guys take it too far—we’re not on the playground here. But others are too afraid to even attempt it out of fear of offending the other person. The key is to keep it light and on an even playing field. You don’t want the other person feeling like they have to lose for you to win.
Add a Genuine Compliment
If you were to kick off a conversation with a compliment, even if you were to mean it, you’ll likely come off as cliché or worse, duplicitous. Maybe they do have beautiful eyes, but if they do, they’ve likely heard that before. You’re looking to make an impression so you want to surprise them with a more subtle compliment—on their choice of drink, the unique watch they’re wearing or their knowledge on an obscure subject.
Finish With Some Subtle Seduction
When things are going well, many guys get nervous about pressing their luck, but it’s important to add a little seduction to the conversation at this point. Nothing smarmy or aggressive. It’s about creating slight sexual tension. You want to change gears, slow the pace of your voice and soften your tone as you speak. Bring back that smirk and hold eye contact. The softening of your voice will bring you closer and you should try touching them on the arm or leg. This is something of a test—if the response is warm or reciprocated, you’re golden. If you get the signal that they’re pulling away, then you know it might be too soon and you should to go back to what you were doing before.
Don’t Wait. Follow Though.
“I hear it over and over from women that they will be talking to a guy and he doesn’t ask them out. He doesn’t try to get a number. Doesn’t do anything,” DeAlto says. “So she’s left confused as to what just happened, and he’s left with nothing to show for that great conversation.” If things are going well with your conversation, be bold—ask when you can see them next, if they’re up for grabbing a coffee soon or simply get their number and text a playful “Remember me?” within the next 24 hours.