relationships 101 how to flirt

If you’re new to dating, then one of the hardest things to do is flirt. Flirting can be a confusing action that feels awkward and bound to lead to rejection or coming off as a creep. Which it can be if you do it wrong. That’s why I’ve got some advice on how to flirt for novices who are too scared to try.

Take chances

No one is going to magically catch feelings if you stare them down. No matter how long you do it. Understand that nothing will change unless you take a chance and put yourself out there. If you want to know how to flirt, you’ll have to get bold and learn to put yourself out there, which can be scary.

Flirting becomes a little less scary when you realize it doesn’t matter that much. Doing it just a little doesn’t have to mean anything. In fact, it can even help you get more comfortable talking to people and boost your confidence. 

It’s also important to understand that just flirting with someone doesn’t mean you’re asking them out. You’re not putting a ring on it or making any commitments; you’re just having a bit of light fun and letting someone know you find them attractive.

That doesn’t mean you should go out and flirt with every person you see on the street. It just means that you don’t have to take flirting too seriously. You don’t have to ask out every person you flirt with, and you aren’t leading anyone on by doing it once either. Just make sure you don’t make it a habit with anyone you’re not interested in dating. 

Flirting is a good way to test the waters with people you are interested in dating. You get to see if they might be into you before you straight up ask them out.

The Biggest Do’s and Don’ts 

There are a lot of things you should do, and even more you should avoid when you’re trying to figure out how to flirt. When it comes to flirting, you want everyone to be comfortable with what’s happening.

Things like compliments and expressing romantic interest aren’t necessarily going to make someone uncomfortable, so they’re typically okay to do. Things like catcalling or physically cornering them would bother anyone, though, and are definitely crossing the line.

Do:

  • Give compliments 
  • Make light jokes 
  • Keep things fun and casual

Do NOT:

  • Neg them
  • Talk about heavy/ depressing topics
  • Go into graphic detail about anything really

If you aren’t sure whether or not someone else would be okay with something you’re doing, think about whether you would like it if it was done to you – specifically by someone you neither liked nor disliked. If the thought makes you uncomfortable, you might want to rethink whatever it is.

Body Language

An often overlooked part of knowing how to flirt is understanding body language. It can be tricky to pick up on but not impossible if you’re used to it. When flirting, you’ll want to make sure to see whatever unspoken signals they’re sending you. 

Positive signs that someone is into your flirting include:

  • Smiling
  • Physically leaning into/ toward you
  • Playing or fussing with their hair
  • Light touches (your hand, arm, shoulder, knee, etc.)

Signs it’s time to back off and leave them alone:

  • Their eyes are glazed over
  • They have their arms crossed
  • Their smile is strained
  • They physically cannot move or lean any further away from you

If you don’t think body language is important, think again. Even outside of the context of flirting, body language is a powerful tool you can and should use to your advantage. If you’d like to learn more about body language, check out this TedTalk about it.

Practice 

Flirting can look very different depending on who you are, who you are flirting with, and the cultural influences you grew up with. I sadly can’t give you definite and explicit examples of how to flirt that will always work. The best I can do is give you some guidelines based on my experiences and tell you to practice.

It may sound weird to tell someone who doesn’t know how to flirt to do it more often, but the best way to figure it out really is to just do it. The first step to practicing is to find someone you’re comfortable with. You don’t have to necessarily want to date them, and the key factor here is to be comfortable with them.

Once you’ve found someone you can practice on, take small steps. Figure out how you’re most comfortable getting things going with people and what you are and aren’t willing to say. Practicing helps you figure out how people respond to you and lets you see firsthand what body language looks like when someone is or isn’t into it.

Practice also makes it easier to flirt in the future with people you’re less comfortable around. You’ll get used to it a little bit more every time, and you’ll be able to figure out more quickly if someone isn’t into it. The more quickly you realize that the more quickly you can save yourself some embarrassment if they try to turn you down.

Be Respectful

Above all, if someone isn’t into your advances, take the L. Back off and let them know there are no hard feelings.

Flirting shouldn’t make anyone uncomfortable. It’s something light and fun. If that’s not how someone is taking it, then you don’t actually know how to flirt. You’re just doing it wrong, and you need to back off. No, if’s, and’s, or but’s.

No magic phrase will make someone suddenly more comfortable with you after you’ve crossed the line. Being overly persistent when someone has made clear they are not receptive to your advances is just sleazy.

I can promise you that if you don’t take “no” for an answer, you will not come off as a nice guy (or girl). You’re just going to come off as a creep. This isn’t our grandparent’s or even our parents’ generation. It is not romantic to ask out the same person over and over and over. That’s just harassment.

What’s next?

Once you’ve taken the chance and decided to flirt with someone you’re interested in dating, the logical next step is to ask them out. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out our blog on that.

It can be hard to get the courage to flirt with someone if you haven’t done it before. The best advice I can give you is to take the plunge and just do it. I promise, even if it doesn’t end up well, it won’t destroy any friendships either.

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