How to flirt without fear
Flirting is VITAL in love and dating. It gives your interactions life, fun and sparkle. But it can be scary. When I’m coaching clients, some of them look at me in terror when I bring up the F-word. “I’m hopeless at that!” they whimper. “I’m always too scared I’ll look daft.”
If you’ve accidentally got the idea that flirting is all about long, slow winks, or corny chat-up lines, I understand your terror. We’d all feel daft doing that. Luckily, then, real flirting is a million miles away. When you flirt properly, you’ll look warm, approachable and attractive. Here’s how.
Put flirting back into perspective
French author Max O’Rell famously described flirting as “attention without intention”. In its simplest form, it’s just charm. Making people feel good about themselves when they’re in your presence. Paying attention to them, listening. I bet you do that every day of your life. If you don’t, now’s a great time to start. When you remember that flirting is just being really nice, it becomes less daunting.
Try this now: Read the tips below, and try them out on someone you’re either in a relationship with, or who you’d like to be.
Make people feel important
Dale Carnegie, author of How To Win Friends and Influence People, identified that “the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to feel important’”. At its heart, flirting is just making other people feel like they matter to you. When you smile at somebody across a crowded room, you’re showing them you noticed them. When you send a woman her favourite flowers, you’re showing her you remembered her tastes.
Try this now: Write down three things that you know about the person you want to flirt with. It could be their favourite food, TV show, music, author or sports team. If you’re not sure, research their Likes on their Facebook profile, or ask someone they know. Next time you’re in conversation with them, bring one of their favourite things up in conversation. Say you’ve discovered a great new restaurant that serves their favourite food, or you’ve heard that they’re favourite music is playing nearby. Bonus tips if you follow this up with a date request!
Never worry about chat-up lines or smooth compliments. In fact, the sexiest thing you can do sometimes is to stay silent. Listening is an underrated skill, and it’s important in flirting as it makes the other person feel fascinating. Helen Gurley Brown, founder of Cosmopolitan, said, “Listening is one of the best weapons ever forged [in relationships]...It just about takes the place of a gorgeous face or body.” She advised her readers to listen hard to their partners, no matter what other distractions might happen: “Smooth operators never take their eyes off a man even when a waiter drops a tray of drinks.”
Try this now: Practise mindful listening: the art of staying in the moment as you listen to someone, rather than drifting away or preparing what you’re going to say when they finish. When your attention wanders, gently but firmly bring your focus back to the conversation. In time, you’ll be that person’s favourite person to talk to because you, unlike everyone else, make them feel heard.
Flirting is only scary when you do it with someone you really like, because you become invested in the outcome. The more you start flirting in everyday life, the more natural it’ll feel, and the better you’ll be. So, start today, with non-important flirting practice. If you go out for coffee, spark a brief, light-hearted chat with your barista. Remember your friend told you she was coming down with a cold yesterday, so call her just to ask if she’s feeling better. Listen to a colleague without interrupting them once. Waiting in a shop, find three things to admire about the person in front of you; say one out loud. Tell a cold-caller they have a lovely voice, before you slam the phone down on them. Always look people in the eye as you say, “Thank you.” Realise how easily you can make people feel great to be around you.
Try this now: Pay attention to the responses you get to these minor flirtations, then use that confidence to boost your nerve trying it out on the one you love.
Ramp it up
Simply being adorable isn’t quite enough to turn you into Casanova. The last step is adding some naughty, light-hearted frivolity that will take your flirting out of platonic territory, and into something more romantic. If you’re flirting with a man, the way to do this is through touch: lightly brush a speck of dust off his shoulder, stroke his arm as he talks, or touch his back as you cross the street. If you’re flirting with a woman, show your interest with words: compliment her on her new outfit, admire her skill at something, or just tell her that she brightens your day.
Try this now: Try out these tips on the one person you’d love to attract. Be brave! And let me know how it goes. I can’t wait to hear. Good luck!
You can read more from Kate on her website
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