As a parent, I’m used to getting asked every question under the sun.
But one question I didn’t expect to be asked was how to flirt!
I would have DIED before asking my own mother how to flirt.
I had my first boyfriend in middle school, and I was horrified when a teacher told my mother. My mother reacted as expected—she made a huge deal about it. I hated getting teased so much that it was the last time I dated someone at school.
I felt honored that I had been entrusted with this question. It took me a moment to figure out what I felt novice flirters needed to hear.
Flirting Doesn’t Need to Be Sexy
When young people today look online for tips on how to flirt, they often get advice that confuses flirtatiousness with seduction.
“Flirting” is wearing a tight dress, a full face of makeup, stroking your hair, and touching him playfully.
Flirts straddle the line between appropriate and risqué. They advertise their sexuality. They’re not afraid to drop compliments and innuendo.
But is that really what flirting is?
Or is that what it’s been reduced to?
Adding a whiff of sex to a conversation doesn’t make it flirting.
There are much better ways to create a playful connection with another person.
And it’s playfulness—not sexiness—that’s at the heart of the very best flirting.
Why Flirt in the First Place?
It’s risky to show someone that you like them.
They might not feel the same way. They might get offended. They might avoid you afterwards.
That’s where flirting comes in.
Flirting is about having fun with someone in a way that shows you enjoy them.
Flirting takes the risk out of showing your feelings.
When you tease a guy, or wink at him, or make a joke about how handsome he is, he knows he’s not supposed to take you seriously.
At the same time, he can’t help but wonder whether there’s a kernel of truth in your comments.
Are you just messing with him? Or are you saying you like him?
That delightful tension—does she? doesn’t she?—is at the heart of flirting.
No Memorization Necessary
Back in the early days of my career, I wrote a lot of flirting advice.
I dutifully repeated what I’d read and researched.
Flirting was about technique.
It was about open body language, lowering your voice, and touching your neck. It was about finding an excuse to touch him or sit next to him.
It was methodical. You memorized what to do, and you pulled out those moves on someone you liked.
And guys knew exactly what you were doing.
Even if you hit a guy’s arm to get his attention, he assumed you were finding an excuse to touch him because you “liked” him.
That’s the problem with those old-school techniques. They weren’t playful, original, or spontaneous. They were formulaic and predictable. Guys can read those moves like a book.
What you want is a flirting spirit.
It’s not what you do and say. It’s the energy you bring to the encounter.
If It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It
All you need to be an excellent flirt is confidence in yourself…
And the courage to play.
At its heart, flirting is about playing with another person.
It’s fun. It’s joyous and easy. It isn’t concerned with outcomes.
You don’t flirt in order to make him like you.
You don’t flirt in order to let him know you like him.
You flirt because it’s fun to play with him. It’s fun to see him smile. It’s fun to see his brow scrunch up in confusion.
When he sees you being playful with him, that gives him permission to be playful with you.
Neither of you have to be serious. He can let down his guard. You can have a laugh together.
This type of flirtatious play may not dial up the sexual tension (that’s what seduction is for), but what it does create is even more delightful:
It creates greater intimacy.
It brings you closer. It strengthens trust. It makes being together fun.
Scientists have only recently begun to discover just how important play is to health and relationships.
So don’t stress out about flirting. Taking it seriously defeats the purpose!
Discover Your Flirting Style
Don’t know how to flirt? Think you’re bad at flirting?
I can assure you you’re not!
Though we’ve been taught that flirting is about being seductive and coy and twisting a man around your finger like Marilyn Monroe…
There are actually 5 different flirting styles, one of which will suit you to a T!
Flirting will be a natural way to express yourself once you learn your native “flirting language.”
Don’t give up on flirting and let great guys pass you by because they don’t know you’re interested.