Master the Subtle Skill of Flirting

Get your inner flirt on

Flirting is an ancient art of subtlety that evokes a sense of mystery and yet the promise of romance all at the same time. If you do it right, it will draw male attention unlike anything else, and that's the beauty of being a great flirt. It gives you more options in dating because you’ll find more guys talking to you. And when you have more options, you have the ability to better choose exactly the right person to date.

Read on to find out the best tips from experts on all things flirty. At first it might feel a little silly, if you're not used to flirting, but you'll quickly get the hang of it.

Master the Subtle Skill of Flirting

Tips for flirting like a pro

There are some universal patterns for flirting. But nevertheless, pay attention to each guy’s body language to see what's effective since everyone has their own preferences.

Suzanna Mathews, aka The Date Maven, shares some easy flirting styles to master:

There’s the bold-to-bashful look: The girl smiles at the guy and lifts her eyebrows in a swift, jerky motion as she opens her eyes wide to gaze at him. Then she drops her eyelids, tilts her head down and to the side, and looks away. Frequently she also covers or touches part of her face or hair with her hands.

A variation on this is the coy look. This is a gesture in which a girl cocks her head and looks up shyly at you.

Some girls are bold enough to hold a guys stare for 2-3 seconds. If you're close enough to see each other's pupils, know this: dilated pupils are a sign of extreme interest. Scientists call this “The Copulatory Gaze.” When a person is interested or aroused, the pupils dilate, letting more light in, and allowing them to “see clearly” and gather more information. So, look at his eyes. Are they open and wide? Chances are your lips are slightly parted as well. It’s a little like the expression you see on the face of a child with a new toy who opens his mouth to take it all in.

Another female flirting cue is raising her shoulders, arching her back, and tossing her hair – all in a single sweeping motion. Not over the top—just kind of like a mini stretch as if you're just adjusting yourself in your seat and getting comfortable. The “chest thrust” that’s part of that is a basic postural message used across the animal kingdom when animals seeking attention “stand tall.” Dominant creatures puff up. Men and women both swell in order to signal importance and approachability.

“These are universal courting cues that are part of the standard human repertoire of gestures that evolved to attract a mate. Once you’ve mastered noticing those (and giving those cues yourself), you can start to look for some additional signs of interest,” Mathews said.

Master the Subtle Skill of Flirting

Become an expert at flirting

Mathews shares additional pro tips:

You can use props to make yourself more approachable and establish significance. Mix it up by using everyday items and unusual or offbeat items. A drink in hand usually makes people feel more comfortable and less awkward about what to do with their hands. Just keep in mind that if your item is too bizarre, it may have the opposite of the intended effect.

You’ve seen those guys with “swagger.” Well, girls have their own girl-swagger. It's a confident walk that owns the room. The key is it has to look authentic, like you’ve earned it, not like you're putting on airs. Too much swagger or false swagger will actually repel people.

The essential item for great girl-swagger is high heels. High heels have been around since the 1500’s and they automatically force a woman to walk with an arched back and a thrust out chest. They give the wearer a tilt of the buttocks and a sway of the hips. And guys notice.

Girls’ voices will become higher, softer, and more sing-songy (similar to tones that express affection to kids or concern for those in need) when they’re talking to guys they like. Pay attention to the tone and timber of your voice. If you hear yourself droning on in a monotone, he is less likely to pick up that you're interested and you could be undoing all the good flirting you're trying to do with your non-verbals.

Not sure how to break the ice with him? Lead with a compliment or a question. Both require a response, so he’ll be prompted to talk to you in order to be polite.

Guys are usually trying to be interesting or entertaining when they're in to you, so laugh at his stories and his jokes just a little more than the situation calls for. That's a classic flirting cue.

Lean forward to listen to him, rest your arm toward him, or move your foot closer, to show signs of interest. Whatever direction your shoulders point and your pelvis points—that's where your attention is directed. Women often set the tone for touching. But a guy can take the lead on this as well. Flirtatious touching should be casual but calculated in that there’s an intention to it.

Before long, you're probably bobbing, tilting, gazing, smiling, swaying, flirting, etc. in time with him. You've pivoted or swiveled until your shoulders are aligned or on the same plane as his and your bodies are squared. When you lift your drink, he lifts his. When you cross your legs, he crosses his; as you lean left, he leans left. You mirror each other. Scientists call this interactional synchrony and it’s a pattern played out by all animals. When this happens, give yourself an internal high five because if he’s following your rhythm, you’ve built rapport with him and this is the outcome you want with flirting.

Master the Subtle Skill of Flirting

The art of being subtle

Dr. Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka “Dr. Romance”) psychotherapist and author of Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences, shared her best tips:

To flirt with a man, you have to figure out what gets his attention, and what turns him on. There are certain cues: looking into his eyes, finding little ways to “accidentally” touch him, being very interested in whatever he's doing or saying, that pretty universally say you're interested. That will get his attention. But, what lets him know he's interested is the trick.

If he's some guy at the office that you have your eye on, you need a way to let him know that you want more than a business relationship. If he's a long-time friend, or ex of your friend, romancing him will let him know you're not just a pal. If he's a stranger at a bar or a party, you can turn him on, but you won't know what you're getting.

Make him feel good when he's around you. Be fun to be with and tease him a little. But, don't hang all over him, don't act like an overeager puppy. He wants to know he won't be rejected, but he also wants to work a bit to achieve his goal. If you really want to have a relationship with this man, show interest, then hold back a little. He's easier to catch if he's not wary of you. He needs to make the next move. Backing off and playing the waiting game is the hardest part, but if you don't do it, he won't know he wants to be with you.

“Flirting is the art of letting him know you're interested in him in subtle ways, but not being too obvious,” Tessina said.

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