Whether you’re flirting over text, online, or in-person, it’s important to keep a balance between revealing your feelings and keeping the person you like intrigued.
Flirting, at its most basic, is playfully showing you are romantically attracted to someone. If you are ready to flirt with someone, you should already know you are sexually attracted to them, and like them! It might seem nerve-wracking to start flirting and put yourself out there, but fear not—it’s normal to be nervous around someone you really like, and there are ways to seem confident and pull off a successful flirtation.
If you want to know how to flirt and you’d like some help getting to know someone, this article gives some general advice.
1. Make eye contact.
Eye contact is the best and easiest thing you can do to start flirting. You can look deeply into the person’s eyes while also taking the time to break eye contact to keep things from getting too intense. Consider using it in these ways: Get caught looking. Don’t stare, but do throw small glances at someone. Keep doing it until he or she catches you. Hold the gaze for a second, smile, and look away.
Look into his or her eyes when you talk, particularly at meaningful points in the conversation (for example, while you’re paying a compliment).
You’ll probably smile automatically if you’re talking to someone you like, but you can use your pearly whites to your advantage before the conversation even starts. You can even smile at the person when you pass him or her by in the halls, or just from across the room. You don’t have to grin from ear to ear, either; just a simple, subtle smile will do the trick.
3. Start talking.
Introduce yourself — or maintain the mystery (optional). If you don’t already know the person you’re flirting with, an introduction (or lack of one) can be a great thing to build flirting around. Avoid the urge to have a cheesy pick-up line. It can be as simple as, “Hi, I’m [name]. And you are…?”
Initiate a conversation. Whether you already know the other person or not, a conversation is the best way to move the flirtation forward. The person you’re flirting with will be impressed by your boldness and confidence.
4. Keep it light.
Don’t bring up anything too personal when you’re talking. Talk about the environment around you, the show you just saw, etc. Keep personal information (such as religion, money, relationships, education, and so on) out of it, unless the person enjoys intellectual debates without becoming over-emotional. Generally, it’s best to avoid debating topics personally relevant to either of you (such as either yours or their religion) and to rather discuss topics you both don’t have a personal stake in.
5. Break the touch barrier.
The first few times you touch your crush, be careful not to “trap” him or her. Depending on the area, the contact should be long enough to be more than accidental, but no more. Avoid grasping a hand or arm, and instead try gestures such as brushing an imaginary speck of dirt off of their arm, or “accidentally” touching feet or knees without pulling away.
6. Keep your interactions short and sweet.
Remember that the key to creating demand is making supply scarce, so try to limit your interactions with the object of your flirtations. Don’t talk to him or her every single day. Make it a special event and save it for a few times a week.
Don’t let conversations drag on for more than 5 or 10 minutes. The longer they go on, the higher your odds of running into an awkward silence.
Let the other person come to you. After you’ve put in the work of starting up the interaction and sparking an interest, pull back a bit and see if he or she seeks you out for an interaction. This can be a good way to gauge interest, as well as build tension.
7. Close the deal.
If your flirting has been successful so far, and you want to get to know the other person better, it’s time to see if you can turn it into a date. Here are a few approaches:
Ask if the other person has plans at a later date. For instance, you might say, “So, what are you up to on Saturday night?” Try to keep this an open question, instead of one that requires a yes or no answer — you’ll get more information that way. Don’t ask someone what he or she is doing tonight, or even tomorrow. Try to schedule the date a few days out so that you don’t come off as overly desperate.
8. Don’t talk about yourself too much.
The majority of people are most comfortable talking about themselves because it’s a topic they know well. Instead of taking the easy way out and discussing you endlessly, encourage the other person to talk about him or herself. However, you can and should occasionally throw some personal facts in the person’s direction to help them to ask questions about you in turn. The key is to leave it up to them to pursue an interest in things relevant to yourself.
9. Be bold.
If none of the suggestions above appeal to you, go for broke and pay your crush a bold compliment. Try these possibilities, using the adjective that fits your crush best or substituting your own:
“I hope you know you’re gorgeous/beautiful/amazing/my favorite person to talk to/etc.”
“Sorry if this is too forward, but I have to say that you’re incredible/an amazing person/so beautiful/etc.”
10. Don’t come on too strong.
Avoid loading compliments with feelings too early. Leaving a person slightly uncertain of the extent of your feelings for them can increase your attractiveness, giving you a bit of a mysterious edge. The point is not to make the person question whether you like them at all, but to make them wonder how much you like them. If you just openly say, “I have a big crush on you” or “I’ve always thought you were so hot,” then you’re taking the mystery out of the exchange.
Instead, you can send a text or a message that says something like, “You looked cute in your new sweater today” or another comment that is nice and flirtatious without giving it all away.
11. Don’t take it too seriously.
Keep in mind that flirting is supposed to be fun and try not to be crushed if your efforts aren’t successful — not every interaction will be a perfect 10. Stay positive, and try again with someone else. As with anything else, flirting improves with practice. Flirting also doesn’t have to have an endgame; not every flirtation ends in a date. Sometimes, you may just want to flirt for the fun of it, instead of hoping it will go somewhere.
Flirting can help you meet new people, feel more comfortable, and learn to mingle. You don’t need to put any pressure on yourself to make it mean something or to be perfect.