1. Why do we need flirting theory? Aren’t flirting skills something we’re born with?
Just as some people are naturally more proficient at maths, some are more adept at flirting. The good news is that as with anything in life, the more you practice, the more proficient you will become. While it may be strange at first to strike up a conversation with innocent bystanders, with practice it will become second nature. As a bonus, there is a good chance that the person with whom you were discussing the cultivation of broccoli could become your future partner.
2. How would you describe a person with good flirting skills?
People with good flirting skills know how to make others feel good without needing it to be reciprocated (although it always comes back to them tenfold). If they appreciate something about someone they tell them. When someone is talking to them, they give their full attention and make the person feel as if they are the only person on earth, or at least the room. They smile, laugh, and show appreciation for the other person. People want to be around those who make them feel good, and the ability to do that in a genuine way is the secret of having good flirting skills.
3. What can stop you from being a great flirt?
Generally, there are three things that prevent a person from being good at flirting:
- The number one thing that gets in the way of flirting is the infamous fear of rejection, which stops us from doing so much in life, not just flirting! As a protective mechanism, some people might subconsciously ignore flirting cues because they can’t believe this person could possibly be interested in them. They might also think if they don’t try, then they can’t fail – this is quite an unfulfilling way to live life. Look at flirting as a logical process of finding people who you match with. You can’t match with everyone, so the ones that don’t get you, will have to fall to the wayside anyway.
- Not being able to read the other person’s signals. This may stem from a lack of knowledge as to what the right cues are. Male and female styles of flirting are often very different. Women tend to flirt more subtly than men. So while a woman is batting her eyelids extra hard to show she is interested, a man may think she has something in her eye. Alternately, sometimes men come on too strong for women. When a man approaches a woman, he has to make it clear that he is genuinely interested in getting to know her, rather than how many sexual positions she knows.
- Being arrogant or self-centered. Although everyone should enjoy the benefits of flirting, it’s not about flattering ourselves, but rather building up the other person. People who are too focused on themselves, aren’t able to possess one of the greatest flirting tools – empathy.
4. Why do we often react nervously when in a flirting situation with someone we like?
It’s quite simple – with someone we like, there’s a lot more to lose. We are more critical of our words and actions and put more pressure on ourselves because we really want this person to like us. In order to achieve great things, one must take great risks. When it comes to feelings, you will never reach the extreme highs that a new love interest can bring, unless you are willing to reach the potential lows as well. When we are not that concerned about someone, we will never experience the same extremes. Unfortunately, some people fear rejection so much that they never give themselves a chance with people they really like. Consequently, they may end up settling for someone with whom they will never know real happiness.
Also, during initial stages of attraction, our bodies produce PEA, a substance which is released into the nervous system and blood stream – our bodies react to PEA with sweaty palms and butterflies. This natural high wears off as we move into deeper stages of a relationship.
5. Do men and women have the same attitude towards flirting?
Men seem to be more goal-focused than women. According to evolutionary psychology, in hunter gatherer societies men would kill animals and bring them home, not wandering around enjoying beautiful sunsets and watching cute bunnies scurrying around. (which is something I would personally find far more agreeable than killing tigers). Men generally see flirting as a means to an end, with flirting for the sake of it much like shopping just for the fun of it. It doesn’t make sense to them – I was once on a radio show and the presenter commented on how happy he was that he was engaged and so didn’t have to flirt anymore.
Women, on the other hand, generally see flirting as good fun. Generally speaking, women are skilled in and enjoy the art of communication. Women flirt for the pure joy of interacting without necessarily seeking an outcome.
(NB-3/8/2102****Since conducting research into the flirting behaviour of 250 single people in the cities of London, Dublin, NY, Stockholm, and Paris, I have found that it is not possible to put ‘men’ and ‘women’ into stereotypical boxes. You are more likely to find differences between cultures, than differences between men and women in the same culture. In other words, behaviour is dictated by society rather than gender. So, why did I leave this answer up on my website? To show how easy it is to regurgitate the same ol’ information. Even I did it! Now that I have the statistical proof, I am able to wade through stereotypes and generalisations, and provide real facts.
6. Why are we so afraid of being rejected?
When people give others the power to dictate their own self worth, rejection becomes harmful. The question is, why do we care what people, especially strangers, think of us? We shouldn’t. The ideal is to know who you are and, logically understand, that some people will match with us and some people won’t. Instead of being hurt by rejection, look at it as an efficient weeding out mechanism, rather than a personal affront. Besides, we don’t have time to match with everyone!
7. How would you describe the flirting techniques men and women use?
According to the answers from 250 people, there are six signs that let you know if someone is flirting with you:
Eye contact – It is longer, more intense, and happens more frequently. If you are starting with eye contact from afar, the rule is if they look 3 or more times, it means he/she is interested.
Smiles – Open and easy smiles, especially ones that show teeth
Touch – In most cities, it is the women who do more touching and are first to break the ‘touch barrier’, N.Y. males were the exception. Touching on the hand, or close to the hand, are considered to be more intimate places to touch than the shoulder or arm.
Body language – It is open, the arms are uncrossed and shoulders are facing your way. Look at the direction of the feet. Where they are pointed, so is the interest.
Proximity – They have moved closer to your proximity or, if you are already engaged in conversation, they are standing very close to you. (This also enables them to smell you, which is a very powerful tool in attraction)
Attention – The more you are getting, especially in comparison to others’ who might be in your group, means they like you!
If you happen to be one of the people who consider themselves ‘clueless’ in this area, ask your friends what they think. Hopefully, amongst all of you, you can figure it out. If all else fails, just ask them in a flirty voice, ‘Are you flirting with me?’.
Contrary to popular belief, research shows that women generally take the initiative in two thirds of encounters. The reason this might come as a surprise is because women instigate interaction in a subtle way, by showing signals of approachability rather than lines like ‘Hey baby, I’ve lost my number can I have yours?’. A man may think he chose as he was the one who physically did the approaching or said the first words, but more times than not, the man’s actions arose from a woman first encouraging him with signals of approachability such as a glance in his direction or a friendly smile. (This could most likely be that in most societies, gender roles are still adhered to, and women aren’t as likely to approach men. Although, times see to be a changin’!) Some men might not pick up on some subtle signs, so the best bet is for a woman to suddenly ‘appear’ in the proximity of the man she wants to talk to. He goes up to the bar, you go up to the bar. Et voila, a ‘natural’ encounter. You then say, ‘Is it always this busy in here?’ Et voila again, you have started speaking with him. This advice works equally well for men.
8. Do we flirt to cover a basic need or just for fun? Why does it feel so good?
Unlike the days of our evolutionary predecessors, courtship has become more sophisticated. Although flirting can be enjoyed by everyone, when used specifically for courting rituals, flirting is the best way to show our potential partner our best side, and why he/she should reciprocate.
Flirting feels good because we all like to be liked. Studies show when we feel someone likes us we are subconsciously driven to find that person likeable as well. The best thing you can do for someone is make them feel good about themselves – that’s what skilled flirters do.
9. Are you ‘allowed’ to flirt with others while you are in a relationship?
It depends on the intention and each person’s boundaries. If you are in a relationship and flirting with someone because your ego needs a boost, then you are being irresponsible and perhaps hurtful to your partner, and dishonest with the person with whom you are flirting. In that situation, the best thing to do would be to take a close look at your own relationship and figure out why you are looking for outside affirmation. Alternatively, if two people are at a party and one or both are in a loving relationship and they are enjoying the fun and good vibes of flirting, there is absolutely no harm in flirting as long as both parties are aware of the boundaries.
My personal definition of flirting is an interaction between two people, usually of the opposite sex, and frequently containing sexual undertones. Both people enjoy themselves and go away feeling better than before.
10. How do I know if he is interested? What do I look for?
If he is interested, he will initially smile and make eye contact with you several times. If you are reciprocating and he is good at reading the signals, he will come up to you. If he has been reciprocating and you have been smiling so much you feel your face is going to freeze and he still hasn’t come over, he might need an extra boost. On your way to the bathroom/bar/coat check, walk past and give him a big smile. Say ‘hello’ if you are brave enough, and then return to your spot. He may have just needed a little extra bit of confidence. However, sometimes men aren’t good at reading signals, and are lacking enough confidence to take that long walk over. If he has been showing interest through smiles and eye contact, what is to stop you from going over to him? One man I interviewed told me that if women knew that a guy will say yes 99.9% of the time to whatever a woman asks, whether it’s to dance, for a date, the world would be far less complicated. In the privileged west we have made so many advances over the years in jobs/status, why are we still stuck in the past when it comes to the matter of men?
Once he has made contact, other signals that he is interested are that he asks you lots of questions about yourself and his attention is focused solely on you. He might give you a quick touch on your arm or hand. A very good sign is to look at which direction his feet are pointing. If his feet are pointing towards you then it’s a good sign that you are doing everything right! If his feet are angling away from you towards the middle of the room and his torso and shoulders are twisting outwards as well, you either need to change the conversation subject quickly, or just jump on him (okay, just kidding).
11. How can I get a woman interested in me?
Generally, both men and women want to feel admired and special, and anything you can do to help achieve this will be effective. The way you can make her feel extraordinary is to ask her questions about herself and listen with interest – don’t do all the talking. It’s not a job interview and you don’t have to prove anything, just let her talk. Also, give her a compliment specific to her – e.g., you look amazing in that top, the way it brings out the green in your eyes is stunning. This is not cheesy! Everyone loves a compliment. If done sincerely, your compliments are very welcome to most women, determining whether she’s interested beyond that is a matter of picking up the other signals.
12. What is a healthy attitude towards rejection?
Fear of rejection stops us from achieving so much in our lives, not just in the world of flirting. My personal motto is nothing ventured, nothing gained. We must realize that if someone ‘rejects’ us, we are no less of a person – there may be a circumstantial reason for their lack of interest – perhaps we caught them at a bad time, they’re gay, married, have a headache, or perhaps we’re just not their type. My reaction to that is whew! I’m glad I didn’t waste any more valuable time with that person – I’m sure there are many other men around here whose type I am. In fact, there are many other people out there whose type we are and whom we appreciate. Don’t let the reaction of one person: a person who may have major personal issues; an IQ of 10; knock over little old ladies for recreation; or be addicted to prescription drugs, dictate your self worth!
If you’re still unconvinced, let me appeal to your mathematical prowess – it’s a numbers game. The more shots you take, the higher your percentage of scoring. And, the smaller the sample size, the more impact each reaction has and the less overall objectivity you will gain. In plain terms, if you ask one person to dance and they say no you might feel bad. If you ask 100 people to dance and 20 say no, you won’t think twice about those 20 people (and you’ll also not have time to think as you will be too busy dancing).
13. Do you think events such as speed dating and singles parties are a good way to meet someone?
As with everything in life, they have good points and bad points. Let’s start with speed dating – the main advantage of speed dating is that the hardest part of meeting someone, which is the initial approach, is taken out of the equation. If you never in a million years would have enough courage to approach that girl or guy, don’t worry. In any given three minutes, you will be sitting face to face with your Adonis, without having to take that long, ominous walk across the room.
The negative aspect is that it’s difficult to get a good view of someone’s personality in only three minutes? Three minutes is enough to tell if you have instant chemistry with a person, or if you think he/she is ‘hot’, but these are only two variables when considering many important factors in determining a suitable match. More than three minutes is needed to determine similarities essential for creating mutual interest. More than three minutes is needed to further explore if that person has characteristics and personality traits which you are looking for in a partner. I wonder how many suitable people have been prematurely swept under the carpet after not making a good impression in three minutes. Let’s review the amount of time three minutes represents – according to the Dental Association, each time we brush our teeth, it should be for 3 minutes – this means we are brushing our teeth for the same amount of time we are allotting to find a worthy match. And furthermore, what good is perfectly white teeth and fresh breath if you don’t have someone to share it with? Alright, yes, perhaps they help you eat.
Singles parties are a great idea. On the same night and in the same venue are hundreds of men and women who have already been screened for you – general reasons for a person to not be interested in you during a regular night out don’t apply at singles parties – no-one at the event is married (at least I hope not), gay, has a girlfriend/boyfriend, etc, and, most importantly, everyone is in attendance for the same reason in that they want to meet somebody! Perhaps not in a long-term commitment kind of way – a lot of people come for fun and the chance to make new friends – but if you are looking for something more, the potential is definitely there.
The only drawback of a singles party is that you have to have realistic expectations and keep things in perspective. If you go to one singles party and you don’t meet or see anyone you find interesting, you may have an unrealistic attitude that there isn’t anyone out there for you and you’re utterly alone in city of 7 million. You must remind yourself that this was just one event, and actually, if you didn’t speak to every single person there you can’t fairly say that you didn’t meet anyone you liked. One potential hazard lies in placing more importance upon a single singles party than it warrants.
If you would like to read more about flirting and flirting tips, please go to my blog thesocialsocialanthropologist.com