Zoosk’s Guide to Flirting Like a Pro


by Robin Gorman Newman 

Flirting is the playful art of catching someone’s eye.  It can be done with a simple smile and show of receptiveness through open, positive body language. Opportunities to meet an appealing person are often fleeting, and if you don’t go for it, you’re left only with regret.  So, seize the flirting moment if you see someone who looks interesting!

FLIRTING DOS:

*Be a good listener – silence can be sexy.

When you engage in discussion with someone, gaps in a conversation are natural.  Don’t try to constantly fill them.  Give the other person a chance to talk.  Don’t get nervous that the conversation may not flow right away.  Some people take time to warm up to someone new, as we will discuss later.  Additionally, if you can be a good listener, that is so appreciated.  Everyone likes to feel that someone is genuinely focused on them and taking in their every word.

*Have a prop – i.e. a cute dog can help attract someone.

A prop could be anything that catches someone’s eye and invites comment….ideally positive.

Other than a cute dog, examples of props include articles of clothing or accessories.  Consider the following.  You work out at a gym three times/week or jog in your neighborhood or go rock climbing on the weekend.  Instead of your usual sweatshirt, what about wearing a t-shirt with a striking saying or logo?  It could be something funny, could be from your alma mater, or potentially your favorite rock group or Broadway show. It offers the perfect conversation opener for someone who sees it.

If you’re going out some place more formal, another type of prop would be an interesting pin, hat, colorful tie or scarf.  Again, it’s an item that someone may notice and approach you to comment on.  In turn, you may do the same if you see someone wearing something that grabs you.

*Make direct eye contact.

The key to flirting is to make sure you connect with the other person.  If you are on the shy side, it’s easy to think that you have caught someone’s eye, when in fact, they are oblivious to your overtures.  You want to look someone straight in the eye, look away, and look back, so that you’ve connected more than once, and you’ve made it clear that you are looking at them.  Don’t stare….just catch their glance in a friendly manner.

*Smile and exhibit positive, open body language.

Once you have made direct eye contact with someone, you want to smile and look like you’re receptive to meeting them.  This is done by maintaining open body language.  For example, you don’t want to stand with your arms crossed.  If it helps to hold something, buy a drink or grab a glass of water, and keep it in one hand.  If your arms are crossed, you’re closing yourself off and may look stiff.  When you are talking to someone, lean toward them.  It shows you are not afraid to get close….though not too close….unless you’re looking for a fling and want to get touchy-feely.

*Pay a compliment, make someone laugh, or ask a question when initiating a conversation.

Aside from commenting on someone’s “prop,” other approaches are to pay a compliment, make someone laugh or ask a question.  If you’re paying a compliment, you want to keep it “clean.”  The goal isn’t to embarrass someone, but make them feel good about themselves.  To make someone laugh, you don’t want to be offensive, and humor can be very subjective.  No dirty joke telling, until you know if it’s their style.

Asking a question is the most neutral and natural way to go, as long as you don’t get overly personal right away.  For example, if you’re at a neighborhood happy hour at a restaurant you frequent, you can approach someone by asking if they live nearby and what their favorite local restaurants are.  If you’re in a gym, you can ask how to use a particular weight machine.  It is flattering to be asked to share your knowledge, and this can be the equivalent of paying a compliment because the other person will feel that you consider them worthy of offering instruction.

FLIRTING DON’TS:

*Don’t get overly touchy.

There’s a fine line between flirting and sexual harassment.   You don’t want to get overly touchy with a stranger or invade someone’s personal space.  When approaching someone, stay a comfortable distance from their face and don’t touch their body in an inappropriate manner.  It can a person someone or at the very least, turn them off.  Along with this comes understanding when to take no for an answer.  It’s important to hear someone loud ‘n clear and not dismiss their response, if they aren’t reacting positively.  Don’t take it personally.  They don’t know you, so who knows what their reasoning is?

*Don’t force yourself to go out if you’re in a bad mood (unless you’re always in a bad mood).

While you might feel like you need to go out as much as possible to try to meet someone, there’s no point if you’re not mentally up to it.  Now, you might say, “I’m never really up to it”.  And, I would understand, because it’s not always easy putting yourself out there, especially after a hard day at the office.  Transitioning from work to play doesn’t come naturally to everyone.  If you’re burnt out and really want to go home and chill, do it.  Just don’t give into yourself constantly, because you may never go out.

*Don’t be afraid to laugh….it’s attractive…and contagious.

If you’re out with friends, don’t be afraid to show you’re having a good time.  If you come across as a fun-loving person, that will suggest you’re someone who likes to enjoy themselves, appreciates friends, and welcomes the opportunity for a good laugh.  You know how to let you hair down and sharing that zest for life is something you’d love to do with the right person.

*Don’t look around for other prospects when you’re talking to someone.

The kiss of death for a potential love interest is for them to catch your wandering eye.  You’ve flirted your heart out and connected with someone….don’t blow it by overtly checking out others around the room.  If you think he won’t notice your distraction, you’re wrong.  Focus on  talking to the person in front of you, as opposed to wondering who else is there.  The grass isn’t always greener.

*Don’t go searching for a pen or piece of paper if you meet someone.

One of the best ways to lose an opportunity to get someone’s number or give out yours is to be ill-prepared.  Always have a business or personal calling card available.  If you’re scrounging around for paper, a pen or even a napkin to write on, it can become embarrassing and kill the moment.  Plus, you may prefer to be subtle in a crowd when you give out your number, and having a card is the most discreet way to pass on your information.  If you’re not certain you want to give out your home number, consider your cell number.  Additionally, you might want to create an e-mail account for socializing purposes, so that you can also give out that e-mail address.  I caution you, however, not to get too personal if you e-mail each other. Use e-mail just as a means to arrange a date.  Don’t rely on it initially as a big information sharing vehicle.  It is way premature to take that approach.  The same holds true for the phone.  Try not to talk for hours on end before you’ve had a date.  You might think that’s indicative of a heartfelt connection, but that’s not necessarily true.  It takes time to be certain of that, and in the interim, it is more hurtful to grow attached to someone before you’ve spent quality time in-person and can see if the connection is there.

About the author: Robin Gorman Newman, “The Love Coach”, and author of How to Marry a Mensch and Meet a Mensch in New York has been seen on “The Today Show,” CNN, “Good Day New York” and has done hundreds of  television and radio interviews worldwide.  She’s been featured as a relationship guru in The NY Times, Men’s Health, Cosmopolitan, Newsday, among many other books, print, online publications and blogs. Robin, founder,www.LoveCoach.com, offers private consults to singles and has spoken at such venues as Canyon Ranch, Greenhouse Spa, 92St Y, Mohonk Mountain House, New School, Macy’s Herald Square, and even Off-Broadway. She is the founder of International Flirting Week.

Photo via Flickr.

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