How to Flirt

...without being creepy.

As single people, flirting is something we probably do quite regularly. It's fairly harmless, it's fun, and if you do it right, it could lead to something developing with your flirty counterpart further down the line.

The dawn of online dating and swipe based apps began quite a while ago now, and they have taken the world by storm, often now being the preferred way to meet people. The great thing about dating apps and online platforms is that they allow the more introverted and shy members of the population to chat to people without feeling those nerves and worries of approaching someone in person. They give you the opportunity to think carefully about your responses, take time with your answers and build a connection without being rushed or put on the spot. The other benefit is that they actually help you to cast a very wide net and potentially interact with far more people than you would within your circle of friends or colleagues. This allows you a greater chance of meeting someone with the same likes and interests as you.

The down side to the apps is that people do become very used to them and almost reliant on them for any type of dating experience, and they potentially forget how to interact with people in the real world. In this article we've compiled a list of some things that we think are the most important to get right when it comes to flirting with others:

  1. Be confident

  2. Smile

  3. Make eye contact

  4. Show you're interested in them

  5. Compliment them

  6. Touch them (appropriately)

  7. Don't be too available

  8. Ask them out


Since most of us spent a lot of time at home over the last year or so, partaking in various lockdowns and quarantines and social distancing, it's possible we forgot some our sharper skills when it comes to human interaction, especially with the opposite sex. So hopefully this list of suggestions on how to flirt appropriately might help you to get back in the game and be more confident when approaching people - which leads us nicely into the first point on the list.


1. Be confident

You will have heard this over and over again but that's because it's true; confidence is sexy. Showing (genuine) confidence is a very attractive quality in a man, it show's he is not afraid, he is not self-conscious, he is willing to take risks and step up to situations and he probably attracts a certain amount of popularity with it. You don't have to be arrogant to be confident - confidence is about being willing to talk to people, speaking slowly and purposefully, making eye contact and not slouching but standing up straight.

Confidence is the number 1 way to step up to the plate when you want to flirt with someone, just don't be too fake or too showy as this could come across as you trying far too hard or you'll just seem plain arrogant. Confident men aren't obnoxious or dismissive and they don't play games with people or try to assert their dominance over everyone in the room by making playground-like jabs at everyone and shouting out about how amazing they are. Confident men stand tall, they speak up but don't shout, they talk to everyone not just the one person they might want to flirt with. They listen to people and show respect to everyone, they buy a round of drinks but they don't brag about it. They don't show off about how much money they have or what car they drive, they're humble and honest. Confident men also have presence and take up space by being open with their body language, but they don't push others out of the way to try and be the biggest man in the room.

Genuine confidence is, first and foremost, about being comfortable with who you are as a person. If you're self-conscious about your looks or personality then you aren't going to be able to stand in a room full of people with your head up, look them in the eye and tell them about yourself. If you have issues with self-confidence then you should know that it's very common, and there are a lot of people who struggle with their image or their shortfalls. Try to overcome them by facing your fears and working on your personal development. Exercise and go to the gym to improve your physical look as it will absolutely help you feel better about yourself. Learn some new skills or learn about new topics, be interesting and have your own opinions.


2. Smile

People who smile more are thought to be more approachable, more friendly and probably more fun to be around. That smouldering, brooding, "squinty eye pout" look will only work on model-hot men, so don't be that guy if you're not. If you catch someones eye who you like, throw them a quick smirk or smile - just don't be creepy and hold a fake smile for too long. Smiling and making people laugh are considered to be extremely attractive qualities so lighten up and stop doing that backhanded compliment trick from the 1980s playbook of macho men. A little teasing is absolutely fine, and might even help, just don't be an ass-hole.

Being able to make someone laugh it a fantastic way to make them feel at ease and feel happy. Laughing is a feeling of comfort and enjoyment, so if people are laughing and having a good time then they are likely to feel more comfortable being around you. People enjoy spending time with those who lift their mood.

Don't be afraid to poke fun at yourself a little too. Being able to take a joke or make the odd jibe at your own expense will also show that you're comfortable with who you are and not insecure about your shortfalls. It's important that you don't do this too much as it can then come across as self deprecating and can seem awkward and make you appear sad and miserable - definitely qualities that people aren't generally attracted to. So keep it light, if you have some flirty banter going with someone, make sure you take any jibes back at you with a smile and a laugh. Don't defend it, just laugh it off and jokingly agree.


3. Make eye contact

This seems a little daunting and actually somewhat creepy, but bear with us. Typically when someone catches you staring at them, you look away quickly so they don't catch you out and make you feel a wave of shame. But in this scenario, it actually might be better to hold the gaze for just a little longer. Pause for a second, and try smiling at them or even shoot them a wink. What this does is firstly establish the initial contact, and secondly it shows them that you're confident and not shy and hiding away from potentially making an approach. Holding someone's gaze for just a couple of seconds is enough to establish a brief connection of consciousness, meaning you've both become aware of each other, looking at each other.

The general rule of holding someones gaze is not too long, not too short. But obviously what you shouldn't do is stare maniacally at them and count to 3. Instead, try to look at them long enough to see the colour of their eyes, then either look away slowly or go for the smile/wink. Remember that when you're talking to someone, you should be looking in their eyes and certainly not at other people or your phone.

If you still don't feel confident enough to hold someone's gaze, there is a way to practice. As you walk down a street, look out for people you might find somewhat attractive, and when they walk past you, look them in the eye for 2-3 seconds, even if they look back at you. What this will do is make you more comfortable meeting people's eye contact and it's a safe environment to try it out as it's just walking past people in a street - not being stuck on a subway or in a room at a party for example.


4. Show you're interested in them

People love (and I mean LOVE) to talk about themselves. This fact has been well known for almost 100 years since Dale Carnegie mentioned it in his book "How to Win Friends and Influence People", people love to talk about themselves. So if you want to show something that you're actually interested in them, ask them questions about their life and show that you care about finding out what they do, what their hobbies are or what their opinions on lighthearted topics are. Note: you don't have to like what they like or even agree with their opinions, but being an objective and curious listener is a very appealing quality in a person.

When it comes to choosing the questions to ask, there is a line between topics that come across as boring small talk and some which will seem far too personal, especially for a first conversation. Use some common sense here but to give you an idea:


Topics to try asking about could include:

  • Work and their career (particularly their aspirations)

  • Travel and holidays (either past or future plans)

  • Family & where they grew up

  • Hobbies, interests or sports they do/watch

  • TV shows and movies

  • Food and drink, restaurants or bars they like

Topics to maybe avoid initially:

  • Weather

  • Religion

  • Politics (use your own judgement here, as it's not always bad)

  • Sex life and past relationships


5. Compliment them

Most people also love a compliment - emphasis on most as some people are not good at receiving compliments as they're humble or shy. Making vague, obvious, 'I'm trying to to sleep with you' compliments like "you're so hot" or "I love girls with blonde hair" probably won't work and you could potentially come across as a little pervy and seem like you're trying too hard.

Making a genuine compliment about something they've said is going to be received far better and will make you appear more like a genuine person rather than just someone who's trying to sleep with them. Compliments like "I think it's amazing that you do charity in your free time" or "you're clearly very dedicated to your goals and that's admirable" will work much better than flat, unimaginative and generic ones.

Have a look back over the list in the previous section, is there anything among those "good topics" that you could pick a compliment out from? Finding something interesting and admirable about a person will come from asking them questions and discovering what small talk won't all you to do. This will then work on two levels as you'll seem very interested in the person and you'll also have the information needed to make heartfelt compliments.


Other compliment ideas could be things like:

  • That's amazing how you much you cook instead of eating out

  • It's really brave that you took a chance on that, most people would be too scared

  • It's impressive how much you know about [subject...]

  • It's awesome that you find the time to stay in shape, I can't always force myself to get to the gym!


6. Touch them (appropriately)

Establishing physical contact is actually a way to signal to the brain that "something is happening here", so if you can touch them in a casual, playful way then that might well help the spark. Don't be overly touchy or gropey as this will almost certainly make them feel uncomfortable and it makes you seem a little lecherous. And I shouldn't have to say this but please do not do the "stand behind them and show them how it's done" trick. Another point is that you definitely don't want to only be this way with one person and that can seem like you're a hunter targeting it's prey.

But a confident man is not shy about touching people or giving hugs, pats on the back, a squeeze of the arm or shoulder or even a hand tap/graze. Casual physical contact shows that you're both confident, comfortable with physical interactions and that you are somewhat affectionate. If you are the kind of guy who hugs his friends or gives them a head rub, shoulder squeeze or casual bump on the arm, you will appear to be a confident and somewhat assertive man. Shy men do not touch other people, they avoid physical contact at all costs.

Touching and physical contact (even platonically) has been proven to be a key human need and can increase trust, comfort, happiness and even reduce the stress hormone cortisol. Humans are physical beings and contact is something that is in our DNA, so if you can work that into a casual conversation, you'll come across as a more compatible person.

It's worth noting that you will need to be aware of how the person reacts to your touch - if they tense up or seem awkward in any way, it's probably not a good idea to keep trying otherwise it will likely put them off you completely.


7. Don't be too available

Notice how I emphasise "too" here, meaning don't do the play-hard-to-get thing that literally everyone has known about for decades. But instead just be comfortable saying no sometimes. If you're always available when someone asks you to do something then it seems like you have nothing better to do and you're desperate for their attention.

Saying no shows you have other commitments, interests, hobbies, and that you're not so scared of losing that person that you're going to drop everything and run to them. Being a person who actually has other commitments will make you seem independent and interesting. Instead of ignoring someone in order to play hard-to-get and keep them "keen", explain to them that you can't meet them or you have to go because of a certain commitment, but that you'd love to see them another time (and tell them when).

Someone who always says yes comes across as the doormat man and the person you are pursuing could either end up using you in their friend zone or just simply losing interest in you because your only hobby seems to be meeting them and spending time with them. You've heard the expression "bro's before ho's" I'm sure, and while I don't necessarily think this is a statement you should be using as life advice, I would also say that you shouldn't be cancelling fixed appointments with friends or others just to spend time with a new crush.


8. Ask them out!

Seems obvious right? You'd be surprised. This goes hand in hand with point number 1: be confident. If you politely and straightforwardly ask someone out for a drink or a coffee then this is showing them you're genuinely interested and willing to put yourself out there. If they say no, don't push it, just accept it with grace, smile, and say something like "no problem, I liked talking to you so I took a shot" and leave it at that.

Asking someone out is also a 2-sided coin as there are 2 ways to do it; the confident way and the "I'm so overcome with nerves because I don't want to say anything wrong" way. Don't ask them where they want to go or when they want to go out or what food they like to eat. Instead, tell them your schedule and offer a choice, this makes you come across as assertive and that you have your own ideas and can make plans. Something like: "I'm free on Thursday evening from about 8pm, if you like Mexican food there's a great place not far from here, the first cocktail is on me" will work a lot better than "which day are you free? What time works best for you? What type of food do you like? What's your favourite bar?"


At the end of the day just be yourself, be confident, be fun and don't take it to heart if you get rejected - the more you try the better you'll get. You can't fake confidence so instead of trying to hide your shyness with some textbook confidence hacks that you read in an article online, go out into the world and start giving it a shot. Practice absolutely makes perfect and you aren't necessarily going to get it right the first time. Be graceful if you get rejected, learn from what went wrong, regroup and try again.