By Barbara Katz
Flirting without an agenda puts everyone at ease, including you!
You see someone you’re attracted to at the theatre, the supermarket or a coffee shop. You wish you could go up to them and start a conversation, the way confident people do in the movies. But this is the real world, you’re not a Hollywood star, and so the moment passes.
Does this situation sound familiar? It's a common affliction with singles, those who haven't given up on finding new romance, but aren't quite sure how to kick-start it. It's not as if a grown man or woman can just flirt, as they might have done in their more assured youth. Or can they?
Well, why not?
Flirting is a fun, liberating activity for people of any age. You don't have to be a super model or even overly outgoing to be a confident flirt. You just have to understand the principles of flirting.
Flirting is a state of mind. People who know how to flirt enjoy meeting other people, taking the initiative and striking up conversations wherever they go. The result may lead to friendship or a romance – or it may not. No problem. When you flirt because you enjoy it, it frees you to be in "the moment," to be authentic and to have fun.
Flirting without an agenda puts others at ease. People don't mind talking to you if they think you're genuinely interested in them, rather than solely aiming for an outcome. Focus on the other person. The better you get at asking playful, open-ended questions, and showing genuine interest in their responses, the better you'll become at creating genuine rapport - without which, nothing can possibly happen.
The more interesting and thought-provoking your questions, the more likely you will have a memorable and intriguing interaction. For example, you might ask, “If you could be anyone of the opposite sex for a day (living or deceased), who would you be, and why?” or “What’s one thing that never fails to make you smile?” Another great ice-breaker is “Complete this sentence: I am the most __________ person you will ever meet.”
Flirting with a graceful exit puts you at ease. Flirting can be a beginning, or it can be an end in itself. It is not a contract that says you have to get a phone number, give a phone number, or ask someone out.
Know how to bow out with grace and dignity. If you sense someone is not open to you initiating a conversation, respect their feelings. Be aware when the conversation is coming to a natural end, don’t overstay your welcome, and genuinely thank the other person for interacting with you.
Above all, be yourself and focus on the experience rather than the outcome. And only if you feel that the other person is open and receptive to the idea should you ask if you can see them again.
Don't think that flirting isn't appreciated. Almost everyone loves the acknowledgement that people find them attractive. They appreciate it when others make the first move. So keep in mind that you have very little to lose, and everything to gain.
Successful flirting is based on the idea that you only lose when you stop trying. As long as you are starting conversations, putting your best self forward, and taking genuine interest in other people’s stories and opinions, your efforts will eventually result in success.
Even if it doesn't directly win you a new romantic partner, learning to open up and approach others will gain you many new friends. And who knows who they know…?