By Barbara Katz
Does the thought of flirting over the holidays send you into the fetal position curled up under your coffee table? Or perhaps it conjures up images of a wolf stalking its prey?
Whatever your preconceptions, it’s time to change your perspective on flirting. Because if you change your perspective, you can change your outcomes.
And if you want to meet new people, what better time than the
holidays, the one time a year when it's permissible to be "merry," and there's a party on every corner?
No matter what age you are, flirting is something that happens
naturally. The urge to flirt is stamped on our DNA.
Since the beginning of history, humans have wanted to connect with each other. Not just in an emotional way, but to continue the lineage of the species. We are all descendants of successful flirters.
So flirting shouldn’t be nerve-racking or scary. At its best, flirting is fun, light-hearted and empowering. It's simply connecting with another person to say, “I find you attractive, and I am open to having a conversation.”
You don't need mistletoe to do your flirting for you. Here are five tips for more effective flirting at your next Christmas party.
1. Feel Good Before You Go Out
Let’s face it. If you are in a bad mood before you go out on the town, no amount of forced smiles and looking interested in conversations will hide it. You will be sending out a vibe of “back off, I’m having a bad day” that would scare off the Sugar Plum Fairy.
Before you step out to your holiday festivities, do something that puts a smile on your face and makes you feel good.
Maybe it’s working out, or going for a walk. Perhaps it’s having a tug of war with your dog or cranking up “Bohemian Rhapsody” in your car and singing at the top of your lungs. Do whatever makes you feel good so that you can genuinely be in a happy mood when you arrive.
Like it or not, the moment you step into the party your body language will radiate the emotions you are feeling.
2. Be Approachable
You’ve seen people at social gatherings who just slouch by the egg nog, texting on their phone, never looking up. Or people who look like they want to fade into the walls, or try to take up as little physical space as possible.
Who would want to approach these people, let alone flirt with them? Their body language is all closed up. Subconsciously they are sending the message, “I’m not open to being approached.”
The easiest way to let people know you are open is to smile and make eye contact. A cute, cheeky grin and a twinkle in your eye helps, too. It makes people wonder what you’re up to and makes them curious to come over and talk with you.
Use open, confident body language, such as standing tall with your chest out and arms in a more open position. This sends the subconscious message, “I’m open to meeting new people.”
3. Master the “Dreaded Opening Line”
Flirting starts to become "real" when one person is brave enough to approach another. Beware of corny opening lines such as: “Do you come here often?” or “I’m not the best photographer in the world, but I can picture us together.” Why? Because these are clichés. And more importantly, they aren't you.
The best “opening line” is the simplest: “Hello, my name is John [or Jane]. What’s yours?” Yes, that’s it! A friendly “Hello” with a genuine smile also works wonders. The important point is that you actually break the ice and make contact in a friendly, authentic way. Being confident and real is extremely appealing -- to both sexes.
4. Ask fun, light, open-ended questions
Once you're talking with other people, being genuinely curious about them makes you more attractive.
Ask fun, playful opening questions such as, "What's your favorite holiday cartoon?", or even, “If you hitchhiked with Santa on Christmas Eve, where would you ask to be dropped off, and why?”
Questions like these will open the door to interesting and memorable conversations. They also help the flow of the conversation meander in many possible directions, so both of you can share in a fun, genuine way.
5. Be in the moment, with no agenda
When you arrive at a party with a self-imposed agenda such as, “I’m going to get a date before I leave this event,” you put pressure on yourself. You can get so focused on the end goal that you forget to be in the moment and enjoy the person in front of you. Does that sound like fun to you? Would you want to flirt with someone who's on a mission?
Above all, stay away from the mistletoe. Demanding a kiss for standing under decorative shrubbery smacks of coercion - and pressure is the enemy of flirting.
Going out with no expectations allows the event to unfold freely without your trying to guide it in any one direction. You are freer to allow your authentic, attractive self to shine through. And your holiday - and even your New Year - can be merry and bright.
About The Author
Barbara Katz is an interpersonal communications professional who specializes in communication between the sexes.
She is dedicated to helping people recognize that flirting is a fun, playful empowering activity. Through workshops, presentations, articles and other media she teaches people new skills and strategies to increase their self confidence when connecting with others.