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…?
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.