Flirting 101: What is Flirting & Why Am I Doing it Wrong?

How to FlirtIn my teaching, I often get the question, “What is flirting, exactly?”  While it seems simple in the abstract, there are a lot of different ways to describe it.

For me, in order to have this discussion, I also have to introduce the phrase “hitting on.”  These are the two most used expressions to talk about men/women love interactions.  Flirting is the more innocuous of the two, while hitting on is much more direct, with a specific outcome in mind.

When we flirt, the objective is to be playful and let the other person know that they caught our attention.  As this is the more innocent of the two major ways to show interest, it can be more widely used in one’s everyday life.  You can flirt with an elderly lady at your grandparents’ retirement home, “Oh Gladys, you know I love that cardigan! If I were only 10 years older, you’d have lots to worry about!”

She knows that you don’t actually want to sleep with her, but you sure made her feel good!

Now, when you are speaking with someone your own age that you are interested in, make sure you keep the tone as light and fun as you did talking to Gladys.  If it’s too heavy-handed, it can easily move into the hitting on realm and be misconstrued as coming on too strong.

Pretend you're talking to a grandmother.Tweet This Quote

Let me give you an example of the difference between the two.  If you’re being introduced to a friend’s friend at a bar, you say, “Hi Tina!  Wow!  You have super sexy eyes!”  This would be hitting on her.  It’s very direct, not too subtle and she know that you have a lust/romantic interest in her.  I know it might just be what comes to your head, but it can come across as too forward.

Instead, what if you had said, “Hi Tina!  Wow, I’m flattered to meet you.  Jim said you were cute, but I didn’t I didn’t realize he was such an understater!”  You’re still letting her know you are interested, but it is done in a complimentary way that allows her to feel good about herself without feeling like you are figuring out your plan of attack.

Let’s look at some more specific examples:

Top 5 Tips Flirting Tips for Guys

1) Try to be Comfortable.

You have to focus on yourself first.  Put yourself in situations in which you feel comfortable.  If you’re a “salt-of-the-earth” type, don’t try to throw on a suit and pretend you feel good.  If you’re uncomfortable, people can sense it.  The best way of countering this is to put yourself in a situation or environment where you are at ease.

So many people, rightly so, try new experiences to meet people.  But don’t forget about doing things that you LIKE!  Join a Meetup group, volunteer, or get on a fun sports team.  If you are enjoying the things you are doing, your body language is going to be much more at ease, allowing you to flirt much more comfortably!

2) Have the Right Attitude.

Women can smell intent!  They know why you are talking to them!  And this makes them throw up their guard.  The right attitude is everything.  You should be wanting to engage in conversation with a fellow interesting person.  If you constantly have the goal that you must get a phone number or date out of every conversation, you’re going to be trying too hard and she will sense it.

She'll sense if you're trying too hard.Tweet This Quote

Your goal should be to BE interesting and to engage a fellow interesting human being in a fun convo.  If it goes well, then make a date to see the person again.  Then you can start showing a little more interest!

3) Be Interesting.

As I alluded to in the previous example, you have to be interesting in order to meet interesting people!  We all love to meet fascinating people, don’t we?  What do you have that makes you interesting to talk to?  Have some interesting life anecdotes, be aware of what’s happening in the news, and have a hobby!

The more interesting you are, the more interesting people you’ll attract.  Think about the “Most Interesting Man in the World” Dos Equis commercials.  Does he do those interesting things in ORDER to meet women?  No.  Does he meet women BECAUSE he is that interesting?  YES!

4) Have a Goal in Mind.

This is a simple thing that can trip up so many guys!  When you start cooking, your goal is not to create a seven course dinner, it’s to not f*&# it up.  Same thing with dating.  You can’t jump right into the deep end every time.  Start small.  Say, “I’m going to talk to 5 people tonight.”  See how that goes.

Without sounding too New Age-y, your “goal” is to commune with another human being.  If that goes well, then maybe your next goal is “find out where they went to school and fun things to do around there.”  It will give you a reachable goal and increase your confidence, allowing you to set larger and larger goals.

5) Learn to tease

What is teasing?  Basically, it’s a way to gently poke fun at someone.

Do “nice guys” tease?  They do not!  They don’t want to risk her getting offended.  Teasing is fun because it introduces an element of danger to the conversation.  You’re showing that you’re confident enough that even with a little teasing, you’re sure that you are going to keep her attention.  Just be careful on the tone and never, NEVER “neg” a girl.  That just shows your own insecurities.

And remember, flirting isn’t over when you “get” the girl!  They fell for you because they liked everything about you, including your flirting.  So don’t forget to continue to flirt with your new girlfriend!

Watch this video to learn more about how to flirt, and then make your way over to Lavalife to wow your matches!

About Hunt Ethridge

Hunt Ethridge
Hunt is a dating and relationship expert that has consulted hundreds of men and women over the years. He is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of International Dating Coach Association (IDCA) as well as the senior coach at New York Dating Coach. See more about Hunt at DatingCoach.org and NewYorkDatingCoach.com.
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