Flirting 101: How To Be Charming & Not Creepy

While the term “flirting” might conjure up thoughts of grade school playgrounds, the truth is, it’s a behavior that we never grow out of. Playful in nature but earnest in intent, a simple flirt can have positively profound, life-changing results.


Flirting is an evolutionary tactic. Let’s review some essential pointers for pulling off a tease with ease. The best thing about flirting is that it’s casual! No need to call your mother and tell her you’ve met the person of your dreams after one bat of an eye. This is your opportunity to experiment and have fun. 

“I’m sorry, I saw you looking at me from across the room and I’m pretty sure there was no one behind me.”

Eyes speak louder than words. We often find ourselves in public settings—on trains and planes; in bank lines and restaurants—unable to stop shooting repeated glances at that attractive stranger. If these looks are periodically returned, take pride in the fact that you’re on that person’s mind between glimpses, and an approach will be warmly welcomed. Of course, do not stare. If you notice someone’s body language turning away from you, or they are avoiding you in general, it is time to keep your eyes to yourself.

Flash those pearly whites.

While “smile” seems like campy advice, smiling is synonymous with approachability, gregariousness and fun. According to psychological studies, smiling opens up social connections, enhances first impressions and increases personal and professional possibilities. It sounds so easy, but smiling isn’t an automatic reflex for everyone. If you think consciously about doing it, it’s a great indicator to someone to open up a conversation with you. Plus, people just like happy people.

“Excuse me, but does my tongue taste funny to you?”

I’ll start off by saying if you and your crush think each other are funny, you’re off to a really good start. In fact, I think it’s an essential foundation for anything serious that may come up down the road. While humor is a deal breaker for almost everyone, the good news is is that there are many types of humor, and you really only need one of them to be on the same wavelength. From self-deprecation, to dirty pick up lines, and of course dark humor. A good measure of if you’re comedically compatible is if you’re not making each other laugh, but laughing at the same things together. The former is an easy mistake.

There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen to it.

Now, some of you are naturally really bad at instinct, so here are some body language rules you should keep in mind while reading your potential partner. At the beginning stages of flirting, it’s wise to keep your signal-sending ambiguous and low risk, and there’s no better way to test the waters of mutual interest than by exercising your sense of touch. Beware of not going overboard, however. This may not be the time for a sensual massage at the bar. A simple, seemingly-casual collar adjustment or lean of your shoulder into their body puts the ball of touch in their court. If they return your touch, consider it kinesthetically calculated.

“You mentioned you went to Bali. How was the food there?”

Show them your listening and keep the momentum going. Play off of details they’ve already mentioned to show them that you genuinely are interested in what they have to say. On the other hand, most of us have encountered the awkward silence of dates when there is simply no momentum. If you don’t have much in common and find it a chore to maintain the conversation, maybe consider this encounter a lesson instead of a romantic blessing. Eventually, you should be comfortable enough in silence with your partner, but not during the flirting phase.

“I don’t know about you, but I had an awesome time getting to know you tonight and would love to see you again.”

Can we finally admit that playing hard to get is kinda lame? I mean, I guess it was kinda fun in high school? You can still be charming and mysterious while expressing your interest. It’s like a job interview, you want to reiterate your thoughts at the end, clearly and concisely. We’re all a little guilty of misinterpretation, so make sure you close like a total boss. You can maintain that push-pull later, like via text, by showing your potential partner that you understand your worth and won’t settle. If you’re expecting your crush to work for it, you better be willing to work for it too. Flirtation is a two-way road, and while this may sound more serious than what you think of when you hear the word, just don’t waste anybody’s time. Experimenting is fun and a given in dating. 

While fun and playful in nature, flirting is the essential first step toward life’s most fundamental, pleasurable and glorious undertaking, which without, none of us would ever be here (we’re talking about sex!).