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Flirting Dos and Dont's

* Although sometimes it seems that there are very few similarities between genders, some basic guidelines apply to anyone who is about to flirt it up with the opposite sex. The main goal of flirtation is to convey that you are interested in the other person without coming out and saying it (which can invite rejection and embarrassment). But it's worth restating that flirting doesn't have to be romantic at all. In fact, you may be better off just thinking of it as a good general social skill. These dos and don'ts will help you accomplish more with your flirting.

Flirting Dos

1. Do be prepared.
* This especially applies if you are going somewhere like a party where you know you'll likely be seriously exercising your flirting muscles.
* Make sure you're showered and smelling nice. This seems obvious, but an offensive odor or bad breath really tends to hamper your flirting abilities.
* Wear clothing that reflects your style and fits your body type. Dress yourself so you'll be feeling comfortable and confident.
2. Do make eye contact.
* This is one of the simplest and best ways to determine whether or not you should initially approach someone.
* You can tell a lot by that first moment of eye contact. Hold the contact with them for a few moments, then slowly look away. Be careful not to stare and look creepy... A smile or friendly expression can help avoid this.
* If they smile back at you, the flirting has officially begun.
* If you catch them constantly looking at you, that's a good sign you should talk to them.
* Retaining good eye contact while talking to them shows that you're interested.
3. Do control your body language.
* Body language is everything. The fact is, what you say is not nearly as important as what you do.
* Confident body language is the key ingredient to flirtation. You do not want to look insecure or afraid of talking to someone new.
* Standing up straight and keeping your head up are two basic elements of good body language. Be sure you look approachable. Don't cross your arms in front of you, and keep your hands from covering your face. Be careful not to keep your hands in your pockets all the time, and never put them all the way in.
* Mirroring is an effective flirting technique which involves making similar movements and assuming the same positive body language as the person you're flirting with.
* Be very aware of how your gestures and movements reflect your confidence level. Too much hand fidgeting can make you look nervous, for example. Just remember that you want to relax, and look cool and comfortable.
4. Do initiate converstation.

4. Do initiate converstation.
* When flirting, it really doesn't matter what you say so much as how you say it. Consequently, having an arsenal of witty pickup lines isn't really necessary or recommended.
* Often, just saying "Hi" is all it takes to start up a conversation.
* Making an observation (about something they're wearing, about the crazy party you're at) is a great way to begin. Try to think of something they haven't already heard 10 times that day.
* The more unique your conversation starter, the more you will stand out. The more you stand out, the more interesting you seem. Just remember that if you do decide to use a pickup line to begin the conversation, try to pick one that is appropriate, funny, and innocuous.
Use observations about your surroundings as conversation starters. (Creative Commons photo by Ingrid)
Use observations about your surroundings as conversation starters. (Creative Commons photo by Ingrid)
5. Do engage them with how unbelievably interesting you are.
* Once you've begun talking, your next challenge is to not bore them to death.
* Funny jokes are always good, but you can really be impressive if you show off your listening skills.
* Ask questions and bring up things they said earlier in the conversation. This shows them you've been paying attention.
* Don't treat it like a job interview; you don't need to dive in and start asking them for their name, birthday, hometown, favorite color, and number of siblings. Mix personal questions about them with funny observations about that guy doing a keg stand in the corner.
* Slowly reveal interesting and relevant information about yourself as the conversation goes on. Highlight things the other person mentions that you have in common, as this can be a great way to keep their interest and perpetuate the conversation.
6. Do use humor.
* One of the best things two people can share while getting comfortable with each other is a good laugh. Make them laugh, and make them laugh often!
* Be careful not to get too comfortable when joking around... Cross the line with a joke and you may never be able to recover.
7. Do smile.

7. Do smile.
* Keep the conversation light and positive and don't forget to smile.
* Showing that you're enjoying yourself will help both sides stay in the moment and know that nobody's getting bored.
* You don't have to look like it's the single greatest moment of your life. A friendly smile will do just fine.
8. Do look out for signs and signals.
* Keep an eye out for warning signs. If you come across signals that this person is not interested in flirting (or even talking) with you, make a swift and immediate exit. There will always be someone else to talk to instead of wasting your time and effort on someone who isn't interested.
* Some bad signals include looking around the room for what else is going on, turning their back to you, grabbing the nearest person in a desperate attempt to stop talking to you, and throwing a drink in your face.
* Also be aware of positive signals like open body language. Some of these are detailed in the gender-specific sections below.
* It takes some practice to learn to recognize all of the signals. The more you flirt, the more you'll understand what their responses mean.
9. Do seal the deal.
* So your flirtatious encounter has been going well... Great! Now would be a great time to ask for a phone number or email address (which can seem more non-confrontational). Otherwise you may miss a golden opportunity to see this person again.
* You could also give them your contact info, but doing so puts the ball in their court and you risk them not calling you.
* Once you have successfully done this and maybe even made arrangements to see each other again, make your exit. The longer you stick around, the more chances you'll have of blowing it.
10. Do practice.
* After all, practice makes perfect. The more people you flirt with, the better you'll get at knowing what you should be doing and what to look out for. Plus it's easy... You can practice flirting with people every day!

Flirting Don'ts

1. Don't take it too seriously.
* Remember that most flirting is all in good fun and just a way to meet new people. Most folks you flirt with you'll never even talk to again. Let's face it—that may be a good thing for some of those situations.
A cold stare is none too inviting. (Creative Commons photo by Michelle Jones)
A cold stare is none too inviting. (Creative Commons photo by Michelle Jones)
2. Don't act like a stalker.
* Surprisingly, people don't enjoy being creeped out.
* Things such as staring ominously, humorless flirtatious remarks, and saying you want to have children with someone after first meeting them are usually quick turn-offs.
* If the object of your menacing attention actually responds positively, you might be a bit weirded out yourself.
3. Don't flirt in inappropriate places.
* Flirt at your own risk in the workplace. If you do decide to attempt this, keep it G-rated unless you enjoy a good sexual harassment lawsuit.
* Use your best judgment as to whether a situation is conducive to flirting or not. It is generally frowned upon to flirt at a funeral, for example. Use some common sense.
4. Don't be arrogant.
* Confidence + humor can be a magical combination when it comes to flirting. Even a little bit of cocky humor can go a long way. But misjudge the balance and you'll come across as arrogant.
* Although you want the other person to get to know you a little, don't talk about yourself too much. If you catch yourself doing this, start asking them questions about themself instead.
* Arrogance is neither funny nor flirty. It's really just irritating.
5. Don't be too forward.
* Don't lose sight of the fact that you've just met this person. If you try to gently segue a compliment about the person's sense of style into a comment that they would probably enjoy meeting your parents before you get engaged, you're likely to see that smile fade into a look of horror.
* Although this applies mostly to the fellas, girls should know that coming off as desperate or overly aggressive can be just as unattractive to the male species.
6. Don't talk about your ex.
* The last thing anyone wants to hear about is what your ex was like. They don't care. Leave your exes out of it!
7. Don't be rude.

7. Don't be rude.
* Most flirting is done in public places, so inevitably others may try to join in on the chatting. Even if you're truly "in the zone" while flirting with someone, don't purposely exclude or shut someone out of the conversation. Acting rude won't impress anybody.
8. Don't overstay your welcome.
* Some quality conversations can last for a half hour. Some of them can last 10 minutes. If you hit a lull, it's time to decide if it's been going well enough to ask for some contact information, or if it's about time you moved on.
* If they begin talking to someone else and ignoring you, you can pretty much consider your conversation over.

9. Don't over do it with the cologne/perfume.
* Yes, you want to smell nice. No, you don't want your skin glistening with aftershave when you approach someone new. A true friend will help you learn the art of scented subtlety.
10. Don't keep trying with someone who just isn't interested.
* Sometimes you just need to cut your losses. If they're playing hard to get when you first meet them, they're probably not playing at all.
* It's really not worth your time to go after someone who doesn't appreciate your advances. Try not to test the line between persistence and restraining order.
11. Don't flirt with someone you shouldn't be flirting with.
* Other people's significant others should be considered off limits. Seems obvious, right?
* Sure, sometimes you won't know if they're in a relationship. But as soon as you establish that they have a boyfriend/girlfriend, you'll probably want to knock it off or risk being knocked out.
* This goes double for husbands and wives.
* If their boyfriend/girlfriend comes up in conversation, don't be rude and immediately storm off in frustration. Either keep flirting in friend-mode or politely excuse yourself at an appropriate time.
* Flirting with your boss or any professional superior is not the best idea, no matter how much you want that raise.

Flirting by Gender

* If you feel like you have a pretty good handle on the fundamentals of flirting, it's about time you got into some more detail to really fine-tune your courting ritual (and recognize when someone is flirting with you). It's about this time that the specifics start to depend on the gender you're dealing with. Read on for a few pointers.

Tips for Girls

1. Look nice.
* Guys tend to be a little more visually-oriented than girls. You don't have to overdo it, but you should be conscious of your appearance.

2. Smile!
* We did already go over this, but it's very important to look genuine and approachable instead of cold and nasty. Otherwise the flirting may never even begin.
3. Be yourself.
* Don't try to dumb it down. Most guys would rather talk to a girl who can actually carry on a conversation.
* Don't try too hard. Just be yourself and be friendly!
4. Give the right signals.
* Play with your hair, laugh at his jokes, bat your eyelashes, touch his arm. Giving signals that you're interested and enjoying yourself will encourage the flirting to continue, possibly to the next level.
5. If you're into it, go for it.
* In this day and age, it's not always up to the guy to make a move. Especially if you are dealing with a shy person, it's perfectly acceptable for you to initiate the next step in the flirting process.
6. Don't flirt with someone you're not interested in.
* Guys often mistake regular friendliness for romantic flirting. If you're not interested in someone, flirting with them will only lead them on and possibly create an awkward scene later (even if you thought you gave some pretty obvious signals).

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Tips for Guys

1. Listen!
* It's true, we already went over this before. But this is extremely important for the gender that's most listening-challenged.
* Listen for key words and phrases that she says that you can bring up later or ask questions about to keep the conversation going.
* Listen for open-ended questions that may be a set-up to ask her out. This can work with common interests ("do you like mini golfing?") and especially anything having to do with dinner, movies, or other date-like activities.
* Because listening can be so difficult for guys, she will notice if you do it well.
2. Keep relaxed body language.
* Lean back instead of in when talking to her. You want to come off as confident and relaxed, not desperate and needy.
3. Be naughty and nice.
* Mixing the occasional compliment with playful teasing can keep her guessing what you'll say next.
* Keep your sense of humor in full force. Just insulting her will end your flirting before it's begun. The idea is to add an element of mystery and unexpectedness.
* Simply gushing over her with a steady stream of compliments can actually make you seem desperate.
Add up the signals to see if she's interested (Creative Commons photo by ThisParticularGreg)
Add up the signals to see if she's interested (Creative Commons photo by ThisParticularGreg)
4. Add up the signs.
* Math may not be your strong suit, but you can't take any one signal as your guaranteed ticket in. Women tend to be naturally flirtatious, and men often mistake friendliness for romantic interest. Also, some signals may be a false alarm (crossing her arms could just mean she's cold). Therefore, you need to assess as many signals as you possibly can in order to establish whether she is interested or not.
* Some positive signals include:
1. Constant eye contact with dilated pupils
2. Touching your arm or leg during conversation
3. Crossing her leg towards you
4. Playing with her hair
5. Hearty laughter at your jokes
6. Eyelash batting
7. Compliments
* Some negative signals include:
1. Crossing her arms
2. Not retaining eye contact/looking distant or uninterested
3. Leaning away when you lean in, or turning her body away
4. Constantly repeating how great her boyfriend is (some guys just don't get the hint)
5. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
* The only true way to guarantee that nothing will come from your attempt at flirting is to not flirt at all.


* You can talk all day about the concepts and principles of flirting, but nothing will help you more than going out and doing it. This page should give you a great place to start from, but eventually you will learn to recognize even more signals and develop your own flirting style. If you ever need to brush up, read through this page until you internalize it a bit better. Now get out there and have some fun!

Some more is on my Soccer blog