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Flirting 101

         Flirting isn’t just having a little fun: it is a universal and essential aspect of human interaction. I mean, if we didn’t initiate contact, we, the human race, would become instinct.

Not only can an exchange of admiring glances or a bit of light-hearted witty banter brighten your day, it can raise your self-esteem and strengthen social bonds, according to the Social Issues Research Centre (SIRC). However, you want to get it right. Sending the right signals is of the essence, especially when you consider that 60 percent of communication is nonverbal. (Only ten percent of communication comes from the actual words themselves. The other 30 comes from how we say the words).

The key to flirting is self-esteem. Confidence serves as a magical charm that makes that handsome man you always see in the elevator want to get to know you! So know your worth! Also, keep in mind that flirting is not an ability to show off and impress, but the knack of conveying that you like someone. If your ‘target’ knows that you find him interesting and attractive, he will be more inclined to like you.

And yet like every other human activity, flirting is governed by a complex set of unwritten laws of etiquette. So, here are effective ways to send him the right signals:

Eye Contact
Your eyes are your prime weapon; they transmit high-powered social signals, states SIRC’s guide to flirting. Subtle and fleeting glances across a bar or coffee shop are definitely a way to catch the object of your desire, adds April Masini, “the new millennium’s Dear Abby” and author of Date Out Of Your League. When your eyes meet hers, gentlemen, give her a slight nod and a little smile… just enough to let her know you’re game.

Proximity
Pay attention to his use of distance. This will tell you a lot about his feelings toward you. Hopefully he will respect your personal space but still show signs that he wants to infiltrate. Meanwhile, if you lean in a lot when he is speaking to you, that’s a pretty big clue that you want him to get closer, says Masini. I say let him get a whiff of how delish you smell and what a confident catch you are.

Attention Boys! No matter where, when, or how — even if it seems accidental — if a woman touches you, she’s sent you a very strong signal she’s interested.

Primping and Preening
“When we women are attracted and feel nervous we primp. We fluff, we play, we tweak, we pull, all in an attempt to steady our nerves and draw his attention,” says Masini. Does it work? Hell yeah! Twirling your hair, for instance, is a definite sign that you’re into him. Don’t worry, chances are you’ll do it naturally without even realizing it. It also shows him that you’re a bit nervous around him, which is a good thing. Pay attention. Is he doing it too?

Smiling and laughing
Flashing your pearly whites is a sure fire sign that you’re digging him. Consider it a bonus if your conversation generates lots of bubbly giggles and genuine laughter. Unlike a broad smile, a sensual one cannot be mistaken. Eyes narrow and your mouth slightly opens, exposing only some of your teeth. No doubt your sly smile shows romantic or sexual interest.

Posture and Gestures
Read his body languge before you proceed. If only his head is turned towards you, with the rest of the body oriented in another direction, this is a sign that you do not have his full attention. Leaning backwards and supporting the head on one hand are signs of boredom. Yawn. ‘Closed’ postures with arms folded and legs tightly crossed indicate disagreement or dislike.

If you do have his full attention, show him that you too are interested and attentive. Orient all of your body towards him. This is called an ‘open’ posture.

And guys, when a woman stands up straight, so should you. This movement, albeit subtle, is one of the single most reliable gestures of interest, adds Masini. “In fact, it’s almost an instinctive movement — one that she probably doesn’t even know she’s doing. But you will.”

The Straw Suck And/Or Lip Lick

Ok. This is a pretty obvious one. Sucking your straw or licking your lips other than to get a piece of food off is about as direct and blatant as it gets, says Masini. “You’re interested. And you’re telling him that you probably want him in your mouth instead of that silly straw.”

When a woman gives you three or more positive non-verbal messages, it’s time to close the deal and get “the message.” So go for it!

According to research, not much has changed over the eons. Males still tend towards an over-optimistic interpretation of female signals, and females still adjust their signals to encourage only selected males. And so as the SIRC site observes “basic flirting instincts persist, and the human species survives!”

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