Some people are born with an abundance of charm and social graces, and they never second-guess an opportunity to talk to someone they find attractive. But for the rest of us, figuring out how to flirt with a crush is like trying to solve a riddle in a language you don’t speak. Luckily, you don’t have to be fluent in the language of seduction and charm to flirt successfully. All you need are some pointers. Here’s how to flirt with your crush effortlessly.
- Begin with eye contact. One of the best ways to avoid embarrassment is to test the waters by making meaningful eye contact. If they look back at you with a similar intensity and start to initiate glances of their own, you can move on to more direct tactics. In contrast, if they meet your gaze with a blank stare or casually break eye contact, you can probably conclude that they’re not interested.
- Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Some people have such a hard time approaching their crush that they won’t make the first move even if they know that their feelings are reciprocated. Waiting indefinitely for the other person to initiate contact can prevent two people who are openly attracted to each other from ever getting together. There is no place for shame or embarrassment in romance. You just have to put yourself out there. Otherwise, you could be waiting forever.
- Keep it casual. When you work up the nerve to approach them, make sure you don’t let your heightened emotions drown your chances of a great interaction. The situation will feel intense for you, but if that intensity seeps into your conversation, they will think you’re coming on too strong. Keep it light. Use a cheesy pickup line or compliment them. If you can make them smile or laugh, you’re on the right track.
- Exude confidence. People are attracted to confidence because it’s infectious. It makes them feel calm, secure, and at ease in your presence. Awkwardness, on the other hand, makes people feel unnerved because it, too, is catching. The more confident you are when you approach your crush the more impressed and receptive they will be.
- Compliment them. A genuine compliment goes a long way. It’s disarming, especially when it’s about something personal such as their appearance (their smile, their eyes, their style) or their character (their sense of humor, intelligence, charisma). People soften when they feel understood, and compliments are a great place to start. Make them feel attractive and recognized, and you will have their attention.
- Break the ice over text. If you’re too nervous to say how you feel in person, try texting. Don’t let the screen feel like too much of a shield, though. You still need to take things slowly and make sure your feelings are reciprocated. The same rules apply to texting as they do to in-person flirting: keep it light, be confident, and don’t come on too strong.
- Be a good listener. Successful flirting has a lot more to do with listening than it does with talking. This is especially true if you’re a guy trying to flirt with a girl. Women are constantly having to listen to men talk about themselves and their greatness. If you want to show someone that you are partner material, ask them questions and listen attentively to their answers. For something so easy, it’s a mystery why more people don’t do it.
- Casually touch their arm. Breaking the touch barrier should be handled with so much delicacy that it almost goes unnoticed. Hopefully, the sexual tension will be so high by the time you do this that even the lightest brush will send shock waves through your bodies. If you’re too heavy-handed (literally) you will seem over-eager and even inappropriate. Start small and take it from there based on the response you get from the other person.
- Leave them wanting more. Flirting is like a dance. It requires finesse and knowing when to lead and when to follow. Once you’ve established that the feelings are mutual, you should draw them in even deeper by retreating. Play hard to get for a little while now that you know they’re interested. Let them chase you. This will trick them into thinking that they’re the one who’s been infatuated from the beginning, not you.
- Smile. When flirting makes you feel nervous and inept, smiling is the last thing you want to do. But even if it feels unnatural, it will make you more appealing. Studies have shown that a happy facial expression determines a person’s perceived level of attractiveness, and smiling can even compensate for “relative unattractiveness.” If you’re self-conscious about your looks, smiling will go a long way in covering up any imperfections you might have.
- Find common ground. No matter how killer your pick-up line is, you need to have something else up your sleeve if you want the relationship to go anywhere. The easiest way to always have conversational material is to find things that you share. Maybe you love the same music, grew up in the same city, or support the same sports team. Finding common ground will bring you closer and give you an excuse to start conversations.
- Laugh off the awkwardness. Being able to make a joke out of an awkward situation will serve you well because no one can get through the first stages of a relationship without embarrassment. Whether you say something that accidentally sounds sexual or you knock over your glass of water at a restaurant, something will inevitably come up. The difference between it being painfully awkward and memorably hilarious is whether or not you can turn it into a joke. Be the hero of the story, not the victim.
What to do when your crush doesn’t flirt back
Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the response you were hoping for. If this happens, there are some rules you should follow:
- Don’t push. Unless your flirting is so subtle that your crush actually has no idea that you like them, you have to accept defeat and move on. Trying to convince them that they should like you will have the opposite effect, and at some point, you will just look pushy and aggressive. Take the hints they’re sending and move on.
- Understand that it isn’t about you. It can be hard to recognize this when you’ve just been rejected by the person you were trying to impress, but their lack of interest has nothing to do with your worth. You don’t know what’s going on in their lives–they might be in a complicated romantic situation or not in the right mental space for a relationship. There is an infinite number of reasons that they may not have feelings for you, and only a tiny fraction of them are about you. Don’t take it personally.
- Do an inventory of your best qualities. If you still can’t shake the feeling of rejection, shift your focus. What are the qualities that you and your loved ones appreciate most about you? What are the unique gifts that make you a valuable colleague and irreplaceable friend? How do you take care of yourself when you’re feeling low? Identify the things you appreciate about yourself, and you’ll remember why you are worthy of love. There is someone out there who will recognize these qualities and want nothing more than to be your partner.