Being A Terrible Flirt Has Actually Helped Me Score Way More Guys—Weird, Right?

They say it takes all kinds. They say attraction is a mysterious thing and there’s someone for everyone. They must be right, because despite my total lack of feminine wiles, I’ve managed to maintain a pretty solid love life over the years. It’s nice to know that even a total bumbler like me can succeed in spite of herself. Here’s why my questionable flirting skills are actually the key to my success:

I once bought “The Art of Seduction ” and it was mostly creepy AF… but also weirdly helpful. It was more in the interest of sociological research than any honest effort to improve my chances—the pseudo-scholarly text cited a bunch of historical examples so it felt sorta legit. But, fact is, if you know how the hell to seduce anyone, you don’t buy that book. While a lot of it was deceitful tripe, one thing I learned is that there are a LOT of ways to approach the game of creating romantic interest. Although I’m not a traditionally astute flirt, it’s all about playing to your strengths. Confidence goes a long way, no matter what.

I learned that sexiness is an attitude. Many years ago, a good friend who was very aware of my gawky style advised me, “It almost doesn’t matter what you do. If you’re being you and rocking it, guys will be drawn to you.” Bless her a thousand times over for her helpful, nonjudgmental wisdom. When I’m nervous about a first date or even about what to say to a cute guy in a bar, I always return to her smart advice—just a savvy, empowering way of saying “be yourself, for cripes sake!”

Online dating is a godsend. Even the shyest girls (i.e., me) can excel when dating funnels through an app. Sometimes, we aren’t great on our feet but with a little prep, we can shine. I’ve met many of my boyfriends and flings through the power of tech. As much as I lament the way social media disrupts face-to-face connection sometimes, I know the internet has played a big role in my romantic success.

I find my fails to be hilarious. When my love life is catastrophic, I take it as an adventure. I become my own source of comedy and refuse to worry too much about my image. I’m proud to say I always have THE best dating stories because they tend to involve tons of improbable pratfalls. No one ever gets bored when I’m hashing out the details with my girls. I’m genuinely okay with being the awkward one.

I think flirts get the short end of the stick. I strive to treat everyone with respect but I’m not immediately friendly. My more magnetic pals unfortunately face a lot of frustration. They’re intuitive and kind and beautiful—and, all right, sometimes they thrive on the attention. But top-level flirts don’t just draw in a slew of sexy, amazing individuals. They actually attract… everybody. That’s a lot to sort through. Then, worse, sexist turds accuse them of being “teases.” So evidently it’s a tease to be charismatic and fabulous and to treat affectionately anyone you meet. I’d way rather sit in my cranky corner warding off those who aren’t on my wavelength. But dammit, you flirty women are true wonders, and don’t you ever forget it!

Some people stupidly can’t differentiate flirts from players. There’s a big difference between a flirt and a player. A player deceitfully leads everyone on. A flirt playfully welcomes everyone to interact. The attitudes can intersect sometimes—a lot of jerks are smooth flirts, but that doesn’t make the two words synonymous. Stereotypes suck and I’ll go to bat for the flirts every time. Still, I’m glad to avoid all the accusations simply by being considered neither a player nor a flirt.

I love ignoring creeps. Flirts engage with everyone around them in some way, whether by playfully putting a hand on a shoulder or studiously ignoring a potential suitor. I burrow into my own weird little world. I’ve mastered the basic social graces—I’m proud to say I’ve not pulled my pants off in public since age four but I also have enough of an outsider streak to keep people at bay when necessary.

The right guys find me despite my walls. Some dudes—or most dudes, TBH—will never spare a thought for the quiet chick staying out of the action. But I never wanted most dudes’ attention in the first place. My philosophy is, “If you’re meant to be there, you’ll be there.” When energies match, everything works. I’m thankful for my introvert nature because despite the occasional soul-crushing loneliness, I can mostly hang on my own. I unapologetically want a good man in my life. And I can handle myself until he comes along. My utter lack of flirting skill is merely another test my prince will have to overcome to prove his worthiness.

I come across as mysterious. I don’t have to think about how much I’m going to reveal or when I’m going to laugh and brush casually against him. I never established a formula for being cute and quirky. I reveal myself at exactly the pace that feels natural to me… or I dart out the damn door and head home to read a novel and drink tea on my couch if I get overwhelmed.

I feel good about myself even if I don’t always project it. I probably come across as painfully humble, but you know what? I feel right. Not superior or anything, but I know who I am and I’m content with that. For some folks, a more demonstrable flirtation feels natural. They should go with their gut and I’ll go with mine. I’m convinced we can all find who we’re meant for as long as we remain true to ourselves.

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