Flirting, also known as "interacting amorously with others without serious intent," in the words of New York City-based therapist and flirting guru Susan Rabin, M.A., used to mean that you were a tease. Not anymore. Flirting has become a necessity. The reason? Longer work hours and communication technologies like E-mail are isolating us and depriving us of social interactions, says Rabin, author of 101 Ways to Flirt (Plume, 1997).
Contrary to popular belief, the point of flirting isn't necessarily to find your soul mate, or even a one-night stand. Flirting with strangers, from the mailman to the hottie who works at the video store, is a low-pressure way to boost your self-confidence and get over that ever-present fear of rejection. If the Starbucks cashier smiles back at you, you feel attractive; if he or she doesn't, so what? He or she wasn't the man or woman of your dreams anyway.
Getting good at flirting pays off in two ways. It makes you more comfortable approaching others, and makes you more approachable to others. Bottom line: The more people you flirt with, the better your chances of meeting someone with whom you click.
Flirting is a skill anyone can learn, and practice makes perfect. What follows are Rabin's tips for meeting new people.
Tips for Women
- Next time you're at a party, don't stand in a group of friends. There may be safety in numbers, but it's intimidating enough for a guy to face one woman, much less three or four. You're more approachable if you're standing solo. Just let your girlfriends know where you are so they can look out for you.
- Smile, smile, smile. This one simple action makes you more approachable and more attractive.
- Send short, repetitive glances in a guy's direction. They let the guy know that you're interested. Timing is key here. Too short a glance, and you look nervous. But long, searching looks can be more scary than seductive.
- If you're already talking to the guy, a lingering look is appropriate. Holding his gaze lets him know you're interested in what he's sayingand in him.
- Flip your hair and lick your lips. It may sound cheesy, but these are probably the best-known moves of female flirting, and for good reason: they work.
- Lean in close or whisper. This tells the guy that you're inviting him into your personal space, and it forces him to get physically closer to you.