How to Flirt in 5 Simple Steps
Fear not friends! To help you turn a fleeting glance into a lifetime of petty arguments, I’m going to share my five foolproof steps to flirting. They’ve worked* for me and I can guarantee with absolutely no reservations** that they’ll work for you too.
Step 1 — Ignore
It all begins when you notice the person you’d like to woo. Maybe they’re shy and smart. Maybe they’re rich. Maybe they’re that lumberjack-looking guy in your bowling league. Whatever criteria you use to determine your target, it’s time to take step one. This is easy because all you have to do is act like they’re not around.
This may sound counterintuitive, but trust me, I’m a master of this technique. You see, this approach works in two ways. First, your cool aloofness shows that you’re definitely not obsessed with the other person. The last thing you want to do is display your sexual interest like some unstable peacock. Pretending not to care is what separates us from the animals. Second, by ignoring the object of your seduction, you create an air of mystery.
After all, if someone goes out of their way not to speak with you and refuses to acknowledge your existence, wouldn’t you be curious? You definitely wouldn’t assume that the person is stuck-up, rude, or mute.
Step 2 — Tease
After you have been silently coexisting with the other person for several weeks, preferably in some mutual but neutral setting — such as the workplace, a shared friend group, or your Thursday night bowling league — now is the time to start communicating.
Anyone can say “hi” or compliment him on his cool neon bowling shoes. That’s why you have to be observant and creative. After all these weeks, you’ve surely noticed some aspect of their personality or lifestyle that you can turn into a quick barb. Such as the little wrist flick he does when he’s trying to pick up the spare. Make fun of that.
Like a jab with a fencing saber, the goal is not to injure, but rather to let the other person know you are there. And that you’ve noticed their weaknesses. Because vulnerability is the foundation of intimacy.
When you poke at your crush’s soft underbelly — but don’t totally eviscerate them — you are demonstrating that you really have been noticing them for all these weeks. You’re saying, “I have enough interest in you to see some quirk or idiosyncrasy that most people miss. My clever but playful remark shows that I understand you.”
Everyone wants to be understood.
Step 3 — Fantasize
By this point, you should be able to talk to your crush. Not in-depth one-on-one conversations, of course, just small talk at group gatherings and the occasional affectionate insult. Now is the time to really get to know the other person. In your mind. Hypothetically.
Imagine yourself in various situations with the other person: at a party, stuck in an elevator, going on a worldwide trip as lifelong partners. What will you talk about? What will you learn about them? What surprising experiences and interests will you have in common?
This is an incredibly important and fulfilling part of your flirtation. This is when you have those deep, raw conversations. When you find out their most dearly held values. When they divulge their greatest fears. When you discover that they have exactly the same opinions about family, religion, politics, and money as you do.
In your mind. Hypothetically.
Your fantasies are like practice and practice makes perfect. You are going to be SO READY when the other person inevitably makes a clear move to initiate intimacy.
Step 4 — Suffer in Silence
This part hurts, but nothing worth having ever came easy. So when your crush begins dating someone else, you have to play the long game. Don’t corner them and declare your love. Don’t shoot longing looks at him holding hands with the shoe rental lady. Don’t slash the tires of her moped. In time, this interloper will slash their own tires.
If you and your crush are meant to be (which you obviously are, remember how much you had in common in those fantasies?), this dalliance of theirs will be short-lived. Until then, however, you have to be patient. Remember what the shampoo bottle says: you must rinse and repeat. Return to Step 1, buoyed by the knowledge that you have already invested so much time and energy into your flirtations that, this time around, you’ll be an old pro.
Step 5 — Success
Depending on how long it takes for your crush to see what’s right under their nose, you may have to suffer through this cycle several times. But one Thursday, after one of those breakups, your crush will look up at you and everything will change. When you meet their gaze from across the lane, you’ll see shocked recognition in their face. Their eyes, though breathtaking as ever, will finally see what you’ve known all along.
They’ll stand up from their seat next to the ball return doohickey, set aside their plastic cup of snack bar beer, and cross the lane to take the greasy, plastic chair next to you. As a symphony of crashing pins and crying children swells in the background, your crush will compliment your bowling ball and ask if you want to start a new game.
*Like all words, “worked” is open to interpretation.
**No need to make reservations. It’s only flirting. Keep it casual. Go to Chipotle or something.
Image: Ibrahim Asad