Having Sex and Relationships
(Column: Sex and Relationships)
Advice on connecting with a mate
Lance Harrison & Fiona Wellington
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Anonymous Question: Hey guys. Lovin' your column! I'm a single person always looking for the right one. I've got friends and when we hang at bars and clubs to meet people I clam up 'cause I have no clue what to do. What I need is a step-by-step approach to flirting. I always see people I'd want to get to know, but I'm not sure how to show them I'm interested. I think if I can get flirting down, there will be no stopping me! Please help.

Lance: I'm glad at least someone is lovin' something these days! I originally addressed this question with some ironic opening lines, fringing on irreverent—giving Fiona plenty of liberty to expound on her useful perspective. We have never met, nor do we know what the other's response will be on these questions—so let us know your really difficult questions. We'll do our best to calm your loins and inspire your own innate ability to deserve and find love.

My experience has been that if you have the guts for an attention-grabbing, funny yet endearing introduction, then you already have the confidence that often attracts the opposite sex. Some of these lines will help your vernacular. Everyone should read, Opening Lines: Getting Past "Hi" by Colin Lingle http://www.breakupgirl.net/todo/000322.html.

I hate "acting as if you're not really looking" meanwhile your inner psyche is aching for a robust romping that somehow leads to reading The Times in bed together for the next 200 Sunday mornings—naked!

The problem with a step-by-step synopsis, is well, it then becomes contrived. A rehearsed plan might be discovered not to be in your true style. See the movie Hitch, which teaches us all how not being true to yourself by putting on an act can lead to disaster. Try to be confident, but always be true.

Advice? Get a dialogue going online and try the Icarus Project at http://theicarusproject.net.

Dialogues on-line often lead to a desire or wish to meet. The hands down easiest way to coach yourself out of being isolated and get mobile to meet people is by being involved on-line. Caution: be very honest while typing. If you find yourself writing too heavily—too narcissistically—stop. Default to adding something witty yet true.

When you end up meeting you will not have to act since you know each other from chatting online or by email. Admit if you're anxious because chances are so is the person you are meeting.

Have a fun, specific thing or event that you might do together. The more original that first meeting offer is, the more interesting you will be in that person's eyes.

Fiona: Flirting is truly an art form! There are hundreds of books and websites dedicated to this topic (http://www.flirting.net.au/ is a good site, match.com also has several articles on the topic and be sure to visit Barnes and Nobles for books on the topic). Many people don't have a clear sense of what exactly flirting is or how flirting differs from any other type of social interaction. Even people who engage in flirting tend to differ with each other as to its exact nature. Flirting can perhaps best be defined as relaxed, light-hearted communication between two individuals with the intent of getting to know each other better. I think the key to successful flirting is to keep it light and fun. Don't take yourself too seriously and never be afraid to fail. Like so many things in life the journey is often more rewarding than the destination. Here are a few tips for successful flirting. Read carefully, go out and have a great time:

1. Master the art of eye contact

You know when it's happening. You're looking at him/her; now he/she looking at you. Now you're looking away. Now you're looking again; now he/she caught you looking. It's the popular and dreaded game. Popular because it's fun and dreaded because—now what do you do?

Once you're sure you're both playing the game, try acknowledging it. Wave, smile or make some non-threatening gesture. Don't mouth any words, though; very few people can read lips and who knows what they'll think you're trying to say?

2. Take the direct approach

Want to learn the greatest pick-up line? The one that's mature, sophisticated, charming and versatile? Here it is: "Hi, my name is…"

Easy enough? Straightforwardness is refreshing and doesn't leave you with an image to maintain.

3. Drop all pretense and be yourself

Just because you're flirting doesn't mean you need to put on your Don Juana alter ego. There's nothing creepier than flirting with someone who isn't visible beneath the charm. Be yourself and flirt in the spaces in between.

4. Wag that silver tongue

Don't pass up the opportunity to make one honest, original, tasteful, cheese-free compliment: "You laugh like you are really having a great time."

Don't press the point or pile on other compliments; just let the conversation move on. If you can pull it off gracefully, they'll love hearing about themselves without being put on the spot.

5. Begin with body language

Be aware of body language—both yours and the target of your affection. Does he/she lean in or pull away? Are you both facing each other? Are his/her legs crossed? This is the physical level of flirting, and if you're both into it, it's great fun.

Moving into and away from each other's space, people gently test the degree of mutual comfort and attraction. Don't take any touching lightly or rush into their space. A friendly touch on the shoulder or elbow, approached slowly, gives both of you a second to notice and appreciate that first casual physical contact.

6. Remember the kid in you

We've outgrown pulling pigtails and acting up, but flirting still has fun and innocent qualities. Plus, being silly relieves tension. Start things out with a good time, even if it involves napkin origami or playing bottle cap table hockey.
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