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Flirting tips from top dating experts

There are many schools of thought when it comes to flirting, but the reason why people flirt remains the same. People flirt to convey or gauge interest in someone they’d like to be dating, or to maintain interest in someone they’re already dating. Sometimes people flirt when they don’t even need to simply because it’s fun or amusing. It can also make people feel good about themselves when their flirting is well-received, or better yet reciprocated.

You don’t need good looks or lots of money to be a good flirt. All you need is the desire to be a flirt and a carefree attitude.
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Despite flirting being an essential part of the dating process, some people don’t know how to do it much less know where to begin. To examine the subject further, let's look to the experts themselves offering up their best flirting tips to help improve your dating experience.

How should you approach flirting?

According to the dating coach JT Tran, also known as The Asian Playboy, there are generally two approaches to flirting - direct and indirect. The direct approach to flirting consists of being obvious about your attraction to someone and/or your intentions, such as letting someone how attractive you find him or her. The indirect approach, on the other hand, is a more subtle approach to flirting which helps you build rapport with someone before expressing interest.

In JT’s experience, the indirect approach works quite well if you have the looks of an Abercrombie model and don’t really have to try. As for those with a disadvantage, JT recommends the direct method of making your intentions known from the get-go. This advice is primarily for men considering JT’s male perspective and background as a pick up artist. Do you think the same advice would apply to women?

Intimacy expert Allana Pratt advises women against what she calls flirting on empty. “When you’re operating on empty, feeling not enough, it comes across as needy, like an agenda or strategy,” says the expert. “It actually repels people like a stereotypical used car salesman. It can also come off as trying too hard, which will only attract people who may use you or manipulate your feelings of unworthiness.

Allana believes the best way to approach flirting is to be absolutely turned on by life. “Flirt with the breeze in your hair, the sun on your face, the beauty around you, the sounds, tastes, and smells that delight your body,” says Pratt. Once you can do that, then she recommends flirting with EVERYONE - men and women, young and old. “Praise people for their stylish outfit, tell a woman how gorgeous her hair is, tell a man how fabulous it is to him open a door for someone.” Pratt believes this is the best way to practice flirting and helps you become more authentic which is always a sexy quality to have.

What does it take to be a good flirt?

You don’t need good looks or lots of money to be a good flirt. All you need is the desire to be a flirt and a carefree attitude about it because flirting is supposed to be fun, not scary or nerve-wracking. Being a good flirt lies in your ability to convey interest both verbal and nonverbal cues, which can include a combination of smiling, lingering eye contact, lip licking, hair stroking, body language, physical contact, and tone of voice.

Male escort and professional flirt Vin Armani says that flirting is the human equivalent to the mating dance that many other species have. “A great flirt, like a great dancer, knows how to engage his partner, read her movements, and compliment her particular style and flavor,” says the star of “Gigolos” on Showtime. “A great flirt doesn’t have just one style, but instead quickly zeroes in on his partner’s comfort zone, establishes rapport through mirroring, and then slowly and confidently escalates the interaction by leading her where she wants to go.”

What's your flirting style?

Speaking of styles, It’s Just Lunch dating expert Jennifer Donnelly believes there are way too many factors to consider (environment, mood, setting) making it difficult for someone to associate themselves with one flirting style over another. According to Donnelly, the two most common styles of flirting are spirited and reserved. “The spirited flirter has aggressive flirting habits that may flatter some and offend others. Their method includes physical touch and plenty of compliments,” says Donnelly. “The reserved flirter is very strategic when it comes to flirting. They do not flirt with everyone, only people that really interest them, and they flirt in a very selective manner,” says the expert.

Jeffrey Hall, author of “The Five Flirting Styles,” on the other hand, identifies five styles of flirting as indicated in the title of his book - physical flirts, polite flirts, playful flirts, sincere flirts and traditional flirts. Depending on your relationship goals, some flirting styles may work better than others. For example, if you are the passive type and like to take your relationships slow, then the traditional flirting style may be better suited for you. If sexual chemistry is high on your agenda, than perhaps the physical flirting style would work best for you. If you’re just having fun or want to boost your self-esteem without any strings attached, then the playful flirting style would be something worth trying out. The polite flirting style caters well to those wanting longer-lasting relationships while those with a sincere flirting style tend to focus on emotional connections first and sexual chemistry second.

Tips for flirting

The art of flirting is actually easier to master than most people realize and it all starts with the eyes.

"If you find someone attractive and you'd like their attention, give them a good long glance, that is, just until you've captured their attention, then give a hint of a smile with your eyes and your mouth while looking almost 'through' them.," suggests professional matchmaker Kailen Rosenberg. "Now, quickly look away and then back at them, moving only your eyes, not your head. Do this twice and you'll have their curiosity hooked."

If you're not good with the eye thing, a smile is all you really need is a warm, friendly smile at your disposal.

“Smiles are free, and it’s your invitation to let him or her know you’re interested,” says relationship expert April Masini. As for the compliments, “letting people know you like little things about them is a great way to flirt,” says the advice columnist.

When it comes to flirting, you also want to be mindful of your body language. When your body and face are angled away from the person you’re flirting with, it can often be perceived as a lack of interest. To avoid that, make sure you maintain a face-forward position so the person knows that you are indeed interested. "Treat your body like a compass and point your shoulders, hips in the direction of the one you are interested in. The energy pull alone will grab their attention," says Kailen.

Physical touch is another important flirting tool at your disposal. Dating expert Matthew Hussey, author of “Get the Guy,” frequently recommends sitting side-by-side on dates to create a more intimate vibe. Plus, it’s easier to casually rub shoulders or brush up against each others hands when you’re seated closer together than if you were seated across from each other which can sometimes be kind of awkward, especially on first dates.

For couples looking to rekindle their romance, Masini recommends touching each other more often. In fact, researchers have discovered that showing affection for your partner through physical touch builds attraction.

“When you want to rekindle something, hold hands, put your arm around his or waist, touch his or her face, and kiss more often than you do, currently,” advises Masini. Don’t be afraid to say the L word either while you’re at it because if your relationship is in a rut, chances are that you haven’t been very expressive about how much you appreciate your partner.

At the end of the day, we all just want to be appreciated for who we are and what we bring to the table in a current or potential relationship. There’s no better way to appreciate the opposite sex than with a little playful flirting to brighten someone’s day.

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