I guess semaphore is out of the question
June 30, 2019 12:51 PM   Subscribe

You're a person with self-confidence who finds other people compelling and attractive and has a) no problem letting them know and b) no compunction in doing so. Please share your knowledge with one for whom these skills do not come easy.

I have spent nearly three decades of life convinced of the lowliness and sheer unloveliness of my personage, and that as a result of this hideousness of form and character it would be unsuitable if not outright immoral to bestow my attention on any given person who happens to catch my fancy.

Now I find that this belief about myself is a false one, and that I am in fact a perfectly normal, nice person with a perfectly normal, nice physical aspect, from whom it is not inconceivable that people would welcome attention. Going forward I would therefore like to be able to talk with people I fancy and indicate my attraction to them. In short, I would like to be able to flirt.

I have no idea how to do this. If you know, please, advise me.

If it's relevant, I am female and am primarily attracted to women. Please assume this would be done in appropriate circumstances and with appropriate people.
posted by Balthamos to Human Relations (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
There are many helpful kinda of advice for this, but a helpful one is to remember that no amount of confidence and swagger makes up for the need to handle rejection tactfully, gently, kindly, etc. Sometimes I think that the key to what you're looking for is a strong understanding that flirting is essentially a numbers game: someone expresses little interest or says, "no thanks"? Ok! Smile and let it go. THAT is a sign your flirt game is strong.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 1:15 PM on June 30 [10 favorites]

My flirting skills are fine, but the type of person I'm attracted to is traditionally blind to flirting, so I just go with being up-front regardless: "Hey I think you're really nice/interesting/funny, would you be into a date some time?" or "Hey I think you're really nice/interesting/funny, do you want to get a drink?" or "Hey I think you're really nice/interesting/funny, wanna fuck?"

The trick is to do it often and early. This does not work when you've been friends for a year, and you need to do it well before you've been crushing so hard for so long that rejection will devastate you. You need to be chill with "that's cool, have a great night!"
posted by DarlingBri at 2:02 PM on June 30 [12 favorites]

Most successful flirting, to me, comes down to “share your joy / fun” with someone, while also being comfortable with rising sexual or romantic tension — like don’t look away, fearfully.

You can totally learn to do these things! Starting with making a habit of finding your joy / fun in any given situation.

I want to clarify, though — are you also looking for advice on how to find more people/women attractive in the first place?
posted by schadenfrau at 4:40 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]

I have gone through this transition!!! Dont be afraid to be silly. If you feel nervous or intimidated remember most people also feel that way too. Extending yourself playfully gives an opportunity for interaction. I went from being a shy akward person with terrible self esteem to a bold flirt, but give yourself time to evolve and like stated above, never think of rejection as failure but as practice. You got this!!
posted by supermedusa at 5:02 PM on June 30

Not sure if "under appropriate circumstances with appropriate people" is meant to cover this, but it may help to specify how unambiguous you can safely be.
posted by meaty shoe puppet at 10:27 PM on June 30

Thanks for the advice so far!

Schadenfrau- I wasn’t, but now that you mention it, that might be a good skill to learn! I guess it would help in general to not have to pin my hopes on one person every two years.

Meaty shoe puppet- Let’s say I’m interested in developing skills that allow me to range from ambiguity to out-and-out propositions depending on the situation, and assume I already have the emotional skills to gauge what would be appropriate when.
posted by Balthamos at 11:23 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]

It is heartening to hear that your attitude toward yourself has changed so much for the better! Always remember that 1/2 of all people are introverted. You are certainly NOT alone!

I belong to the other half.
Here are some of the things that come so naturally to extroverts. They may sound obvious and simplistic, but they work.

!. Look people in the eye, smile. The more you do it, the easier it usually becomes.

2. Whenever you go out, make sure you look your best.

3. Be truly interested in others. Ask them (unobtrusive) questions. Conversation is like a tennis ball, batted back and forth, and questions propel it.

4. Especially at the beginning of getting to know someone, keep it light, laugh often.

5. My grandmother was a wonderful "green thumb" gardener. Her philosophy was to plant many seeds, so that you will be busy taking care of the ones that take root, and you will not notice that ones that don't. This applies to relationships, as well.

Good luck to you. Enjoy life!
posted by ragtimepiano at 12:13 AM on July 1 [4 favorites]

I think the best kind of flirting is absolute delight in the other person, which can take a lot of the "OMG, am I flirting right?" angst out of the equation. If you fancy someone, then being interested in what they have to say, remembering details about them, wanting to be available if they're around and ask you to join them...that works better (I've found) in situations than trying to be a good flirt.
posted by xingcat at 6:51 AM on July 1 [2 favorites]

Flirting is a high-level social skill. I admire it and can't do it. It is a kind of play, in which admiration is expressed and accepted, without any necessary intention of either party following up on it. I very occasionally fall into it accidentally, because I have a glass head and show admiration inadvertently, but can't sustain it. It is a dance. I clump about in heavy boots like someone who has come to see about the drains.

What works OK if you are kind of earnest, plonking, and graceless, is showing interest. What you try to convey is "My god, you are beautiful; can you possibly be as interesting as you are beautiful? What sort of person are you?" This is dicey, because if they really are as interesting as they are beautiful, you will likely fall in love with them, marry them, and be happy for the rest of your life, which will likely interfere with becoming intimate with other women, but what can one do?
posted by ckridge at 9:18 AM on July 1 [1 favorite]

are you also looking for advice on how to find more people/women attractive in the first place?

Schadenfrau- I wasn’t, but now that you mention it, that might be a good skill to learn! I guess it would help in general to not have to pin my hopes on one person every two years.

Right there with you, maybe someone will come along with advice on that part ;)

I want to second the advice on taking delight in the other person. I suspect that getting into that habit, of looking for that, might also be the key to the finding-more-people-attractive thing, but now I'm just wondering aloud.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:58 PM on July 1

I feel like you would find this Captain Awkward post helpful.
posted by foxjacket at 4:45 PM on July 1

You might like this lovely, short, graphically delightful vid on the topic of flirting from the School of Life.
I loved this question!
*waves flag*
posted by OlivesAndTurkishCoffee at 8:04 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]

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