As more and more people get vaccinated against COVID, we’re all starting to step back into the world again. Just as importantly, people are ready to try to jumpstart their love lives again after a long, frustrating and lonely year of enforced solitude. And while there’s going to be an adjustment period as we all try to come back from having gone fully feral, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for social skills. And while “hey, Pfizer, Moderna or J&J” may work for an opening line, a lot of people fumble at what comes next.
We may all be desperate for human contact, but understanding how to connect with people is still vital. And if you’re looking to break out of a pandemic-induced dry spell, then you need to understand how to flirt.
Flirting is one of the most important — and paradoxically, one of the most misunderstood — skills when it comes to dating. A lot of men assume that flirting is an incredibly specific process; you have to act and speak a certain way, demonstrate your value or worth and show that you’re the best possible choice out of everyone else at the bar. By doing so, you generate powerful attraction — even in the most obstinate of women — and get her number or a shared Uber back to your place.
Except… that’s not how flirting works. That’s not how flirting works at all.
Flirting isn’t about generating attraction and interest where there isn’t any; in fact, if someone isn’t interested in you, trying to flirt is likely going to make them roll their eyes so hard that they can see their own brain. Flirting, at its most basic, is about signaling your interest, gauging potential attraction and — most importantly — engaging someone on an emotional level.
In fact, the emotional engagement is the most important part of flirting. It’s what captures somebody’s attention, what draws them to you and what encourages them to want to spend more time with you. Flirting is about having fun, not trying to get laid. You are showing your interest in someone in a fun and engaging way, while inviting them to join you in that fun. In a very real way, flirting is the art of giving people permission to do something that they already want to do: enjoy themselves with someone who’s warm and charming. People often enjoy flirting for its own sake — not because they want to hook up but because they enjoy how it feels. Flirting can be a game. Done properly, flirting is about the fun you have together, not what the end results may or may not be.
Once you understand this fundamental aspect of flirting, the rest comes much more easily.
So let’s clear up some misunderstandings and talk about how to get better at flirting.