Make Your Move

Flirting is like a subtle dance. One person takes the lead and, if the moves are well-timed, the advances are well-received. A quick wink could inspire a subtle smirk, a lingering touch might lead to a sensual kiss. The trick is knowing when to advance and how to make that first move. Need a little help? Follow these tips from Dr. Monica Whitty and Dr. Monica Moore.

Tips for men and women

  • Go with the flow. You may be making all the right moves and saying all the right things, but sometimes things just don’t work out. Be prepared for both positive and negative outcomes. Learning to let things happen and going with the flow is the best way to keep flirting fun.
  • Carry rejection-protection. Unfortunately, not every flirting scenario is filled with champagne and roses. You will inevitably be shot down by someone you admire. When rejection rears its ugly head, think positively – at least you got away before you invested time and money into a miserable relationship.
  • Remember, context is crucial. You see your crush smooth her skirt. Is she doing it while she shyly chats with you or before she enters the boss’ office? Make sure you pick up on the right signs to avoid embarrassment.
  • If at first you don’t succeed... Get involved in social situations where you have to interact with potential romantic interests. Experience is the best way to reduce anxiety and improve skills.
  • Find a flirting mentor. Unhappy with your unsuccessful flirting attempts? The best thing you can do is watch, listen and learn from someone successful. Pay attention to their behaviors and the social cues involved. Then you can fine-tune their ideas and try them yourself.
  • Cyberflirting is a form of play for adults – but be careful. The way in which you flirt online will affect what kind of offline relationship you develop, if the opportunity arises. Think about the consequences of stretching the truth or presenting a more sexualized persona online than you are comfortable with living out.

Tips for women only

  • Attitude, not beauty, is the driving force. Studies show that average-looking women who artfully indicate openness and interest achieve more success in attracting male attention than beautiful women who maintain an aloof and disengaged attitude.
  • You might have to say it more than once. Don’t be afraid to flirt with a man in many ways over the space of an evening if he doesn’t respond to your first signal. Men sometimes look for verification when trying to determine whether or not a woman is interested in being approached.

Tips for men only

  • Wait for it, w-a-i-t…f-o-r…i-t! Let her make the first move when it comes to even the slightest physical contact. This gives women the control they need to feel secure. You have a better chance of avoiding a rebuff if you refrain from touching her until after she touches you first – even a slight brush on the arm makes all the difference.
  • WARNING! Flirting Conditions Hazardous. Approach Slowly. It’s important to recognize a signal when you see one. She might be interested, but if you are moving too fast she’ll give you negative feedback to create a safe distance, followed by a flirtatious move. These mixed messages mean you still have a chance, but only if you slow your advances.
  • Translation required! Research shows men and women interpret flirting moves in different ways, with men tending to read more attraction and less rejection into her behaviors than she intends. Here are a few translations:
  • Thumbs-up from a woman : Smiling, laughing, giggling, tossing the head while running fingers through the hair, primping (adjusting clothing, even though it is not mussed), leaning forward, whispering in the man's ear, palming (gesturing with an open hand), presenting the neck, short darting glances toward the man, holding the man's gaze, the coy glance (a combination of lowered eyes and a half-smile also seen in many other cultures).
  • Thumbs-down from a woman: Turning the body away, pulling away, sneering, frowning, glaring, yawning, crossing the arms over the chest, picking at the nails.

What’s your style?

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