Everyone knows someone who is an incredible flirt, whose social diary always seems to need extra fold-out sections and who seems to be adored by all men, from infants to grandfathers.
Rather than make a voodoo doll of her, watch and learn: the good and the bad.
But she’s so obvious!
Most women with these skills often seem transparent to other women; they seem to turn on the charm unashamedly and suck up to a man’s ego without a second thought. Well: newsflash – men don’t care. And more often than not, they usually don’t even notice that she does it to every other guy in the office unless she is known as the ‘praying mantis’ and eats her partners after sex. This is because most people could do with a little extra attention in their lives. Face it, even if you know the guy in accounts flirts with every woman he meets on the stairs, it still makes your day less dreary – and that’s because flirting makes life more fun.
Flirting also doesn’t have to be about sex. It can just be about remembering to look up, crack a smile and not take everything so seriously. You may not have just made a connection with the love of your life but it’s good to remember to keep things light; it’s a great way to stop every date you do have from seeming like a full-scale interview.
Most good flirts have a few skills in common. Firstly, they smile a lot. That is not to say that they could be extras in The Stepford Wives. They just keep things upbeat, a quality that draws people whether they are friends or colleagues. Secondly, they ask questions and remember details; any good networker will tell you that this is an essential tool in making good contacts. It makes people feel appreciated, understood and special, so try and make a mental rule to ask more questions than you answer. Again, this will not turn you into some 50s housewife; it’s as useful a skill in big business as it is in personal relationships. And thirdly, they often use physical contact, sometimes with themselves, and sometimes with others. Touching your hair or face gives the other person a clear signal that you are interested in them. Touching their arm or hand as you chat, taking their elbow as you go through a door – these are all ways of making people know that you are comfortable with the idea of being in their body space: or of having them in yours.
Getting flirting right for you
That isn’t to say these are all right for you. If every time you see the arch-flirt you want to lock her in the stationary cupboard for pretending she can’t work the photocopier when she used to work for Xerox, then you know you need to modify her tactics when you use them yourself. Maybe you can emulate the way she remembers everyone’s name or gets involved with after-work activities (you might not fancy Bob in IT, but his brother could be pretty hot). It’s about knowing that you might need to sharpen up your skills consciously without coming into work the next day with a completely different personality. You can use what she does wrong to help guide you: maybe her whole conversation is about the other person, which is a great way to get attention but isn’t going to help move things on to the next stage. Maybe the neckline of her blouse ends around her waistband; also not a winner with every guy in town. The wise girl looks for lessons everywhere.
What comes naturally
This is why you also need to think about how you already put yourself out there. Are you always coming up with wisecracks or reminding men you meet how smart you are? Do you find yourself joking about, like you did with your male friends at college or your ex-boyfriend? Whilst this might be a great place to get to with a partner, it’s not necessarily ideal when you first meet someone. Most people have a limit to how much they can take in during one sitting and definitely to how much they want to know. You may think chatting about your ex, your eating disorder and your PhD just shows your openness, but is it possible that you might be scaring people off by showing what a handful you are? Revealing yourself as you get to know one another is a much better way of allowing space for both of you to get comfortable.