The most important thing to know if you're wondering “am I good at flirting?” is to understand that flirting is mostly about expressing interest. Subtly flirting can be a natural state of being if you are generally interested and happy to get to know someone. The best, most subtle ways to flirt aren't facades. A skillful flirter is actually just fully existing as themselves, investing the same amount of interest and love into each encounter. Flirting is not so much about the outcome of your efforts as much as it is about connecting with and building an understanding and rapport with the person you're speaking to. In that way, it's not too dissimilar from the way you connect with your friends. You are not putting the pressure on anyone to reciprocate the attention or making them feel obligated to do anything with it.
When you can be super subtle in your flirting, without coming on too strong, it allows you to silently communicate your feelings and your intentions, while also leaving something for the person to guess. Being subtle with your flirtation can also protect you against the sting of rejection. If you are simply expressing and owning your interest in someone and how much you genuinely enjoy being around them, then there's nothing to be embarrassed about. A crush is flattering, and when you can figure out how to express this to them with flirtation, you can basically allow your love interest to come the rest of the way to you.
Here are some subtle ways to flirt when you don't want to come on too strong.
1. Remembering Hyper-Specific Things They Tell You
When you're flirting with someone, you are being extra attentive to everything they say. As a result, you naturally absorb really specific information that they are telling you. You'll remember the name of their cat and the details of the project they were working on; you'll latch onto this specific story they told you about their childhood, and you'll be able to allude back to it in a conversation later. When you're deeply interested in someone, deliberately bringing up the tiniest details of things they have mentioned to you in the past lets them know you are listening to them and soaking up every word they say like a sponge.
More than a one-liner or a blatant come-on, remembering the small facts that a person tells you shows that you are genuinely interested in their life. It's meaningful because it shows you are demonstrating the same attentiveness to them as you would to a friend. If you think that you have a bad memory, just practice with the people you encounter in your daily routine: Your bodega guy, your yoga teacher, and your roommates are probably always telling you things that you can bring up with them in later conversations. Memory is a skill, and one of the most subtle ways to flirt involves keeping yours attuned to the person you want.
2. Smiling A Lot
Being flirtatious means allowing your emotions to play freely across your face. People connect with you because they see you so strongly connecting with them. When you're happy in your crush's company, you ought to give yourself full permission to smile broadly and often. You don't feel like you need to hide your emotions or play it cool to get their attention. You know it's way more fun to just be.
I think the biggest misconception about flirting is that it involves playing a game. There's nothing wrong with teasing or toying with someone, but your behavior ought to be genuine. The most subtle ways to flirt are embedded in the signals and gestures you aren't even trying to throw off. When you're trying to flirt with someone, radiate your crush on them in your body language, and they'll pick up on your vibes.
3. Initiating Light Physical Contact
When you're flirting with someone, initiate a light, no-pressure contact that can convey your interest subtly. Touch is important for conveying emotion, and if you feel connected with them, then it's totally appropriate to casually touch them on the shoulder or upper arm. The touch should not be overtly sexual, as you want to establish boundaries and consent. Putting your hand on someone's leg can be too strong of a come-on and runs a high risk of making your crush uncomfortable.
Light physical contact can communicate the energy behind your intentions, too. It provides that extra boost to the interest you've already been signaling with your smiling and your attentiveness to your crush's words. It also allows you to figure out whether there is a spark of physical connection between you, or if you think you have more of a platonic crush than a romantic one. Don't forget that friendship is a totally amazing and beautiful relationship, too. Some of my oldest friends first entered my life as flirtatious crushes.
4. Liking A 42-Week-Old Selfie On Their Instagram
When you have laid all of the groundwork for your flirtation, the most overt, yet still subtle, gesture of all is to like a cute selfie your crush posted on Instagram a few weeks back. The longer you scroll through their Instagram feed probably indicates how much of a crush you have developed on them. Definitely make sure that you are following one another first and have been for a bit of time. Otherwise, you have a 99.9 percent chance of going all the way from subtle flirt to internet stalker at record speed.
When you like a really old Instagram picture, it basically communicates, “I think you're really cute,” without having to totally put yourself out there. In the very worst case scenario, they won't be interested in you, and you will never have to mention that wayward like again. What's way more likely to happen, though, is that your subtle like catches their eye and lets them know that your flirting was a little more than casual.
Being a subtle flirt is an art. You have to toe the line between making your flirtations too overt and making them too vague and concealed to even be noticed in the first place. Demonstrating consistent attention over time and a genuine spirit of appreciation and care is bound to pay off in the long run. Even if your subtle flirtation is a fail, it will help you get better at honing your craft. When you find your subtle ways to flirt, the world opens up to you. It just takes a little practice to get there.
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