What would we do without texting? It’s a legitimate question, fam. Not only does this form of digital communication provide a super convenient way to make dinner plans while you’re at the office, or quickly spill the tea about your recent date to your besties, but it also offers up an easy avenue for flirting. Texting the object of your affection feels a little less risky than making advances IRL, and on top of that, it’s a tad subtler, too. So, wondering how to flirt over text? It’s a slightly different endeavor than flirting face-to-face, but experts agree that it’s totally possible to win over your crush with the right tactics.
There are certainly both pros and cons to flirting over text.
“Texting allows you to craft your best flirt without distractions and without the anticipation of seeing an instantaneous reaction,” says Fran Greene, licensed clinical social worker and author of The Secret Rules of Flirting, “You can add, delete, and even get a friend’s opinion if you need another set of eyes- all before you hit send.”
On the other hand, it can be a tad more challenging to strike a flirtatious note in the absence of facial expressions.
“Having a warm body smack in front of you gives you lots of nonverbal cues that are nonexistent when you’re flirting via texting,” Greene adds.
Since you can’t rely on some good old fashioned lingering eye contact or breaking the touch barrier to help you give off flirty vibes, Susan Trombetti, matchmaker and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking, notes that it also takes work to get the tone just right. Of course, you want to make sure the object of your affection is aware that you’re being flirty, but you also likely want to avoid hitting them over the head with it.
That’s why crafting the perfect flirty text demands some special considerations — and fortunately, there are certain expert-approved strategies that are just subtle enough to keep your cool yet just strong enough to make your intentions known.
First off, Greene recommends having a reason for texting. Don’t just text them to say “hey,” “‘sup,” or any variation of the two.
“It comes across as lazy and indifferent, and your crush will not feel valued or special,” says Greene.
Not only that, but you aren’t giving your crush a lot to work with — and as a result, you may end up with a one-word response (which can be a total conversation killer).
Instead, reach out with a specific observation (for example, to let them know that their favorite band is coming to town) or a thoughtful question (like asking them whether they’ve been to that new speakeasy downtown). These are the kinds of conversation starters that allow you to get to know each other better. And as an added bonus, they also offer up a super easy transition into making plans to scope out that concert or trendy new bar.
Experts agree that it’s best to keep it light when you’re trying to flirt. More specifically, Trombetti advises going for an upbeat and positive attitude in order to capture your crush's interest.
“It's like flashing a smile IRL, which is always great,” she explains.
Greene adds that having a sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously is sexy AF, so feel free to be playful or even a little sarcastic in your messages. That said, she cautions against ending every single text with “haha” or “LOL,” as overkill can be a turnoff and ultimately detract from your intention.
Although texting may feel very different from flirting IRL, experts suggest treating it much like a face-to-face conversation. You wouldn’t walk up to your crush and give them a 10-minute monologue about your day, right? More likely, you would open with a quick comment or question and then wait for a response. As such, Trombetti recommends keeping your texts short and sweet.
“Limit your text to a few sentences at most, then await your crush’s response,” adds Greene. “It’s a lot like a great tennis match, a lot of back and forth.”
And while we’re on the subject, Greene advises against sending a string of three or four texts before you hear back from your crush. While it can certainly be a struggle and a half to remain patient after texting your crush, it’s well worth the wait for their response to maintain a natural flow of back-and-forth conversation.
According to Greene, one thing that can help you to amp up the flirty vibes is to pay your crush a compliment. Saying something as simple as, “you crushed that presentation today — think you could give me some pointers outside of class?” or “I couldn’t help but notice your moves on the dance floor, since when did you become JT?” can easily show your interest.
Despite the fact that flirting is a casual social exchange, Greene still recommends giving your texts an extra scan before hitting “send,” as spelling and grammar can matter a bit more to some people — and it’s better to be safe than sorry, right? Both Trombetti and Greene also suggest adding an emoji here and there to give your texts a bit more flair.
“Well-placed emojis and GIFs add excitement,” says Greene. “They’re intended to express your feelings without using words and can turn a dull text into a fabulous one. That perfect emoji will melt the heart of your crush.”
However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing — so Greene cautions against loading on the emojis, GIFs, memes, and punctuation, as they can ruin the mood if you overuse them.
Once you’ve finally engaged in some flirty texting (congrats!), experts concur that the next step — after patting yourself on the back, of course — is to get a date in the books. After all, that’s the only way to see if your texting chemistry translates IRL.
“Take it to the next level of flirting as soon as possible which means meeting in person,” Trombetti tells Elite Daily. “Go on a date and flirt over some margaritas or martinis. Get up close in personal in a way that you can’t via text.”
Greene notes that you can even ask your crush out via text, as it can feel a bit less vulnerable than asking them out in person.
However you choose to ask out your crush, and however they respond, you can hold your head high. Because guess what? You managed to successfully flirt over text — which sure isn’t easy. The more you use these expert-approved strategies in your texting convos, the more comfortable it will become. Before long, flirty texting will become second nature. (Where’s the hair flip emoji when you need it?)