For some, flirting doesn’t come naturally. Whether you clam up, are naturally shy, or just manage to make every attempt painfully awkward, the anticipation of attempting to flirt can derail you entirely. But flirting doesn’t have to be all about giggles and hair flips. There are some super subtle, super casual moves that are easy to execute, and still convey your interest in someone.
Here are some subtle flirting tips that will help you express your interest in someone without going over the top:
1. Making eye contact
Eye contact is underrated, especially in the age where everyone’s always looking at their phones. But locking eyes with someone when they’re talking, when you’re talking, or just in random instances establishes a non-verbal connection. It’s an easy way to hold someone’s attention without having to worry about being cute or clever.
Okay, so this one probably sounds like a no-brainer, but paying attention to the positivity you convey is actually a really easy way to appear more attractive. If you’re someone who looks mad when you’re not smiling, this is especially effective. Psychologists at Swansea University found that a smile was more effective in conveying health and positivity than make up, or even actual age. When you’re feeling flirty, practice a light smile. Just don’t go around baring all your teeth Miss America-Style. You’ll look crazy.
3. Saying their name
A subtle way to catch someone’s attention is to say their name more often. Researchers have found that different parts of the brain light up when you hear your own name versus hearing the names of other people. Hearing your name makes you laser-focus on the person that’s speaking, so starting a conversation with your crush’s name causes them to focus on you more attentively than if you were to start your sentence with, “Hey, so…” Pair that with a small smile and direct eye contact, and you’re well on your way to the flirt factory.
4. Remembering small facts
Look, let’s be real. If you’re interested in someone there’s a good chance you’ve stalked their Instagram, their Facebook account, and their Twitter feed. You probably know more about them than they realize. So remembering bits of info they share with you (knowingly) should be no problem. If they tell you peanut butter cups are their favorite candy, or that they can’t wake up to their alarm unless it’s set to Fog Horn, casually bring those facts up in later conversation. It will subtly let them know you’re a) paying attention b) thinking about them outside of the conversation and c)find your moments of interaction with them important. Just don’t congratulate them on finishing the half marathon they ran back in 2014… That you learned about in a deep scroll through their Facebook page the other night when you couldn’t sleep.
Okay this basic rule harkens back to the lessons in friendship we learned in kindergarten, but it’s valuable nonetheless. If you’re snacking on fries, offer them some. If you’re hanging at a crowded bar, scooch over and offer them some of your booth. It’s a casual way of indicating that you care for their wellbeing. Plus it encourages camaraderie. Sharing is caring.
6. Asking their opinion
Letting someone know you value their opinion is flattering and makes them feel important. It also gives you fodder for light conversation. Just keep it casual. Ask which flavor they like best at the local ice cream stand down the street. Don’t ask the best financial path to take re: a 401K versus a Roth IRA. (Because nobody flirts over Roth IRAs.)
This list is a good way to baby-step into flirting. The more comfortable you get, the easier it will come. Being subtle can sometimes send a stronger message than more overt forms for flirting. So have fun and go for it.