Man and woman eating cotton candy together and laughing as example how to flirt

How to flirt: 10 tips to help you snag that special someone

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by eharmony Editorial Team - April 26, 2024

Been wondering how to flirt? While there are some people who might try and tell you otherwise, flirting isn’t about specific moves or phrases – there’s no buttons to push or dials to turn that automatically get you the result you want. Done right, flirting is simply being yourself, with a little something extra to show the other person why they’d like to spend time with you. In fact, being yourself is probably the most important part of flirting – after all, even if you did succeed with a mask on, at some point it will have to come off. It’s better to start as you mean to go on.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for flirting via text as well as in person.

How to flirt according to a relationship expert

We asked one of eharmony’s relationship experts Dr Lalitaa Suglani about what makes good flirting in general. She answered: “‘Good’ flirting is characterised by authenticity, playfulness, and genuine interest. It involves light-hearted conversation, meaningful glances, and conveying interest through body language such as leaning in or mirroring gestures. Effective flirting also requires active listening and responding thoughtfully to the other person’s cues, showing that you value their input and enjoy their company. It’s important to recognise that everyone will have different love needs, so flirting may manifest differently for different people. When we think of good flirting it can create an enjoyable and mutually satisfying interaction that leaves both parties feeling uplifted and intrigued. At heart, it stems from making someone feel seen, special and important.”

How to flirt via text

Flirting via text messages (either the phone kind or the online kind) has its advantages – you can take the time to plan your response, and the back button lets you rephrase things to your heart’s content. Here are five tips when it comes to how to flirt online:

Use the medium

It’s true that you lose tone of voice when you communicate via text, but don’t forget what you gain – the ability to use emojis and gifs! It doesn’t all have to be all eggplant emojis all the time, either – you can use emojis and gifs to lighten the tone of a conversation, or to react when plain words just aren’t enough.

Ask interesting questions

Psst… here’s a secret for how to be flirty: be curious. Ask fun, open-ended questions that offer you the chance to get to know each other better. You could also take advantage of the relative privacy offered by text messaging to ask questions you might not be brave enough to ask in person.

Keep the sexual content to a minimum unless asked

We’re assuming that by now nobody reading this needs to be told not to send explicit pictures of certain parts of their anatomy unless requested to do so, but here’s a reminder just in case. More broadly, though, it’s better to err on the side of caution when it comes to sexual innuendo via text – without body language to give you cues, it can be hard to tell when it’s appropriate to turn up the heat. If you’re feeling bold, you can always ask if it’s okay to take the conversation there.

Be chill

You may not get a response to your text immediately, and that’s okay. The other person might be at work, need more time to compose a response, or even – a shocker in a world as connected as ours – not have their phone to hand. It’s important not to freak out and give people a chance to respond in their own time… and let the relationship go if they don’t.  

How to flirt in person

So, you’ve progressed from flirting via text to flirting in person… congratulations! While some of the principles remain the same no matter what (asking questions, listening to what the other person has to say…) there are a few other things to keep in mind, too.

Make eye contact

Just about every flirting instruction links eye contact and attraction, and for good reason. Not only does eye contact help you deepen your connection with the other person, but in Western culture, looking people in the eye is a sign you can be trusted – important when you’re trying to flirt with someone!

Mirror their body language

Matching your body language to your date’s – leaning in when they lean in, touching them as much as they touch you – is a well-known flirtation technique, called mirroring. It’s a great way to make your interest known without being too obvious about it.

Keep it positive

Regardless of what certain so-called dating gurus on the internet may tell you, negging doesn’t actually work – at least, not better than a sincere compliment. You want your date to feel good – the best way to do that is to keep the vibe positive with genuine questions and real compliments.

Go with the flow

Unlike texting online, real life doesn’t come with a backspace button. You might say the wrong thing, spill sauce on your shirt, accidentally mispronounce the name of the dish you’re ordering… whatever it is, it’s not the end of the world, or at least, it doesn’t have to be if you don’t let it. As a bonus, the ability to laugh at yourself probably makes you look even better to your date.

Ramp up slowly

Just like with an online flirtation, you don’t want to jump from zero to sixty with no warning. Pay attention to your date’s body language as well as what they’re saying – they’ll let you know if they’d like to take things further, or if you should back off – and do so if that’s what they want.

Flirting with men vs flirting with women

People often ask, ‘how to flirt with a guy?’ or ‘how to flirt with a woman?’ While as a general rule, we don’t believe in generalizations, men and women are socialized differently enough that it’s useful look at the differences in the way they flirt.

Men tend to show interest by moving closer to you – scooching their chairs nearer, for instance, or sitting next to you rather than taking the seat across at a diner. He might even shift so he’s at more of an angle to you just for that little bit of extra closeness. Men also typically touch more – a tap of the shoulder, a light brush of the arm, a hand on your back to guide you. And if his tales become more impressive as the evening goes on, even to the point of absurdity? That’s definitely a sign he’s interested. Additionally, men are more inclined to exaggerate their stories in the presence of someone they’re interested in. Dr Lalitaa Suglani also adds: “When flirting with a man, directness and confidence are often appreciated, as men tend to respond positively to clear signals of interest. Compliments on physical appearance or accomplishments are commonly well-received.”

Women, on the other hand, tend to show their interest by using their body language. They’ll also lean in to try and make it clear they’re listening to their dates. Another way to tell if a woman is interested? If she teases you. This might be a way of testing the waters for red flags – no woman wants to date someone who’ll react angrily to gentle teasing – but it’s also a way for her to indicate her interest in you. It’s important to remember, though, that women will often indicate their lack of interest subtly, with body language rather than verbally turning you down. So, pay attention to what she’s telling you, with her words and gestures. Dr Lalitaa Suglani also says: “Flirting with a woman may involve more subtlety and emotional connection. Women often appreciate attentive listening, genuine compliments, and displays of empathy. Building rapport through shared interests and engaging in meaningful conversation can be key components of successful flirting with a woman.”

However, the relationship expert emphasizes: “It’s important to note that these are general trends, and individuals may have unique preferences and responses. We must be mindful of gender trends and shifts and avoid pigeonholing people into rigid categories, as everyone’s needs and preferences are influenced by their past experiences and individual personalities.”

Flirting can be easy with the right mindset and a few of our tips

Regardless of where the flirting happens, it’s important to keep in mind a few things when it comes to how to flirt – be respectful, listen, and most important of all, be yourself. After all, the point of flirting with someone is to get to know each other better, and you can’t do that if you’re pretending to be someone else. Plus, done right flirtation can be fun in and of itself rather than just a means to an end. At eharmony, our users have plenty of opportunity to flirt with each other, both via text and via by meeting in person. So, sign up with eharmony and get started flirting today!

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