If you're currently wondering how you ever used to feel comfortable flirting — or even knew how to flirt at all — you aren't the only one. After a year of lockdowns, people all over the internet have been talking about their lack of flirting skills.
Whether a year of homeschooling beside your partner meant that the romantic side of your relationship dropped off, or if you're back on the dating scene and looking to regain some confidence, relearning how to flirt is at the top of our love-life to do lists right now.
And for good reason. Flirting can make all parties involved in feel confident and sexy, can help bolster romantic feeling and intimacy and enhance connection.
So, we've enlisted the help of life and relationship coach Carole-Ann Rice to help us learn how to flirt again by sharing her top tips.
How to flirt: Compliment someone
Everyone likes a compliment, and particularly when it's a unique, thoughtful one that shows you've been paying attention.
'Acknowledge something very positive about the other person, it's going to help them relax and also endear them toward you,' says Carol.
How to flirt: Show interest in their life
If there is one thing most of us like to do, it's talk about ourselves. So giving someone else that opportunity to do just that helps to build a positive rapport between you.
'Ask genuinely interested questions — this will help the other person feel safe to open up to you,' Carol advises.
'Most people are very grateful to talk to someone who is genuinely interested in them and their lives, and it's very flattering to have someone take that kind interest in you.'
How to flirt: Let them catch you looking at them
'Let them see that you have met their eye for a second, then look away and then do it again to assure them that it wasn't a mistake,' Carol says.
It's important to make sure they notice you looking at them, and that second glance is pivotal as it shows them that it wasn't a mistake and gives them a visual cue that you want to engage.
How to flirt: Smile
It's simple but it's true, smiling at someone helps them to feel relaxed and brightens the mood. 'Be the first to smile,' Carol says. 'It will help relax them.'
She adds: 'Make sure you bring the smile to your eyes — bring warmth to your eyes, it's an indication that you like what you are looking at and also shows the other person you are being authentic.'
How to flirt: Leave it on a light-hearted note
If you're flirting with someone at work, at an event or with your own partner at home, a brilliant flirting trick is to make a funny or suggestive comment and then leave them.
'It gives off an air of being carefree and leaves them wondering about you,' Carol says. 'Plus, leaving it on a lighthearted, positive note leaves them in no doubt of the hopeful nature of the interaction.'
How to flirt: Make a physical connection
Though you don't want to be groping someone or making anyone feel uncomfortable, fleeting moments of physical touch are important during flirting.
'You can put you hand gently on their arm or hand as part of your speaking — keep your touches gentle, light and short,' says Carole. 'And, if you can, touch bare skin like their hand or wrist.'
It's important to keep things authentic though, she warns, so perhaps a stroke on the shoulder as you approach, or a skimming of their hand when they give you a compliment or tell a joke.
How to flirt: Eye-mouth contact
Looking at someone's mouth is a subtle (or not so subtle) sign that you are interested in them romantically.
'When they are talking, look from their eyes to mouth,' says Carole. It's suggestive and the sub-conscious suggestion is that you want to kiss them.'
Don't over-do it, you want to make sure they know you're interested in what they are saying, but doing this every so often at appropriate moments can really help ramp up the flirtatious undercurrent.
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