If you are single or in a relationship, it is paramount that you know how to flirt. It not only improves your relationships with others, it also improves your physical and emotional health. A prerequisite to the following lessons is having an understanding of what flirting is not before elaborating on what it is. It is not a game you need to master. Your intent should never be to manipulate others. Please note it does not have to be conducted in a way as to attract sexual attention. The truth of the matter is that a majority of the time it’s quite platonic.
Flirting is about finding your authentic self and being fully present when you interact with others—intent on making a positive impact.
In our society flirting often gets a bad rap. The simple fact is flirting is all about you inviting more fun into your life. I ask my clients to become overachievers in the joy department. You should too. Your goal when flirting is primarily to delight yourself, which naturally lightens the atmosphere for all. Everyone benefits from a good flirt and the gift of conscious flirting leaves the giver refreshed and the receiver fluffed. It gives you an opportunity to fully step into your aliveness and positively affect those around you.
As human beings, we are biologically designed to be positive social creatures.
Flirting starts when we are born. In fact, as a survival mechanism babies are master flirts. Through social contagion and the processes of mirror neurons, spindle cells and the chemical flow of neurotransmitters, our bodies are built to connect with others and gravitate towards pleasure and happy faces. Something as simple as a flirtatious smile has an incredible ripple effect. It can positively influence those you encounter and continue to be passed on throughout the day to each individual they encounter raising each person’s internal body chemistry.
Flirting Lesson: Cultivate a positive state of mind. Take time to mentally prepare yourself before going into an environment where you might have the opportunity to flirt. FYI: this is essentially anywhere you might be connecting with other people. Step out of your fears and into a happy mindset. What gets you in a good mood is an individual choice. Listening to a certain song, dancing around the house, completing a non-stop workout, wearing your favorite cologne or perfume, and choosing the right outfit can all add to how you feel internally.
When consciously flirting, stop the internal chatter of your mind so that you can fully see, hear, and respond to the other person. The ability to achieve this presence with others is the essence of the word namaste, an Indian greeting that translates to “I bow to you.” The deeper meaning of the word implies that the highest part of my soul sees the highest part of your soul and reflects it back to you. In this state, your presence then becomes a present to those you engage with.
Being able to make a positive connection with others starts with you.
The research behind the happy face phenomena proves we gravitate to those who look happy. When you are at a party or in a bar, you will find that more men approach a woman who is smiling rather than a drop-dead gorgeous woman who has a bitchy look about her. The same goes for individuals who are married and interacting in the same house together.
You will have more positive interactions with others when you’re smiling and your mind is filled with gratitude and appreciation. You exude energy from the thoughts that are dancing through your mind and that internal dialogue greatly affects your body language and facial gestures. These physical cues are what those watching and interacting with you pick up on and in turn what can make them feel either uplifted or depleted. You can’t flirt if you have negative, self-deprecating, or judgmental thoughts running through your head. Thus, it benefits everyone if you kick your fear-based thoughts to the curb.
There are some things in life you can control and others you can’t. So let’s start on those you can influence. One of those things is taking care of your body. Most of my matchmaking clients are looking for a partner who is physically fit. However, many of them are also happy if their potential match is simply starting to make their physical fitness a priority; the desire to improve oneself is what matters most. So work on your appearance from the inside and outside.
If you are already in a relationship, as the saying goes, what you did to get your partner, you will need to continue doing, if not four times more, to keep them happily in your life. It’s always funny to me the amount of people I encounter who invested a lot of time taking care of themselves by working out and maintaining their appearance before they got into a relationship but once in a committed relationship toss those good habits out the window. Once in a partnership by no means are you off the hook, in fact it is more important than ever for you to continue working on yourself for your self-esteem, your health, and to continue triggering the dopamine receptors of your partner when they look at you. This is a key ingredient in passionate and thriving relationships.
As you can tell, much of flirting starts way before the physical act of connecting with others occurs. If you have taken time to get into a positive state of mind, dismissed all negative thoughts, are beaming with an authentic smile, and are well put together physically you are ready to start.
Flirting Lesson: The best way to get someone’s attention is via their eyes. Significant eye play is essential in the art of flirting. In particular, it is the left eye that makes the best impression.
Why the left eye you ask? When you engage in a gaze with someone utilizing your left eye you are tapping into the right side of your brain allowing you to access your full emotive self. With a left eye to left eye gaze, your mind will concentrate on where there is synergy and how you can work together. By gradually turning your face to the right, even by 5-10 percent, your left eye becomes more dominant. When you gaze at someone with your left eye, the corners of your mouth and the wrinkles around your eyes soften making the person you are looking at feel more at ease.
Success in flirting resides in your ability to put the recipient of your flirt at ease. If you gaze from right eye to right eye, it activates the left side of the brain, the side that analyzes, picks things apart, and looks for ways to get something out of the person or situation. Your facial expressions harden and become more intense. I call this the used car salesman gaze. Subconsciously, it makes the other person uncomfortable. This may be good as a tactic for hardcore negotiation but not for the art of flirting.
Health Benefits: Within the first two seconds of seeing someone, a good or bad emotional and neurological snap judgment is formed that physically affects you. When a positive initial impression is made an inter-brain circuit has been created making you biological allies. By looping together in an upbeat register, your spindle cells create an instant empathy through their receptors for pleasure—releasing dopamine and norepinephrine—thus giving you a boost in your internal chemistry.
Mirror neurons are at play when you connect with others. Your positive emotions are contagious helping those around you not just emotionally, but at a biological level. Your anger bumps up my blood pressure; your loving action lowers it. Flirting whether with someone you just met or with someone you’ve familiar with can help turn you and the recipient of your flirting into biological allies. Simply put the way we engage with others can make a significant impact on our health.
When we see a genuine smile of spontaneous pleasure or amusement our face automatically starts to mirror it as our spindle cells and mirror neurons connect. As we smile we release a rush of positive chemicals into our system making us feel better. For men, if they receive the direct gaze and smile of a woman they find attractive their brain activates a dopamine circuit delivering a dollop of good feelings throughout their bodies. All around smiling is beneficial so as the Deee-lite song goes “Smile on, pass it on.”
Just as Olympians put hundreds of hours into the mental review of their moves so too should you strengthen the neural connections you have to effectively connect with others on a deeper level. That means when you are walking down the street, standing in line, or on the bus it will do you a world of good to put down your smart phone or turn off your iPod. Instead be mindful to make contact with those around you. Start smiling, look people in the left eye, if only for a few seconds, to acknowledge their presence—with these simple acts you have the ability to make a positive difference in their life. Although some of us might need a tune up, we as human beings are hard-wired for empathy and gravitate toward wanting to make a positive impact on those around us.6