The Smart Girl’s Guide to Flirting

It’s not about playing the ditz – it’s about showing interest.

The art of flirting is very simple, yet misunderstood. It’s one of the top three questions I get as a dating coach: “How do I flirt?” When you have the formula, you’ll master it in no time.

Have you ever noticed how in beer commercials the bombshell woman is always the same prototype: an hourglass figure, large luminous eyes, long luscious locks, full wet lips and long legs? She then strides gracefully but confidently through the room, with a little hint of va-va-voom but not too much, slightly smirking and oblivious to her jaw-dropping onlookers. And of course, she usually never says a word; if she does, it’s a witty one-liner delivered in a sultry voice.

The truth is, while she may the embodiment of the ideal physical type, she’s least likely to be approached by a man at a party or a bar. Why? She projects the perception that she’s unapproachable. Men, fearing rejection, will almost certainly pass her by for someone who seems more available (enter the smiling, girl-next-door type!). So, how do you look approachable and flirt?

A study done by Albert Mehrabian at UCLA proved something incredibly interesting: 93 percent of how people form a first impression is through non-verbal communication like body language, facial expression, tone of voice, posture and appearance. A great way to ‘show interest’ and make a great ‘interested’ first impression is to soften up your body language. An easy mnemonic device, ‘SOFTEN UP,’ helps us remember how to do that:

S = Smile
O = Open Body Language
F = Forward Lean
T = Touch Appropriately
E = Eye Contact
N = Nodding
U = Undivided Attention
P = Positive

Smile If you can remember one tip in your interactions with men, it should be “Smile!” You’re probably thinking, Yeah, yeah – I’ve heard that a million times. We’ve all heard it, but the women who do for real are the ones who often attract men. Smiling is a universal sign of friendliness/happiness – even babies stare longer at photos of smiling people!

Open Body Language is really important. Don’t cross your arms over your chest or sit with your arms folded on the table. It subliminally tells our male friends that we might be guarded, bored or disinterested (even if we’re just feeling chilly – be mindful of this one)!

Forward Leaning is especially important if you’re sitting down. It indicates interest! Leaning back in your chair will likely tell the person that you may be bored/not so interested in them.

Eye Contact Eyes are the windows to our souls! Look at him and often. A good rule of thumb is to try to look at the person’s face/into their eyes for about 60 percent of the time. You don’t have to stare or feel unnatural – creepy stares are no good!

Touching Appropriately is key. MRI studies show how people’s brains ‘light up’ when touched (appropriately, on the elbow, arm, shoulder or back). Think about it: when someone touches you appropriately, it usually feels pretty nice, because it feels like they like you!

Nodding is really important. Not nodding like an eager toddler – but just subtly. It tells the man that you agree with him, are listening and like him.

Undivided Attention Put your cell phone away, on silent. Don’t check it when he’s around! And, don’t stare at other cute guys that walk into the bar or restaurant. Guys, like us, have a really sensitive radar for this.

Stay Positive! Leave your emotional and conversational baggage at home. Now is not the time to talk about how much you dislike your job, siblings, ex, anything. You don’t need to be a ‘Pollyanna,’ but just talk about things that you like or are passionate about. People want to be around fun, positive people.

Flirting is connecting with someone and showing him that you’re interested. It’s not about flipping your hair and looking ditzy. Look approachable, available, happy and interested – and you’ll be well on your way to meeting lots more men than before!


About Bela Gandhi

Bela Gandhi is the founder of Smart Dating Academy, a full dating coaching service that provides busy, successful professionals with one-on-one coaching, image consulting, personal shopping, professional photography and online dating consulting. She has been featured as a dating and relationship expert for the Chicago Tribune, WGN-TV, Tribune University, CL-TV, WGN Radio, RedEye and The Mash, and has been called "The Fairy Godmother of Dating" by the Huffington Post. Ms. Gandhi also has extensive personal career coaching experience through her affiliation and board membership with The Cara Program.