Flirting is an activity that ripples with powerful emotional electricity.
It usually starts with a visual - we see someone who looks attractive and piques our interest. Then hopefully, we are inspired to approach that person and ask or share unusual things about ourselves with them. It can feel intimidating, that first conversation, but nothing helps this process better than giving into two of humanity’s most enduring and endearing features: our natural curiosity and desire to talk about ourselves. Curiosity did not really kill the cat, and it certainly won’t hurt when you are flirting either.
In fact, most people are dying to talk about themselves and what they like or think about. If you are nervous about engaging in conversation, whether it’s an initial introduction or a first date, here are the first, most basic, and simple, steps to take:
• Before you approach, assume they already want to talk with you and are interested. This is what’s called “assuming rapport” and actually puts the other person at ease. If the person feels at ease, it’s very likely they’ll be interested in engaging in conversation with you.
• Remember to be present and grounded. Take a deep breath, feel your feet on the ground, smile and approach the object of your desire with “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met before, I’m _________.”
Then, engage your curiosity. Make it easy on your conversation partner and be curious about them - ask a bunch of open-ended questions (not ones of the yes/no variety) that allow them to consider their answers and express themselves. Keep the conversation going by using these phrases:
• Tell me about…..
• How did you…..?
• What did you like best about….?
• How come?
Then most importantly, listen without judgment. This isn’t as easy as it sounds and most people struggle with this side of the conversation.
Can you listen to someone’s response without wanting to tell your story right away? Not argue with their reasoning? Refrain from agreeing with them by adding what happened to you? Can you, instead, just listen and be present for what they have to say? Deeply listening gives people a reason to share. Feeling truly heard is a gift you can give someone easily. And, it gives the object of your desire another reason to stick around.
And active listening is good for you as well - if you like their stories, and the way they express themselves, you are one step closer to spending time with someone interesting. If not, well, you’ve just confirmed your lack of interest in someone with just a handful of fairly easy and painless questions.