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How to Flirt in a Subtle Way

Updated on December 2, 2012

The right amount of subtlety in a bout of flirting can be a potent catalyst for interest and attraction, as well as making sure everyone involved is having fun. Admittedly, however, there is a thin line to cross between subtlety, and saying nothing at all, or worse, saying the exact opposite of what you intended. So, how do we get our message across without firing our emotions into an oubliette?

In this article I will do my utmost to share what I consider to be the often neglected tenants of successful and powerful flirting.


Don't Drown Yourself In Words!

Words can be a cerebral drain in social scenarios, and given the highly -- if pleasantly -- distracting object of our attention clouding the majority of our senses, they can threaten the fluidity and honesty of our communication.

Whether we like it or not, the vast majority of flirting occurs non-verbally. The first step therefore is to let go of attempting to draw a contour around the meaning of what we are saying, and to stress the way we are communicating instead. Becoming conscious of our body language can be an enlightening experience for those who have never really taken the time to understand what you are actually saying to the world (non-verbally). Most people are surprised that objective self-assessment can reveal that often what we are saying is conflicting with how we are saying it -- leading to the person we are flirting with to have a subconscious negative gut feeling about us (due to this discrepancy).

Flirtatious Body Language

Flirting is at it's most powerful when we learn to consciously open our posture. Some people are innately successful at flirting because at a sub conscious level they have connected these body language dots. Chances are, if we think of someone we know that is quintessentially successful at flirting, we will notice that their posture is almost always open.

Opening Our Posture

An open posture indicates ease, honesty, openness and attraction before we even begin to convey meaning. While discussing open body language should ideally warrant a novel sized tapestry, I will instead attempt to draw a concise list of simple, yet effective, habits to get into while flirting.

  • Avoid slouching (indicates defensiveness and boredom).
  • Avoid folding arms and legs (indicates defensiveness).
  • Seek direct eye contact (indicates interest and honesty).
  • Smile if you're feeling it, but avoid smiling a fake plastic smile at all costs.
  • Face the object of your interest (facing away indicates that you wish to escape).
  • Avoid talking in monotone (connotes boredom).
  • Avoid trouble talking, good use of cynicism, irony and sarcasm can be constructive however!

Despite the irony of now claiming that being yourself is key (given the aforementioned list), you should not box yourself, your opinions or your character in. Be positive and active in the conversation.


Make It Spicy

Nobody likes the "job interview" date or flirting session. Insecurity and passiveness can lead to both parties involved seeking the sanctuary of a comfort zone while talking, never quite raising the pulse and thus holding attraction's head under the water.

Break the mold by gently steering the conversation to something a little more piquant and passionate. This does not mean involving sex, sexuality can be great -- but it's generally best to avoid the topic unless it crops up naturally in conversation.

Seek subjects and topics that they and you are passionate about, tease them, make fun of yourself and others thereby subtly constructing a personal history between you. It also gives you ammo then next time you meet, because you will be able to bring up something humorous from your previous teasing session.

Not everybody responds well to teasing, if they don't, and you are interested -- you either drop the subtlety or dodge the bullet and move on.

Make Them Laugh

Humor is the key to attraction, in almost every sense of the word. The ability to make someone laugh and feel good, will mean that you will continue to stir up a positive association every time they are with you or simply think of you. I'm sure we can all think back to our previous romantic or platonic conquests and realize that even if we weren't ever close to being genuinely funny, we certainly felt like it at the time. If your bouts of flirting make you feel like you are a stand-up comedian, you're well on your way to winning them over.

Coming to terms with someone's humor can be a roller-coaster, but again, it is never really about the structure and the words being uttered, it is about how you feel. Provoking any kind of response will involve leaving the comfort of your safe-zone.

Pay attention to how you feel during a conversation, and do what it takes -- on your terms -- to improve your well being. Most people are so self-conscious in social gathers that the fact that you are relaxed and having fun independently of any other variable will mean they are able to relax too.

Open that bottle of wine, turn on that music or make fun of them without fear or favor, and others will generally do likewise!


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    • AmandaJon profile image

      Amanda Jones 4 years ago

      It is a great hub and very useful tips for singles!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      In my opinion, making them laugh is the most important tip! Everyone loves to smile and it's relaxing too. Fun hub! I'm married 12 years now, but when I dated one thing that really bugged me was someone who flirted by touching. Drove me crazy in a bad way, especially when I first met someone.